It may be a regular pattern – a flash of lightning, a clap of thunder and suddenly that once quiet and calm dog is whining and barking.
After recent thunderstorms earlier this week, Stewart Street Veterinary Hospital saw an increase in strays.
While storms can occur year-round and at all hours, they are more likely to happen in spring and summer months meaning a chance of more upset pets in the coming months.
When it comes to thunderstorms, all animals may be affected but it’s dogs that react the most.
When thunderstorms are occurring, owners do their best to keep their dogs and themselves calm.
And while there may be no complete cure to dogs’ storm anxiety, there are some coping mechanisms.
Stewart Street Veterinary Hospital vet Ewald Jooste said pets owner need to understand their animals during storms.
“Most owners know their dogs and whether they are sensitive to storms or not,” he said.
“Our pets even know before the storm hits. It’s important to distract them and get them in an environment which will distract them.
“We can turn on the radio, TV and let them play with toys. Putting them in a darken room may not be helpful, as the flash is also a trigger.”
The way owners react to thunderstorms are just as important to calming pets down.
“It’s also important that owners don’t get worried or anxious,” Mr Jooste said.
“We have to stay calm because pets can pick up on our anxiety.”
He also said there are supplements pets can take to calm them down.
However, he said these will only work if they are taken before a storm.
Mr Jooste added if owners are going to bring their pets inside, he said to make sure they do not injure themselves on indoor property.
If the worst does happen during a thunderstorm and a pet flees the property, Mr Jooste said it’s crucial that pets are micro-chipped in order that the lost animal’s owners can be contacted.
Whether it’s because of a thunderstorm or not, lost pets are a daily occurrence at Stewart Street Veterinary Hospital.
Contact Stewart Street Veterinary Hospital at 6331 1222 for any further tips or advice regarding pets during thunderstorms.