With the holiday season upon us, many people feel the effects of nearby celebrations in a not-so-celebratory way. Also, it’s been a heavy rain and thunderstorm season, causing many uneasy homes in our region. Pets get anxiety just like humans, and it can cause many symptoms that are unpleasant for you and your furbaby. So, why does it happen and how can you support your pet when things go down?

Why are animals scared of things like Fireworks and Thunderstorms?

Similar to an emotion you might feel, pets can also get scared. Ever heard a clap of thunder so loud it shakes the house out of nowhere? Maybe you jumped a little. Maybe you even let out a little yelp. Well, the same thing can happen to your pets, and they don’t have the same understanding that you do about weather or celebratory fireworks.

What exactly causes the anxiety to loud noises? Well, there’s a few things we gather:

  1. They are unexpected. Just like if someone sneaks up on you and scares you, so too, can these noises come out of nowhere causing instant panic.
  2. They are erratic. If it just came once, your pet might be able to recover. However, with multiple, unpredictable loud noises, it’s hard for your pet to know when to be on guard.
  3. There’s nowhere to go. A loud, sudden noise may inflict the flight sensors in your pet’s brain. When they can’t run from the thing that scares them, it can definitely cause an anxiety attack.

How can I tell that my pet suffers from anxiety due to loud noises, and how can I help them through it?

Depending on the pet, there may be different symptoms. It could be something as little as rapid breathing, and could even get serious enough to cause a seizure. If during a storm or other loud event you notice any of these symptoms, it may be time to take action: panting, shaking, pacing, cowering, even shredding items and seizures. There are a few home remedies, and there are also options your vet can help you with.

  1. First, keep your pet inside – if what’s scaring them is outside, it’s probably best to keep them where they feel safe. Inside with you, and likely with cuddles. Sometimes it can help to turn on the radio or tv to help drown out the sound. 
  2. The Thundershirt – Many pet parents swear by this product. It can help your pet feel more secure and is ideal for any situation that may cause anxiety, including car rides or other events that cause fear.
  3. Prescription from your Vet – if your pet does not seem to benefit from any of the previous options, you can consult with your vet on a mild prescription that should help quell the anxiety. We offer some options and can help talk through each choice so that you can be the most informed pet parent.

So, it’s true. Pets can have anxiety, too. With the right knowledge and some help with treatment, you can make sure to get ahead of the problem. Remember, we’re always available, and you can make an appointment anytime to discuss anything on your mind that will help you and your pet live the happy, healthy lives that you deserve.