Pete the Vet: How to keep your pets calm as Storm Barra approaches

The TV wondervet offers advice on helping keep pets' (and owners'!) nerves in check during winter storms
Pete the Vet: How to keep your pets calm as Storm Barra approaches

Picture: iStock

Winter storms are becoming more common in the Irish seasonal weather pattern, and they can cause serious problems for pets. Here are my five top tips for minding your pets during stormy weather.

Bring all pets indoors and create a cosy pet den: Choose a small room (preferably without windows) for your pet to use as their base during the storm. Soundproof this as best you can, and leave classical music playing to drown out frightening storm noises. Place some of your worn clothing in your pet’s bed for them to snuggle into: it will carry your reassuringly familiar smell.

Set up a pheromone diffuser (e.g. the Adaptil Calm Home beside your pet’s bed: this will create an odourless invisible cloud of pheromones that will comfort your pet, making them feel calmer.

Many pets go missing in storms because they panic, run off, then get lost: Don’t let them out unattended, and in case they make an unexpected getaway, double check that they are carrying effective identification: an ID tag on their collar, plus a microchip implanted under the skin. Ask your vet to confirm for you that the microchip database has your up to date contact details.

Look after your pets’ toiletting needs: Keep cats indoors, with litter trays, and accompany your dog outside during lulls in the storm, at least twice daily.

Stay calm and relaxed, behaving normally around your pets: Dogs, especially, look to humans for cues about what to do in uncertain times, so if you show anxiety or agitation, this will make them feel nervous and edgy. Ask your vet about anti-anxiety medication if your pet does become upset. Signs include vocalising (barking, howling, yowling), pacing, trembling, chewing walls or furniture, or simply looking very distressed.

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