Does your pet hide in the bathroom when summertime thunderstorms hit? Or, do they try to get under the bed when the 4th of July fireworks start in your neighborhood? As many of us know, sometimes our pets suffer from fears and anxiety. In the summer, we have a few situations that we know are going to trigger these fearful behaviors.
Below, we tackle what possible situations could cause summer pet anxiety, what precautions to take, and if there are any steps to help alleviate anxiety for our pets.
As we mentioned above, the loud booming thunder that we sometimes get with summertime storms can be genuinely frightening for our pets. Here are some tips to help pets during storms.
Run the dishwasher – The familiar noise may mask the thunder and calm your pet.
Monitor bathroom breaks – Keep your pet indoors during storms, and take them out on a leash to go to the bathroom. The storm noise may cause them to try and run away.
Have your pet’s toys near – Keep familiar things nearby to help calm your pet. Their bed, favorite toy, or blanket may help.
Photograph them – Maintain current pictures of your pet with other important documents, in case they do run away and you need to identify them.
Microchip – Microchipping gives your pet the best chance of being reunited with you if lost. Make sure your pets are all microchipped before summer pet anxiety hits.
Never scold – Never scare or scold your pet for being fearful. This will confuse them and reinforce fearful behaviors.
Similar to summer storms, pets can be significantly frightened by the loud noises and bright flashes of fireworks. Some of the same tips can be used to alleviate this common summer pet anxiety. Here are a few others:
Resist the urge – Don’t take your pet to July 4th festivities. Instead, keep them safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered, and escape-proof area at home. For cats and small dogs, many people choose a bathroom equipped with their food and water, litter box, bed, and toys.
Play music – Calming, classical music may mask the sounds or fireworks.
Try a shirt – Consider trying a pet anxiety vest, such as a Thundershirt, to reduce anxiety.
We can help – Talk to us about a sedative, called Sileo, if your pet is so scared that they become a danger to themselves.
Summer Parties and BBQs
Unless your pet is extremely social, having a party at your house (or attending one elsewhere) might be stressful for them. The increased activity, strange people, and change in routine can all trigger anxious behavior and fears. Here are some tips for keeping pets happy when it’s time for backyard grilling season.
Give them an escape – Some pets may want to be a part of the festivities. That’s ok, but always give them a place to escape the activity if they want to.
Keep them in – If parties are a cause of summer pet anxiety for your pets, keep them inside, in a safe and quiet room with access to their water, toys, and litter box.
Watch the weather – Being outdoors is nice for us all, but watch the heat. Pets need shade, access to fresh, cool water to drink, and a way to cool off.
Summer Pet Travel
Travel may be another cause of summer pet anxiety. Whether you’re taking a day trip by car to the beach, or a longer trip in your RV, it’s good to be aware of some tips to alleviate pet travel anxiety.
Board them – It may be best to leave your pet in a safe, comfortable place instead of taking them along. Our boarding facilities give your pets a home away from home, and we’ll take excellent care of them if it’s too stressful to bring them along.
Work slowly – When it comes to travel, getting your pet used to it ahead of time is beneficial to reducing anxiety. Start well in advance of travel plans to get your pet acclimated to their travel crate. Take them for frequent, short rides in the car to build positive association. Medication for motion sickness is also available.
Treat them well – Treats can contribute to car sickness, which is never fun. Treat your pet to lots of praise and positive reinforcement to turn them into a seasoned traveler.
Change the environment – For some dogs, adding pressure from dog car harnesses or an anxiety vest can help. Booster seats and opening a window for fresh air (safely) can also be of benefit.
So, there you have them, some of our best tips for alleviating summer pet anxiety. Does your pet get anxious in these summer situations, or others? Give us a call to let us know. And, as always, Town and Country Animal Hospital is here for any questions or concerns.