Why Is My Dog Afraid of Thunder?
There are many reasons why dogs are afraid of thunder. Some might be scared by the noise and commotion or even feel like they are being attacked. Some younger puppies might just not be familiar with it yet.
However, there are also many instances where a dog’s fear of thunder can cause them to behave unusually or even become aggressive. Keep reading to find out what you can do to help a dog that’s afraid of thunder.
Why Is My Dog Afraid of Thunder?
Thunder is one of the most common sources of anxiety in dogs. There is something about thunder that makes many dogs feel very uncomfortable. Dogs instinctively react to the sound of thunder by becoming afraid and hiding. It can be a serious problem if left untreated.
There are many potential reasons why a dog might be afraid of thunder.
Most people grow out of their fears surrounding thunder once they reach adulthood and learn the scientific reason for that loud booming in the sky. But you can’t explain physics to your dog.
Thunder can trigger a feeling of being in danger, leading to fear and anxiety. Thunder is also very loud and frightening. Even small dogs can become scared when exposed to loud noises like thunder. This can lead to increased stress levels and further fearfulness toward the sound.
Another reason for the fear and trembling? Dogs are very sensitive to changes in their environment.
When thunder occurs, it can cause a sudden change in noise levels in the dog’s environment. This can be very confusing and unsettling for dogs who are used to living in a quiet household or backyard.
Thunder also often signals a change in the weather. Storms and hurricanes are notorious for producing large amounts of thunder, which can add to the anxiety of any dog who hears it from outside its home.
Dogs are more likely to be afraid of thunder when they are left alone. This is caused by the fact that they were not taught how to deal with noise and fear from the environment around them, which can make them fearful of loud noises no matter what time of day or night it occurs.
Signs Your Dog Is Afraid of Thunder
Dogs are naturally afraid of thunder and lightning. They have evolved to be hypersensitive to these noises, which can signal danger.
When a dog hears thunder, they may experience fear, confusion, and even panic. This can lead to destructive behavior, such as barking or running away from the noise source.
Here are some signs that your dog is afraid of thunder:
- Your dog avoids being near windows or outdoors during thunderstorms.
- Your dog hides or trembles when they hear thunder.
- Your dog barks excessively or tries to escape when they hear thunder.
- Your dog has been known to destroy property when startled by thunder.
- Your dog responds aggressively to thunder and high winds.
- Your dog seems to be very nervous when storms are approaching.
How to Comfort Your Dog During Thunderstorms
Many pet owners find their dogs becoming frightened or anxious when thunderstorms approach. You can do a few things to help your dog feel more comfortable during a storm.
First, teach your dog to be more comfortable with weather changes by slowly exposing them to storms and other thunder noises. This will help them learn to cope with change and develop positive associations with the sound. This is called desensitization or counterconditioning.
Second, ensure your dog has plenty of toys and treats to keep them occupied. This will help to distract them from the noise and activity outside. You can also try sitting with your dog during a storm, providing them security and warmth.
Provide a safe space for your dog, so they can feel protected and secure. Try not to leave them home alone during a storm, as being alone could lead to them becoming more afraid. And if all else fails, speak with your vet about the potential of anti-anxiety medication. While giving your dog pills isn’t always easy, it could allow them to settle down and reduce their anxiety and stress.
If your dog is terrified, you may need to take extra precautions to keep them safe. If your dog is uncontrollably barking or howling during a thunderstorm, it is essential to get them professional help as this could be a sign of distress.
If you are worried about your pet’s safety during a thunderstorm, it is always wise to stay indoors. For added security, shield them from the windows with blankets and offer plenty of affection.
There is no one way to soothe a dog afraid of thunder, as the reasons behind it depend on the individual dog and its personality.
However, some of the most common reasons dogs fear thunderstorms include being spooked by loud noises, feeling enclosed and insecure in a stormy environment, and perceiving thunder as an attack.
If your dog is afraid of thunder, they don’t have to simply “live with it.” A visit to your veterinarian can help address any underlying issues and give you advice to help you cope.
At Westmonte Animal Clinic, we help pet owners in Altamonte Springs, Casselberry, and throughout the greater Orlando area.
If your dog is struggling with the intense afternoon thunderstorms that are so common in our area, or you are just looking for a family-friendly facility with a welcoming atmosphere, call us today at 407-862-6892 or make an appointment online.
We can’t wait to meet you (and your pup)!