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Pet Wellness

Noise Phobia (Thunderstorms and Fireworks)


Written by Dr. Samantha Gardner

How do I know if my pet has storm/noise phobia?

Loud noises such as thunderstorms and fireworks can cause anxiety for some of our pets and it is not uncommon to see. Signs of anxiety that you may notice in your pet during a thunderstorm are:

  • Hiding

  • Pacing

  • Vocalizing (barking, howling, whining)

  • Trembling

  • Panting

  • Drooling

  • Destructive behavior


What can I do to make my pet more comfortable?

  • Create a Safe Place: Creating a safe place for your pets during a storm can be a helpful approach to storm anxiety. A dark (without windows or cover the windows), quiet room can make the pet feel more comfortable. If you are able to be in the same room with your pet, that can be beneficial as well. Allow the pet to come and go as they please so they don’t feel trapped in that location. Stock this area with their favorite blankets and toys.

  • Distraction/Training: Redirecting your pet during the storm can allow them to focus on other things and decrease their anxiety. Teaching them tricks or commands to follow during these times and offering high reward treats may keep their attention on the distraction, rather than the storm.

  • Thundershirts or Storm Attire: There is evidence that certain attire can help with storm anxiety as it provides the comforting feeling of being swaddled. There are many products out there aimed at both providing the swaddling sensation as well as some to decrease static buildup.

    • Thundershirt: Used to create calming pressure. Can be purchased online or at most pet stores.

    • Storm Defender Cape: Used to reduce static buildup that may be causing anxiety in a pet. Some people believe the static buildup causes anxiety as well.

  • Calming Pheromones: Calming pheromones, such as Adaptil (DAP), can help calm our pets when they are stressed. Both collars and diffusers are available. The diffusers simply plug into the wall and last approximately 30 days. It is recommended to put these in rooms where your pet spends the majority of their time.

  • Medication: There are medications available that may help reduce anxiety as well. These medications can be used as needed or daily. For thunderstorm anxiety, we typically only need to use the medication as needed. These medications work best when given before the anxiety begins. If the forecast shows a storm coming, it is beneficial to give the medication 30-60 minutes prior. If you are interested in trying these medications, we can certainly discuss those available. We are required to have seen your pet recently and make sure they are healthy to be able to prescribe medications.


Image credit: WebSubstance / iStock

We are now offering ProHeart12, an injectable Heartworm Preventative.  Please call us for more information. 


Monthly Minutes

Beat the Heat - Summertime Pet Safety Tips


Never leave your pet alone in the car.  Even with the car running and the air conditioner on, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels.  On an 85°degree day, with the windows opened slightly, the temperature in the car can reach 102° in 10 minutes and 120° in 30 minutes. When in doubt, leave your pet at home.

Exercise during cooler hours. Pets may be eager to be outside during the summer, but its important to pay attention to temperature and humidity levels. Exercise your pet when temperatures are cooler, such as in the early morning or evening hours, especially if they are overweight or flat-faced.  Also remember, if the asphalt is too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot for their paws, so encourage them to walk on grass if possible.

Protect against external parasites. Fleas, ticks, and heartworms (transmitted by mosquitoes) are out in force during the summer months.  Protect your pet year-round with preventative medicine as prescribed by your veterinarian.


Gnat Bites


Many dog owners are noticing small (less than 1 inch diameter), bullseye patterned marks on the underside of their dog. These marks are often caused by a species of gnat that emerges from the grass and bites the dog. The bites cause a bullseye mark that many confuse with a bullseye rash caused by the Lyme disease bacteria. It is important to note that dogs do not develop a bullseye rash with Lyme disease exposure, only people do. 


The Realities of Heartworm Disease


Heartworm disease is found in many areas of the world, including the United States. It is a serious disease that can be fatal, even with treatment. It is caused by worms that can grow up to a foot long, and live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of affected animals.