Why are pets so stressed by bad weather?
ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - It's that time of year when terrible weather descends on the Gateway City, causing concern among our four-legged companions.
Dogs have better hearing than humans.
Changes in barometric pressure can be detected by them. That's why, according to Dr. Keri Morgan, a veterinarian at Stray Rescue, they may be particularly sensitive to thunderstorms.
An intriguing thing is that if your dog has separation anxiety, they're more likely to have thunderstorm anxiety, because you're gone and then you're gone, and they're already a little apprehensive, and then a thunderstorm hits.
If you have a dog or cat, Dr. Morgan has some advice on how to keep your pet safe.
Body language will be really important.
If you can see the whites of their eyes or if they are panting. Take a look at their faces, she said. People who are stressed become extremely tight, so if their face appears taut—their muscles are drawn back—they are tense. It's possible they're wagging their tails. Waggled tails may not always imply happiness. If they don't want to eat, they're probably too stressed, I say.
Thunder shirts, those form-fitting pieces of apparel for your dog or cat, might help reduce any anxiety your pet may be experiencing at this time of year.
Dr. Morgan recommends providing a safe haven for your pet, such as a quiet area to hide. Allow them no access to the outside during a storm. A food puzzle or favorite chew toy, supervised of course, can help divert your dog's attention away from the changing weather.
We'll definitely see an increase in the number of pets who have gotten out during a thunderstorm because they are terrified and don't know how to get home, Morgan predicted. So, if they're microchipped or have some form of identification on their collar, that's incredibly beneficial.
It might just save their life and spare you the pain of a missing family member.