East Coast Low Mark II Wild weather to return - vets urge pet owners to prepare

With forecasters at the Burea of Meteorology (BOM) warning of more wild weather this weekend, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is urging pet owners to prepare and plan to protect their animals.

Another widespread rainfall event developing over southern and eastern Queensland and inland northern New South Wales has prompted Dr Guy Weerasinghe, President of Public Health at the AVA, to issue guidance for pet owners on identifying and managing storm phobia.

“Storm events getting more intense and are going to be exacerbated due to climate change, and it is critical pet owners are prepared.

“Triggers for storm phobia may not just be the loud thunder clap but could be due to the flash of lightning or even a drop in the barometric pressure - the triggers vary between animals. It is about identifying the phobia early in your pet's life as the behavioural impact gets worse each year.”

 Signs of storm phobia in dogs include:

1. Pacing

2. Licking lips

3. Dilated pupils

4. Panting

5. Hiding under a bed

What can owners do?

1. Planning is important - talk with your veterinarian to come up with management plans for your pet

2. Monitor for upcoming storm activity

3. Prior to a storm event bring your pet indoors

4. Set up a dark room where your pet can relax

5. Sit beside your pet, don't pat (sends mixed signals), just be a calm presence

6. Sometimes animals may need medication if the phobia is quite intense


The AVA has resources for the public available online at http://www.ava.com.au/.

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