Is your dog scared of thunder? Dogs are excellent pets because they provide companionship and keep us happy. As uplifting as they are, our dogs can go through moments of stress, especially during a storm.
Although it can be challenging, it is common for dogs to feel fear and anxiety during storms. Once you notice your dog's nervousness, you can begin the process of soothing and assisting them through a storm. You probably have questions about your dog's fear and how to help alleviate them. Read on to find out how you can be there for them!
Why is My Dog Scared of Thunder?
The first question dog owners usually ask themselves is, why is their dog scared of thunder? Pet behavior specialists and dog experts have looked into the cause. Experts have narrowed it down to various reasons.
Dogs have excellent hearing and senses compared to humans. The giant roaring sound of thunder can sound scary and loud for us, and it is even more magnified for our canine companions. Additionally, dogs' keen sense of hearing allows them to hear low-rumblings of thunder that people cannot pick up, which is why they usually know when a storm is coming.
Dogs are also unsure where the loud noises and flashes of light come from, which is why thunderstorms and fireworks can be scary for them. The unpredictability of storms can be nerve-racking for dogs.
Dogs can hear things louder than we can, but they can also pick things up that we aren't even aware of. For example, they can detect a drop in barometric pressure before the start of a storm. They view this as a potential danger, causing them to become agitated.
Dogs can also be sensitive to static electricity, which makes them feel uncomfortable. Fear of thunder in dogs can also be related to possible trauma they faced as puppies.
If your dog is adopted, it may have gone through some trauma that thunderstorms can trigger. Your dog could have been left outside in the rain by a neglectful owner. Each pooch's experience and personality are different, and a storm can bring up different memories and feelings for each pet.
Is It Normal for a Dog to Be Scared of Thunder?
Although it can be unpleasant for you and your pet, it is normal for a dog to be scared of thunder. Dogs are naturally curious creatures and enjoy exploring. Whenever they encounter something unknown to them, they may respond with fear or excitement.
You might notice your dog run and hide in a safe place they feel comfortable, such as their bed or a crate. While it is natural for them to hide during a storm, ignoring the animal's panic may worsen the problem. Long-term stress could lead to physical and/or mental issues if left untreated.
Your dog might display destructive behavior during a thunderstorm. Dogs locked away in a basement or garage can scratch up drywall and chew or break objects as a way to calm themselves down.
Avoid punishing your dogs if it chews up on your favorite item or urinates on the floor from fear. Punishment will stress your dog out more because it will associate thunderstorms with getting disciplined.
Dogs have feelings, and it is natural for them to experience anxiety or fear when they encounter something unknown to them. As dog owners, it is crucial to pick up on fearful behavior and find ways to calm your pet down.
It is essential to remain calm with your dog. This is because dogs can sense when we are nervous, which may make them feel more scared. Turn a negative situation for your dog into a positive one by distracting them with treats and playing with them.
Are All Dogs Scared of Thunder?
Storm-related anxiety can affect some dog breeds differently than others. Some dogs might be utterly oblivious to it and act the same. Others become desensitized over time thanks to a combination of training, counter-conditioning, and plenty of patience.
Some dogs live in areas that experience year-round rain and frequent thunderstorms. Some dogs can handle thunderstorms better because they are used to living in areas with plenty of storms.
Other dogs can be all right during a storm but might get anxiety from the loud noise of fireworks or gunshots. Various noises can affect your dog differently. Even if it is used to the sound of thunder, it might get anxious from the static electricity they sense on their skin and fur.
All dogs may gradually overcome their phobia of the sound of thunder by desensitization, which is the practice of incrementally exposing your dog to its triggers. Through training and positive reinforcement, you can help your dog normalize noise from a thunderstorm.
Is There a Term for a Dog Scared of Thunder?
Astraphobia is a fear of lightning and thunder that can affect dogs, people, and other animals. Phobia associated with thunder is stressful for anyone or any animal that experiences it.
People can experience different symptoms — such as anxiety — when dealing with a phobia. If you share a thunder phobia with your pet, it is vital to display body language that shows your dog that you are okay. Dogs can read body language, and if they see you are not afraid, it may lower their anxious feelings.
