Noise trauma during storms may be stressful for both owners and dogs. Download this e-book to get the explanations behind some of the strangest canine behaviors. Many dogs have a general noise phobia. This may be due to pet guardians not being aware that there is help for this condition and/or lack of access to professionals. Medication can make him  more comfortable.Thunderstorm anxiety tips for dogs. You may wish to consult with your local veterinarian and see if they are willing to prescribe some anti-anxiety medications. it is possible that your dog is scared and trying to frighten the thunder away with noise. Your dog might be able to feel static electricity from a thunderstorm buildup in its coat even before the first clap of thunder, causing them to react in an anxious or fearful manner. Dogs are often afraid of thunder simply because they don’t know what it is. It is usually marked by hiding, whining, barking, pawing or even urination. Find out what causes thunderstorm phobia in dogs and learn how to manag… “You can play white noise — or classical music is especially calming to dogs,” Miller says. Summertime means sunshine, road trips, picnics, and boat rides. Answer a few simple questions and find the right dog for you, Compare up to 5 different breeds side by side, Browse the AKC Marketplace to find the right puppy for you, Browse our extensive library of dog names for inspiration, Find out the best and worst foods for your dog and which to avoid, Why Are Dogs Scared of Thunder? Dogs may pant, whine, bark, hide, tremble, pace, spin, scratch and/or paw at windows and doors, and may become extremely destructive and panicked to the point of hurting themselves. Is this normal? Chewing and puzzle toys can also help your dog during a thunderstorm. If your dog is afraid of thunderstorms, you might notice him or her hiding in a confined space, trembling or shaking, barking, howling, whining, restlessly pacing, drooling, or engaging in destructive behavior. Says Alonso, “I don’t think people even think to get help much of the time – these just think it’s just that ‘silly dog’ and don’t understand the severity of their dog’s stress level. Reducing thunderstorm anxiety in dogsOne of the interesting findings of several researchers about thunderstorm phobia was that the percentage of dog guardians who sought help for the problem from behavior and veterinary professionals was quite small3. Dealing with a dog scared of thunder — my personal story My dog Grant is scared of thunder. “If your dog naturally tends to do those things when they’re upset, giving them positive outlets for that can be really helpful.”. You have questions, we have answers. 2012. Often times, when your dog is afraid of thunder, it’s because of the lack of exposure, which can cause panic and fear. Even in its milder forms, it’s still a very unpleasant experience for the dog. Thunderstorm phobia or anxiety in dogs is a fairly common and very real problem for many dogs. Dogs are sensitive to certain noises and sounds that can scare them, and thunder is one of them. Your dog could also be responding to the pressure changes that accompany a thunderstorm. It is ok to allow them to do this. Dogs in Cars: Should My Dog Hang His Head Out the Car Window? If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets. © The American Kennel Club, Inc. 2020. For example, dogs that are afraid of thunder may later become afraid of the wind, dark clouds and flashes of light that often precede the sound of thunder. Thinkstock. The most common behaviors associated with your dog’s fear of thunder include restlessness, destructiveness, hiding in small places, barking, whining, sitting or leaning close by the owner, trembling, pacing, panting, drooling dilated pupils, defecating, urinating and trying to escape by running away. Essential info about dog health, training, sports and more. Miller explains that dogs like going to a space like their crate or a dark closet during a thunderstorm because it’s familiar and soothing. There are a variety of reasons why your dog might bark, or respond aggressively, toward thunder. It is usually marked by hiding, whining, barking, pawing or even urination. A: Many dogs are afraid of thunder simply because they do not understand what it is. Other dogs may have a more severe phobia which leads them to hide, become destructive, or even lose control of their bowels or bladder. 