In Australia, storms are common especially from October to March, which can lead to an increase in lost and distressed pets. Our fur babies are more perceptive to changes in their environment than we often realise. With their sharp hearing and sense of smell, they can detect storms coming long before we do. This makes pets very in tune with approaching thunder, lightning, and strong winds, which sometimes causes them to feel scared or anxious. 

How to recognise the signs of storm-related anxiety in your pet:

Pets are unpredictable and sometimes it can be hard to understand their different behaviours (5 Dog Myths Explained), so knowing the common signs of storm-related anxiety can help you take care of your four-legged friend: 

  • Hiding or trying to escape, which is especially common in cats. 
  • Shaking or trembling. 
  • Panting or salivating, when not associated with exercise or eating. 
  • Wide eyes, flattened ears, tense body, along with a curled tail between the legs or tucked tightly to the body. 
  • Inappropriate soiling, even in fully toilet-trained cats and dogs
  • Vocalising, destructive behaviors, or repetitive actions, such as pacing or over-grooming. 

Preparing your pet before the storm

Taking proactive steps can significantly reduce stress for both you and your pet during a storm: 

  • Stay informed: Keep an eye on the weather forecast, especially during stormy seasons, to prepare adequately. 
  • Ensure identification is up to date: Microchip and register your pets with up-to-date contact details. 
  • Secure your home: Check fences, gates, and windows are secured to prevent any potential dangers or escapes. 
  • Provide comfort: Create a safe space for your pet, such as a crate, and consider anti-anxiety aids like compression vests or pheromone calming replicators. 
  • Consult your vet: Seek professional advice if you suspect your pet is experiencing storm anxiety. 

Supporting your pet during a storm

While there’s little you can do once the storm begins, you can still provide comfort

  • Play soothing music: Help drown out external sounds and create a calming atmosphere. 
  • Respect their space: Allow your pet to retreat to a safe spot if they prefer solitude. 
  • Dim the lights: Limiting visual stimulation can help reduce stress. 
  • Stay calm: Your pet can sense your emotions, so try to remain composed to help them feel more secure. 

Caring for your pet after the storm

After the storm passes, focus on helping your pet recover: 

  • Limit activity: Avoid vigorous exercise and opt for gentle activities like scent-based games. 
  • Maintain a calm environment: Keep the house quiet to prevent further stress. 
  • Monitor your pet: If your pet displays severe reactions, consult your veterinarian for further guidance. 

Remember, each pet’s recovery time is unique, so be patient and attentive to their needs. By understanding and supporting your pet through a storm, you can ensure your pet’s overall well-being and happiness. 


Veterinarian Specialists of the Rockies – 

Northwest Animal Hospital – 

National Geographic – 

Long-term stress levels are synchronized in dogs and their owners – 

PetMD – 

Veterinary Centers of America (VCA) – 

Forever Hounds Trust – 

Beyond the Walk –—may-be-more-to-it-than-you-think 

Animal Welfare League NSW (n.d.). Storm Safe. [online] Animal Welfare League NSW. Available at: [Accessed 24 Feb. 2024].