SURVIVE THE STORM: How to keep your pets calm during severe weather season

Published: Mar. 21, 2019 at 4:52 PM CDT
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Scared pets will do all kinds of weird things when storms start howling. Some bark, pace and whine, while others will hide in bathtubs or under beds.

Dog trainer Val Hewett tackles those and other behavioral problems in her weekly classes at Petsmart. She says you should start desensitizing your pet's storm stress before the season really gets going.

"the first thing I would advise is to go ahead and desensitize them as much as you can. A good way to do that is getting storms playing on your phone. Start with a lower volume and increase it over time. Get to the point where they can walk by the phone noise and still give out natural body language as they're hearing these noises."

Val says some pet owners go ahead and book time at the store's daycare when they know there is going to be bad weather since it's sound protected and workers are always there to play with and distract scared pups.

But you don't need to come to the store to do the same thing.

"I suggest to people to crate train their dogs, that during a storm, utilize a crate at that time, maybe even put a blanket on top of it. The crate is really intended to simulate a den.

There are also all kinds of products you can find in any pet store designed to keep your pet calm. One of main things people try, is the Thundershirt.

Val says, "it's a very tight fitting shirt that fits around the pressure points on the dog's body that actually physically calm the dog. So it really helps take the edge off."

Other products are meant to do the same thing with ingredients like chamomile and lavender. Everything from sprays and chews, to special collars and treats.

But if you try all that and the fear still persists, Val says it's time to see your vet for something stronger.

They'll have suggestions that you can get off the shelf. Or they'll have prescriptions you can get. I've had several people tell me they had to go that route and it really helped. "