Managing your Pet’s Thunderstorm and Noise Phobias

Managing your Pet’s Thunderstorm and Noise Phobias

Loud sounds can be distressing to our pets. Stormy weather such as thunderstorms, heavy rain and high winds, and noises coming from fireworks and construction equipment can be upsetting to our pets. At certain times of the year, during severe weather such as thunderstorms, or fireworks, anxious behavior can be a common occurrence. What used to be a single celebration for July fourth, has evolved into a week long display of parades and fireworks in various surrounding towns. While families and children may enjoy the festivities, our pets often do not.

Many dogs and cats are quite fearful of these loud noises. Some dogs are so nervous that they hide, shake, soil in the home and become destructive to themselves or their homes. Cats tend to hide and isolate themselves in fear. It is saddening to see our pets suffer this way.

Our pets sense our energy and emotions. So, our calm demeanor projects comfort to our pets. Reassure your pet, but not to the extent of coddling so as not to encourage fearful behavior. Be confident, relaxed and minimize the disturbances outside. Take the time before a holiday, like July fourth, to let your dog sniff and smell the outdoors. Walking dogs for exercise is, of course, always beneficial. But, sometimes letting them be still and sniff to their heart’s content is very calming and joyous for them. This can help to relax your dog.

Engage your cat in play time. Cats love to fetch, play with cat toys, chase a flashlight, and play find the treat.

Chewing can help your dog to expend energy. Get Kongs (made of hard rubber and designed for different chewing strengths) or bones, and stuff them with peanut butter, cream cheese, yogurt, raw food, or whatever your dog likes. Keep a number of stuffed Kongs or bones in the freezer, and give them to your dog during the fireworks to keep him or her busy.

Music is soothing to the savage beast. Canine music therapy can help provide balance. Classical music has been proven to calm dogs. I recommend “Through a Dogs Ear”, which has been created in what is called a passive hearing mode (rather than active listening). Passive hearing techniques facilitate relaxation. Honestly, it’s not only calming for the dogs (and cats, in many cases) but equally relaxing and enjoyable for people. Sound is a potent energy that is not to be taken for granted. It has profound effects on all species.

Essential oils can be soothing to both your pets and you. I suggest applying and diffusing essential oils hours prior to the onset of a storm or a few days prior to fireworks.

For mildly anxious dogs and cats, apply and diffuse Restful Blend or Lavender and Grounding blend. Moderately nervous pets may benefit from the addition of Frankincense and Copaiba or Vetiver. Some other suggestions include Reassuring Blend and Comforting Blend. Those dogs who are severely afflicted may benefit from oral preparations of Copaiba and Restful blend. In the most extreme cases, a prescription medication may be needed as well, although Dr. Frezzo tries to avoid medication if possible. Be prepared for the upcoming firework and thunderstorm season.

To learn more about holistic pet care, essential oils or to join Dr. Frezzo’s team, please contact her at or call 201-288-7800.

Dr. Frezzo is a member of the doTERRA International Veterinary Advisory Board and the co-author of SpOil Your Pet: A Practical Guide to Using Essential Oils in Dogs and Cats.

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