IT’S that time of year again. We’re heading into the thunderstorm, fi reworks and party season, all of which can unsettle animals whose hearing is more acute than ours.
Many a rambunctious canine turns into a trembling mess at the fi rst hint of thunder or fi reworks.
Dogs are especially prone to panicking and, in their terror, will try
Mission: Impossible- style escapes which turn out to be possible.
During storm and fi reworks events, the number of traumatised dogs picked up by council offi cers or members of the public rises dramatically.
They are the lucky ones, safely taken to a pound or animal shelter. Others roam lost, in danger of being injured.
With reliable weather forecasting at our disposal, animal owners usually have the opportunity to ensure pets are safely contained during storm events.
Ideally, dogs and cats would be kept indoors in a safe and familiar room.
Windows, doors, dog doors or cat fl aps would be closed and curtains drawn to reduce the noise.
If you cannot bring your pets inside, contain them in a garage or an enclosed area.
Help your pet to cope by acting normally no extra patting or fussing.
If you just can’t get to your pets, the basics apply secure fencing and animal ID.
The storm season reinforces the importance of having high fences and pets who are registered and microchipped, in case they do pull off the great escape.
Tethering is a no- no. To escape noise, dogs have been known to try jumping fences while tethered.
Animals need a little extra protection at party time, too.
Party poppers and balloons shouldn’t be used around pets – one bang could develop a long- term noise phobia in sensitive animals.
If your pet has a noise- related anxiety, talk to your vet or veterinary behaviourist for specifi c advice.
There are medications and counterconditioning techniques that can help by introducing positive associations with thunder and other loud noises.