If your dog is afraid of a thunderstorm, try not to comfort it too much. It may misinterpret your support as encouragement of anxious behavior. This does not mean you should ignore your dog when it feels fearful. Instead, try the following calming methods below.
How to Calm a Dog Scared of Thunder
You might have noticed changes in your dog's behavior leading up to a storm. Dogs may:
- Tuck their tails between their legs
- Bite objects
- Go into hiding
If you see your pet display these signs at the sound of thunder or rain, we've got some methods that can help treat its fright. Like all pet care, it takes plenty of time and patience to help them overcome their fears.
Provide a Safe Place
Your dog might already have a favorite place they like to chill out. This can be under a bed, a couch, or even a random room in the house. Your pet may retreat to a place they see as safe to help them unwind their bundles of nerves. Clothing items like thunder vests can also give dogs that same feeling of comfort no matter where they go.
Depending on the size of your dog, find an old crate or use their dog house and cover it with a blanket so it can muffle out the noise from a storm. It is a good idea to include their favorite toy and a treat to help them escape the rumblings of a thunderstorm. Play some white noise or increase the volume of calming music like classical music to help your dog drown out the loud noises.
Turn a Thunderstorm into Playtime
Associate the unpleasantness of thunder into bonding time with your pet. Encourage your dog to play fetch or provide it with its favorite toys so it can ease the pressure off. By playing with it during a storm, your dog can begin to overcome its uneasiness during thunder slowly.
Desensitization to Thunder
Although it can take some time, you can train your canine to become desensitized to the loud sounds of thunder. Play thunderstorm sounds at a low volume while playing with your dog. Gradually increase the sound so that your dog gets used to it.
Watch how your dog reacts to the sound. If your pet begins to act skirmish, decrease the sound level and try again. Give your dog time, and it can eventually become used to the sound of thunder.
Give Your Pet CBD Treats
Holistapet CBD offers various high-quality, all-natural doggy treats to help your canine alleviate nervousness from a storm while also providing them with other benefits. Cannabidiol extracted from hemp is federally legal and will not leave your pup feeling high. CBD-infused treats interact with your dog's endocannabinoid system, which helps boost different systems within your dog.
- CBD Calming Chews for Dogs: Available in peanut butter flavor, these soft chews are perfect for all dog breeds. They regulate mood and promote a calming effect to balance out hyperactivity in your pet.
- CBD Dog Treats Stress and Anxiety Relief: The go-to snack for a nervous dog during a thunderstorm. Available in green and peanut butter flavors, these treats contain the perfect formula to soothe your pet during anxious times. Its anti-anxiety formula will give our dog a moment of tranquility.
- Full Spectrum CBD Oil for Dogs: This oil is perfectly safe for your animal and can be shared with your cat. Like the products mentioned before, this oil helps mitigate stress caused by a phobia. It also helps with digestive issues, pain inflammation, and aging wellness.
- CBD Capsules: We also offer our CBD in capsule form for convenience. CBD capsules help soothe separation anxiety, aggressive behavior, and excessive barking and chewing that can occur during a frightening storm. If you also have a cat, they'll enjoy these CBD capsules too!
Seek Tips From a Veterinarian
It is important to note that the FDA has not approved CBD to prevent, treat, or cure any diseases. This means you must do your research to ensure you're giving your pooch the highest quality products. Consult with a veterinarian to see if your dog can benefit from medication.
If your dog's fear of thunderstorms becomes severe, a veterinarian may be able to prescribe medication. Vets can also provide helpful advice on pet care.
Your dog deserves the best. Whether it is fancy toys, a warm bed, or food, your pet will thank you and love you even more if you help it overcome its phobia of thunderstorms.
Many tips can aid you in your quest to soothe your doggy. It can be as simple as turning a crate into a safe refuge from the thunderous noise, or you can give your dog Holistapet products to help combat storm anxiety. Whatever you decide to do to help will strengthen the relationship you have with it.