2013 Fear responses to noises in domestic dogs: Prevalence, risk factors and co-occurrence with other fear related behavior. Veterinarians don't know all the triggers but suspect the dogs are set off by some combination of wind, thunder, lightning, barometric pressure changes, static … There are many reasons dogs may have astraphobia, or “thunder phobia,” though. Unfortunately for dogs, it also means thunderstorms, which can upset many dogs to the point of panic. Not all dogs are afraid of thunder and other noises. But these tips will help your dog through things like fireworks or thunderstorms. A far better approach to help dogs afraid of thunder is to support them in overcoming the fear. With practice and a good routine/training schedule throughout the year. “If your dog gets destructive, chewing and licking are self-soothing behaviors,” Miller says. In most cases, they will suggest that you use the medication in association with general good preparedness for the storms (especially if they are … In addition to providing a safe space that’s dark and covered, provide background noise to reduce stimulation. For example, when a dog yawns, it’s because they’re likely stressed out. My dog is terrified of thunderstorms. My older dogs were that age when our house was hit by lightning, and both are still afraid of thunder.” Most of the thunder-phobic dogs in Dr. Aronson’s practice developed their fear between ages four and seven. If you find your dog is clearly stressed for long periods after the storm has passed. “Thunder is a big part of it. “If they like their crate, give them those fun things in there.”. In addition, puzzle toys, kongs filled with peanut butter or kibbles, or anxiety vests are helpful. “It’s a survival thing to be afraid of loud noises, to want to find shelter,” she says. It is still not clear as what triggers this kind […] Dogs have a more acute sense of hearing than humans, so those loud booms, crackles and whistles are alarming. Survey on predisposing factors to canine thunderstorm phobia. She suggests buying toys that help with chewing or licking like the Lickimat. Dogs react sensitively to the level of ozone in the atmosphere, spikes in atmospheric pressure. If your dog suffers from thunder and noise phobia, finding qualified behavior help is highly recommended. The opinions and views expressed in this post are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent the beliefs, policies or positions of all veterinarians, Pet Health Network, IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. or its affiliates and partner companies. 26(4) 27-33. While thunderstorm phobia can be difficult to deal with, depending on the severity, there are still many things you can do to help your dog be more comfortable and modify his behavior over time.The first step is to consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist, if there is one in your area. No one is exactly sure what makes dogs afraid of thunder. Dogs hear this loud noise and perceive it as something threatening. Learn more about reading your dog’s body language. Homeopathic treatment doesn’t try to sedate a terrified dog. To better understand why some dogs hate thunderstorms, we talked to Trista Miller, a CPDT certified trainer, and an AKC CGC and Trick Dog Evaluator. Others simply don’t know that there is help available.”  Visit the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, the Animal Behavior Society, and the IAABC to find a professional near you. It can be heartbreaking to watch the way your dog starts behaving during a thunderstorm. I remember my own sense of horror when we were driving cross country from Los Angeles to Pennsylvania and my shepherd mix became extremely anxious during a thunderstorm in Arizona, to the point where my husband and I had to take turns staying in the car with him at night because we couldn’t keep him in the hotel due to his terrified barking. But, the question remains, why are dogs afraid of thunder in the first place? Dogs that are afraid of firecrackers may become afraid of the children who have the firecrackers or may become afraid to go in the backyard, if that is where they usually hear the noise. Homeopathy works by understanding the full nature of the dog, including their sensitivities and fears. Storengen LM, Lingaas F. (2015) Noise sensitivity in 17 dog breeds: Prevalence, breed risk and correlation with fear in other situations. Published by. In my personal experience, pet guardians can be uncomfortable with the thought of using medication for anxiety on their dog, but, thunderstorm phobia can be a medical emergency if it’s severe enough. Flashes of lightning, followed by thunder rumbles, gusts of wind drive you crazy. It does seem to be more common in some breeds than others. She also believes it’s instinctual. If your dog can’t hear the thunder or see the lighting, they’ll be less stressed. © 2020 IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. All rights reserved. min read. There are many dogs who exhibit one of the most common phobias that affect dogs, the thunderstorm phobia. and dogs have to work to get the food off it. She runs and hides in the closet. The best way to soothe your dog is by knowing their body language. Founded in 1884, the AKC is the recognized and trusted expert in breed, health, and training information for dogs. If your dog is fearful of thunder, then you are not alone. 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