Spring is upon us in New Orleans, and along with festivals and warmer weather, that often means rain.
Humans usually deal with this by grabbing an umbrella and pulling on some rubber boots, but for animals, rain often brings up a whole host of issues. Dogs and cats have ears far more sensitive than our own, so what sounds like the pleasant tapping of droplets on a windowsill to us can be more like someone dumping a garbage can full of metal pellets on the house to them.
Not all pets have an aversion to stormy weather, but for those who do, rainy days can be cause for fear, anxiety, and trauma. Pet owners will have no doubt if their furry friends fall into the latter category- animals will whine, cry, hide, and in extreme situations, paw at doors and furniture in an effort to escape the weather.
It’s terrible to watch our pets suffer from such fear of the unknown, so what can we do to help them? There are a number of options to try, some of which might work for your animals, and some that won’t. Fortunately, they’re all inexpensive and simple, so experiment until you find the right trick for your pet’s specific needs.
At the first threat of rain, try closing the blinds or curtains in your house. Your animals will only be able to see the familiar sight of their home, and not flashes of lightning or rain beading on the windows.
If your pet jumps at claps of thunder, try drowning out the noise with more familiar sounds. Leave on a television or radio tuned to whatever it is you listen to at home. Some Sarah’s Pet Care Revolution clients have had luck with everything from NPR to Animal Planet- whatever it is that will calm them down.
If your dog is reluctant to use the bathroom outside when it’s raining, you’ll probably need to stand outdoors with them. Try leashing the dog up and heading directly to their favorite bathroom spot. Stand close and let the dog know that you’re not going to leave them alone, then head back inside when the dog has taken care of its needs. After a number of events like this, the dog should start to realize that a trip outside in the rain isn’t going to last as long as a typical walk or play time.
Many people swear by the soothing power of ThunderShirts, an article of clothing for animals that fits snugly over their backs and chests, providing constant pressure that mimics a hug.
Though speaking of hugs, nothing beats the love and attention an owner can provide for frightened pets. If you’re home during a storm, let your animals come to you for comfort. They just want to know that everything is going to be okay, and the presence of a trusted human is the best way to show them that it will be.