PET owners are being urged to create a ‘sanctuary’ for their animals as the country braces itself for stormy weather this weekend.

With the Met Office issuing a yellow warning for strong winds and heavy rain on Sunday, vet and founder of pet retailer, Iain Booth, has given advice on how to calm dogs during inclement weather to help ease anxiety.

Iain says dog owners should create a safe indoor space for their pet using a crate which can be covered with a sheet to create the feeling of a safe haven but should leave the door open so your dog doesn’t feel trapped.

He said: “If your dog hasn't been in a crate, give them a small comfortable space, in a bedroom or bathroom for example. Fill the area with familiar objects like blankets, toys and your dog's bed. Turn the heating on and you could even use a pheromone diffuser that dishes-out calming vapours. "Don't forget to include a water bowl with fresh water too."

At the height of the storm, people are advised to ditch the walk and let their dogs out for a quick toilet break instead.

Iain said: “That way you also minimise the risk of being hit by other objects being blown by the wind. Make sure you lock cat flaps and don’t let any animals escape, either.”

“It’s also a good time of year to make sure your pet's ID tags or microchip details are up to date."

As dogs have ultra-sensitive hearing and are prone to being fearful during loud storms, Iain recommends owners distract their pets with music and encourage them to play.

Giving dogs extra food can also help as it makes them feel more relaxed. Anxiety chews, which contain mood enhancing hormones like serotonin, could also be beneficial.

To help prepare dogs for storms, Iain suggests quietly playing thunder and wind noises.

Iain said: “Give them treat as you do this so they will associate these sounds with happy times. Over time increase the volume and stop treats and play when the sounds are turned off.”

Tight jackets such as a ThunderShirt can also help to ease anxiety by applying a gentle and constant pressure, similar to swaddling a child. People can also make their own versions by using a small T-shirt and putting their dog’s front legs through the armholes of the shirt.

If your dog does start to misbehave, it could be a sign of anxiety. Iain says people shouldn’t punish or shout at them as it will only make them more fearful.

He added: “Remember your dog isn't being bad, they are displaying high levels of fear.”

After the storm has passed, he said dog owners should beware of debris and fallen wires while walking their pet on their usual path.

“Another thing to bear in mind is that heavy rain and wind can alter scent and landmarks, so it's important never to let your dog roam without a leash," Iain added.