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More Storms Are Coming. Here's How To Look After A Frightened Pet

Dogs are at higher risk of running away.

15/06/2016 12:30 PM AEST | Updated July 15, 2016 12:54
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Poor Rover doesn't like storms any more than you do.

Bad news. The Bureau of Meteorology is warning of more wild weather for Queensland and NSW from another east coast low this coming weekend. Besides the obvious precautions generally, pet owners should know that storms are a difficult time for pets, too.

The Australian Veterinary Association is urging pet owners to prepare and plan to protect their animals.

"Storm events getting more intense and are going to be exacerbated due to climate change, and it is critical pet owners are prepared," Dr Guy Weerasinghe, President of Public Health at the AVA said in a statement asking pet owners to be alert.

"Triggers for storm phobia may not just be the loud thunder clap but could be due to the flash of lightning or even a drop in the barometric pressure -- the triggers vary between animals. It is about identifying the phobia early in your pet's life as the behavioural impact gets worse each year."

Signs of storm phobia in dogs include:

  • Pacing
  • Licking lips
  • Dilated pupils
  • Panting
  • Hiding under a bed

What can owners do?

  • Planning is important -- talk with your veterinarian to come up with management plans for your pet
  • Monitor for upcoming storm activity
  • Prior to a storm bring your pet indoors
  • Set up a dark room where your pet can relax
  • Sit beside your pet, don't pat (it sends mixed signals), just be a calm presense
  • Sometimes animals may need medication if the phobia is quite intense

Vanessa Van Ryzin, Mindful Motion Photography
There are moves you can make to help your buddy feel less stressed.

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