Thunderstorm anxiety is a difficult, and often frightening, problem for dog parents to handle. This may be due to pet guardians not being aware that there is help for this condition and/or lack of access to professionals. While some dogs show mild signs of stress, like licking their paws, other dogs can get so worked up during storms they may get destructive. 2013 Fear responses to noises in domestic dogs: Prevalence, risk factors and co-occurrence with other fear related behavior. AKC actively advocates for responsible dog ownership and is dedicated to advancing dog sports. Find out what causes thunderstorm phobia in dogs and learn how to manag… For dogs who suffer severely from thunder phobias (or canine phobias in general), the level of stress they’re experiencing may require a call in to the experts. 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. “You can play white noise — or classical music is especially calming to dogs,” Miller says. Chewing and puzzle toys can also help your dog during a thunderstorm. “Any of those would be super good for dogs,” Miller says. Distant, low-frequency rumbles of thunder that are beyond human hearing but are loud to the sensitive hearing of a dog. Dogs with thunderstorm phobia become extremely frantic and overwhelmed with fear during storms. Here’s what we learned. Changes in air pressure. Homeopathic treatment doesn’t try to sedate a terrified dog. It is ok to allow them to do this. Trainers and experts might not know every reason why dogs hate thunderstorms, but Miller believes it has a lot to do with the loud sounds. Why Do Cats and Dogs Greet Us So Differently? Tips to Help Calm Your Pet. Most cats don’t care for big storms either. 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. Dogs have a more acute sense of hearing than humans, so those loud booms, crackles and whistles are alarming. Essential info about dog health, training, sports and more. “So giving them that smaller space eliminates anything sneaking up on them. In press. In addition, puzzle toys, kongs filled with peanut butter or kibbles, or anxiety vests are helpful. Perhaps you adopted your dog from a rescue shelter, and you don't know much about his past, but he flips out anytime he hears loud noises, like books falling off shelves or doors slamming. Like humans, dogs feel uneasy when they unexpectedly hear a loud sound, and having background noise helps. In most cases, they will suggest that you use the medication in association with general good preparedness for the storms (especially if they are … and dogs have to work to get the food off it. 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. Dogs can be afraid of a wide variety of things, including thunder. Guide to Essential oils for dogs scared of thunder, essential oils for dogs fear, essential oils for scared dogs, essential oils for dogs afraid of thunder, essential oils for fearful dogs, oil for fearful dogs, oil for fearful dogs skin, oil for fearful dogs ears, oil for fearful dogs anxiety Dogs in Cars: Should My Dog Hang His Head Out the Car Window? A: Many dogs are afraid of thunder simply because they do not understand what it is. A far better approach to help dogs afraid of thunder is to support them in overcoming the fear. Astraphobia is the technical term for this: the fear of thunder and lightning. Storengen LM, Lingaas F. (2015) Noise sensitivity in 17 dog breeds: Prevalence, breed risk and correlation with fear in other situations. Most dogs can be calmed towards thunder by applying some or all of the above suggestions. 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? With practice and a good routine/training schedule throughout the year. Many dogs have a general noise phobia. It would be funny since she's a 90 pound dobe, except that when i find her, her entire body is shaking and she's clearly terrified. It does seem to be more common in some breeds than others. Fear of thunder is a common phobia in dogs. Genetics - these set the threshold for “what is stressful” and the default response of “fight or flight.” A dog with nervous parents is probably going to be on the nervous end of the spectrum - breed and breeding matter! 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. “If your dog gets destructive, chewing and licking are self-soothing behaviors,” Miller says. “This correlates to a decrease in thyroid function, which is an important component in behavioral problems,” she says. Not all dogs are afraid of thunder and other noises. Is this normal? If your dog is fearful of thunder, then you are not alone. And if you can start identifying these behaviors before a thunderstorm, you can have a plan in place before it escalates and your dog is out of control. min read. If your dog suffers from thunder and noise phobia, finding qualified behavior help is highly recommended. Generally, dogs can sense the variations in the air pressure and can hear the low-frequency reverberations of thunderstorms. Dogs are often afraid of thunder simply because they don’t know what it is. Most fireworks make some kind of loud sound. https://www.akc.org/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php. We never realized he, at six years of age, was thunder-phobic since he lived all his life in an area where there really are no storms. Survey on predisposing factors to canine thunderstorm phobia. Apart from this, dogs are also afraid of thunder due to Astraphobia. “Some dogs definitely have experienced something bad that makes them afraid of thunder,” says Nancy A. Dreschel, DVM, PhD, who has studied and written about thunderstorm phobia. There are a variety of reasons why your dog might bark, or respond aggressively, toward thunder. “Of course, dogs are so much more sensitive to sounds, their hearing is so much more powerful than ours, so they can often detect thunder way before we can,” she explains. It can be heartbreaking to watch the way your dog starts behaving during a thunderstorm. But, the question remains, why are dogs afraid of thunder in the first place? If you find your dog is clearly stressed for long periods after the storm has passed. The best way to soothe your dog is by knowing their body language. 