rspca

Storms and your Pets

Pet Care Dogs Pet Health Pets
During peak storm season find out how to prepare your pet during storm season.
Storm phobia is a researched and proven distressed state of an animal which can be caused by the noise of thunder and visual stimulus of lightning.  Some pets can sense coming storms long before humans can, which means they can go from placid and comfortable to agitated and timid very quickly.

During peak storm season, RSPCA Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Anne Chester advises, “Animals are more likely to cope with a storm if they are in an environment where they feel comfortable.”

Here are a few tips to prepare your pet during storm season:

  • Create a safe and secure space for all of your animals away from visual stimuli. For dogs a pet crate or quiet room which shields them from lightning is ideal.
  • Make sure outside food and water bowels are heavy or weighed down, allowing pets for continued access without them being tipped out.
  • Try Feliway (cats) or Adaptil (dogs) collars or diffusers which help calm and reassure your pet in stressful situations. They can be found at your local vet, pet stores or RSPCA World for Pets.
  • Keep cats indoors.
  • Don’t tether your pets if they are outside during a storm because this can lead to injury if they try and break free.
  • Don’t encourage fretting behaviour in your pet by patting or cuddling them or saying ‘its ok’ because this reinforces the behaviour. Instead, ignore the behaviour by providing distractions like their favourite toy and exhibiting calming responses.

It is important that your pet has appropriate identification such as an I.D tag or microchip. At least 30 percent of pets that enter the RSPCA have microchips but the chip is not registered.

“After every storm we receive a spike in the number of lost and found pet reports. Some animals are traumatised from the ordeal and some don’t have identification,” said RSPCA spokesperson Michael Beatty.

The best way to check whether your pet’s microchip is registered and up to date is by visiting www.petaddress.com.au and entering the microchip number.  If you lose or find a pet, contact our Lost and Found team for advice on 1300 363 736 or find more tips here on what to do if your pet goes missing.

Have you got an Emergency Action Plan for severe weather alerts? Find out what to do if there is a weather warning in your area.

Zoe Stace
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