ST. LOUIS – It’s the time of year when bad weather moves into the Gateway City and fills our four-legged friends with anxiety.

“Dogs have superior hearing. “They can sense changes in barometric pressures. So, that’s why they might be more sensitive to thunderstorms,” said Dr. Keri Morgan, a veterinarian at Stray Rescue.

“An interesting fact is if your dog is prone to separation anxiety, they’re more likely to have thunderstorm anxiety, because what happens is you’re gone and then you’re gone and they’re already a little anxious, and then a thunderstorm happens.”

if you have a dog or cat, Dr. Morgan has a few tips to keep your furry friend safe and sound.

“Body language is going to be the big key. “If they are panting or you can see the whites of their eyes. Look at their face,” she said. “When people carry stress, they get really tense, so if their face looks really taut—their muscles are pulled back—they’re tense. They might be wagging their tail. Wagging their tail doesn’t always equal happy. My rule of thumb – if they don’t want to eat, they’re probably too stressed.”

Thunder shirts, those tight-fitting articles of clothing for your dog or cat, can help alleviate that anxious feeling your pet might get around this time of year.

Dr. Morgan advises providing a safe space for your pet, giving them someplace quiet to hide. Don’t let them outside during a storm. A food puzzle or favorite chew toy, supervised of course, can help take your dog’s mind off of the change in atmospheric conditions.

“We’ll definitely see an uptick of pets that have somehow got out during a thunderstorm because they are scared and don’t know how to get home,” Morgan said. “So, it’s really helpful if they’re microchipped or also some sort of identification on a collar.”

It might just help save their life and you the heartache of a missing member of your family.