2013; Mengoli M, Tancini V. 2012. Flashes of lightning, followed by thunder rumbles, gusts of wind drive you crazy. In some cases, owners are able to trace a dog’s fear to an identifiable trigger. She also believes it’s instinctual. 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. Dog afraid of thunder, lightning or fireworks is common in dogs. Dogs are sensitive to certain noises and sounds that can scare them, and thunder is one of them. There are many reasons dogs may have astraphobia, or “thunder phobia,” though. “Thunder is a big part of it. If your dog can’t hear the thunder or see the lighting, they’ll be less stressed. Veterinaria. When there’s a thunderstorm and your dog starts to get nervous, here are some tips and tricks for calming them down. Thinkstock. When you’re a dog lover, it can be tough to watch your normally calm pup get stressed out during a thunderstorm. “If they like their crate, give them those fun things in there.”. Some dogs try to go under tables, in bathtubs, or in any other places that make them feel secure. Founded in 1884, the AKC is the recognized and trusted expert in breed, health, and training information for dogs. 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. It is still not clear as what triggers this kind […] “They can read other dogs’ body language really well, they can read our body language really well, but we’re usually oblivious to theirs,” Miller says. “Dogs descended from wolves and were in dens, and so they still like den-like environments,” she says. Owners who see their dogs experiencing this fear usually feel helpless and frustrated. Astraphobia can affect both humans and animals. 26(4) 27-33. Summertime means sunshine, road trips, picnics, and boat rides. A dog afraid of thunder can have a variety of reactions, from mild to extreme. Dogs are really good at communicating with their body language. Animals are sensitive to changes in barometric pressure and electrostatic fluctuations. Dogs with astraphobia may or may not be afraid of other loud noises. it is possible that your dog is scared and trying to frighten the thunder away with noise. No one is exactly sure what makes dogs afraid of thunder. Mychelle has more than 13 years of experience in the pet health industry and is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant as well as a valued member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team since 2014. So, I think there could also be some unheard, unseen things that dogs can catch that we do not.”. All rights reserved. If they’re in an enclosed space where they are comfortable and familiar, that’s going to be more soothing to them.”. “It’s a survival thing to be afraid of loud noises, to want to find shelter,” she says. Unfortunately for dogs, it also means thunderstorms, which can upset many dogs to the point of panic. I know dobes as a breed don't like loud noises, but she gets frightened even when the thunder is distant and not that loud. Learn more about reading your dog’s body language. 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. Dogs react sensitively to the level of ozone in the atmosphere, spikes in atmospheric pressure. It is doubtful if there is a better way than with homeopathic treatment. iy_2021; im_01; id_10; ih_14; imh_49; i_epoch:1610318957171, py_2020; pm_12; pd_13; ph_22; pmh_58; p_epoch:1607929136787, link-block-publisher; link-block-publisher_link-block-publisher; bodystr, pn_tstr:Sun Dec 13 22:58:56 PST 2020; pn_epoch:1607929136787. We are going to talk about how to calm a dog that's afraid of thunder. Medication can make him  more comfortable.Thunderstorm anxiety tips for dogs. Well, due to dog’s keen senses they may experience a variety of things during a thunderstorm that go virtually undetected by us humans. There are many dogs who exhibit one of the most common phobias that affect dogs, the thunderstorm phobia. Blackwell EJ, Bradshaw JWS, Casey RA. Dogs afraid of thunder . Mychelle Blake, MSW, CDBC, Lifestyle Contributor and Pet Behavior Expert, Marjie Alonso, CDBC, KPA CTP, CPDT-KA, Executive Director of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, Your guide to understanding parasitic diseases in dogs, Introducing Happy Paws, from our friends at Fear Free Happy Homes. 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. It is usually marked by hiding, whining, barking, pawing or even urination. You have questions, we have answers. Some dogs afraid of thunder are actually exhibiting fear of the environmental changes that they experience prior to a storm’s arrival. So, I can deeply sympathize with the trauma that other dog guardians can feel when they find their dog suffers from thunderstorm phobia.Dogs that suffer from thunderstorm phobia are often also sensitive to other loud noises such as fireworks and gun shots1. They’re Loud. 2. A dog afraid of thunder can have a variety of reactions, from mild to extreme. There are anti-anxiety medications that can be used to help your dog feel calmer during a storm. Female dogs and neutered males are more likely to be thunder phobic, as well was dogs that were rehomed2. Even in its milder forms, it’s still a very unpleasant experience for the dog. © 2020 IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. All rights reserved. Noise trauma during storms may be stressful for both owners and dogs. 