Does your pet need TLC during storms? How do you know if he/she needs extra help coping with anxiety?
“Try to get them into a state where they can be calm, and then reinforce that positive behavior,” Dr. Jennifer McMeans of our Merriam Veterinary Care Center says.
McMeans says rewarding calm behavior with a treat during a thunderstorm or fireworks display can help teach them there’s nothing to fear.
Other non-medication options include:
ThunderShirt (pictured): The popular jacket wraps around your pet providing gentle pressure. “It just kind of wraps them up and makes them feel a little bit more comfortable,” Dr. McMeans says. ThunderShirts are available at our retail stores.
Adaptil Collar: This collar is a pheromone-appeasing collar. “It’s the pheromone the mother gives off when she’s lactating or nursing,” Dr. McMeans explains. “It reduces anxiety and helps calm them down.” However, it may be less effective in an abrupt storm, she warns.
When does your pet need medication?
“If the pet is causing harm to itself or its environment, that’s definitely when you need to think about medicating them,” Dr. McMeans says.
Benadryl: If your pet begins pacing, this over-the-counter drug can provide a safe amount of sedation. “It’s an antihistamine, so it’s not actually a sedative,” Dr. McMeans says. She recommends trying Benadryl before a sedative.
Zylkene: This is a natural product used to help manage stress in pets. “The milk proteins work on the serotonin receptors,” Dr. McMeans explains. Zylkene is recommended because it is fast-acting.
Acepromazine: This is one of the most common prescribed sedatives or tranquilizers given to pets. It is also used to reduce motion sickness and nausea in pets.