Pets, just like human beings, show signs of distress from time-to-time, and there are certain specific factors that trigger it.
If you are a pet parent, you must have noticed your pet getting afraid of lightning, for example, or the sound of crackers, or even watching fireworks. Some dogs are scared of being left alone at home and others are scared of thunder sounds.
According to Dr Dilip Sonune, veterinary officer at Wiggles, cyclones and storms can be pretty stressful for pets. “It is important to make sure your pets stay comfortable during such times, as their behavioral patterns can change,” he says.
The expert lists some signs that can help pet parents understand the fears of their four-legged babies, and work to overcome them; read on.
1. Flattened ears
Hearing thunderstorms can make your pet feel scared with their ears seeming flattened, says Dr Sonune. “It indicates that they are afraid or apprehensive of something, whereas their ears are usually perked up. It is important to make them feel safe by keeping them warm with blankets.”
2. Running for cover
During a storm or cyclone, your pet may hide somewhere as they can feel scared. “Pets are able to detect static electricity and barometric pressure drops that come with these storms. This can cause them to run and hide beneath your bed the moment they hear distant thunder. Calm them by providing a safe space under a bed or a chair. You could also give them clothes that smell like you if you are away,” the doctor explains.
Lightning, heavy winds and rains can startle your pet. Do not take them outside. It is best for them to stay indoors. But that can irritate them and lead to excessive barking. This is a sign of them feeling scared or helpless. Giving warm water and favourite treats can keep them calm.
According to the doctor, pets deal with anxiety during storms or cyclones. They may try to flee and end up hurting themselves in the form of scratches — a result of running around and bumping against doors or furniture in the house. “Comfort them in a room with windows shut in order to keep them calm. To prevent bleeding or wounds, give them medication, pet food, calming treats and a harness. Make sure you take precautionary measures,” he explains.
“Panting, yawning, lip-licking, howling, whining, restless pacing, trembling and shaking are a few signs of fear in pets. This can cause anxiety and illness. If you are a parent, watch out for these signs,” the doctor concludes.