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. 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. Published by. She suggests buying toys that help with chewing or licking like the Lickimat. Your dog may also be simply expressing its own anxiety and fear by barking. Thank you, Daniel Dudgeon, for your A2A: Why do dogs freak out during storms? https://www.akc.org/subscription/thank-you. It is usually marked by hiding, whining, barking, pawing or even urination. 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. Studies have also found that breed, age, sex and acquisition of the dog can increase the likelihood a dog will suffer from this condition. 4 Reasons Dogs are Scared of Fireworks 1. Dogs who are scared of thunder or storms may show their anxieties in a variety of ways. Dealing with a dog scared of thunder — my personal story My dog Grant is scared of thunder. You may wish to consult with your local veterinarian and see if they are willing to prescribe some anti-anxiety medications. A theory that dogs suffer painful shocks of electricity caused by a build up of static before a storm hits. When it comes to thunder, it can be terrifying to hear something so big and loud, especially when there is no way for them to understand what it is. Thankfully there are a number of options for calming a dog scared of thunder. Trainers and experts might not know every reason why dogs hate thunderstorms, but Miller believes it has a lot to do with the loud sounds. “If your dog naturally tends to do those things when they’re upset, giving them positive outlets for that can be really helpful.”. For example, when a dog yawns, it’s because they’re likely stressed out. Appl An Behav Sci. In fact, 2016 research in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior said noise phobias or noise sensitivities are one of the top 3 common anxieties in dogs (poor pups!). 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 … 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. Storengen LM, Lingaas F. 2015; Blackwell EJ, Bradshaw JWS, Casey RA. While it’s a common fear amongst dogs – some breeds more frightened of it than others – there is no explanation for what makes them afraid of it. Science says that a whopping 93% of dogs with some type of noise phobia are afraid of thunder, or something similarly loud like fireworks. 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. “Talking in a soothing manner, and, if your dog likes it, pet them in long, calming strokes.”. Indeed, dogs are afraid of thunder because of loud and sharp sounds. No one is exactly sure what makes dogs afraid 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. Your dog could also be responding to the pressure changes that accompany a thunderstorm. She runs and hides in the closet. Other dogs may have a more severe phobia which leads them to hide, become destructive, or even lose control of their bowels or bladder. Discomfort may arise due to the barometric pressure changes, static electricity, high winds, and low-frequency rumbles. 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. 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. Often times, when your dog is afraid of thunder, it’s because of the lack of exposure, which can cause panic and fear. According to one study, about one-third of dogs have anxiety, and thunderstorms are at the top of the list of anxiety-inducing situations. But, I think dogs are also sensitive to changes in air pressure and potentially static electricity. 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. Like fireworks, thunder is loud, unpredictable and often brings unexpected flashes of light. Dogs hear this loud noise and perceive it as something threatening. 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. But we all know the common symptoms of this fear which can be anything from hiding, barking, whining, or anxiously pawing and scratching at doors. In addition to providing a safe space that’s dark and covered, provide background noise to reduce stimulation. Dogs are scared of thunder. “A lot of people misunderstand what their dog is trying to communicate.”. Fear of thunder is a common phobia in dogs. © The American Kennel Club, Inc. 2020. Appl An Behav Sci 145(1-2) 15-25.; Mengoli M, Tancini V. et al. While it can be easy to get angry at your dog for being destructive or whining during a storm, it’s important to take the time to understand why your dog is acting this way and learning how to help. My dog is terrified of thunderstorms. But these tips will help your dog through things like fireworks or thunderstorms. Another benefit to these is that they help a stressed dog to relax enough to concentrate on the behavior modification plan you put together. Below are some reasons dogs are scared of fireworks, followed by ways you can help ease your dog’s fears and keep him calm. Download this e-book to get the explanations behind some of the strangest canine behaviors. The best thing you can do for your dog is to let them go to their safe space, and not punish them for any behavior during thunderstorms including destruction and whining. 2012. Storms, especially loud and noisy ones, can trigger fear in dogs and cats. You can smear the mat with peanut butter, cream cheese, soft bananas, etc. It does seem to be more common in some breeds than others. Thunderstorm phobia or anxiety in dogs is a fairly common and very real problem for many dogs. 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