Is your dog scared of thunder? It’s pretty common for dogs of any age or breed to be afraid of loud noises and booming sounds. Thunder can be unpredictable and can cause your dog to hide, whine, bark, and even urinate out of fear.
Just like a fear of fireworks, dogs can be triggered by bright flashes and unpredictable loud bangs. Thunder may lead to your dog feeling anxious and stressed out, making it difficult to calm them down. So how do you calm your dog during a storm? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why your dog is scared of thunder, which breeds are more fearful of loud noises, and how to keep them calm during the storm!
Why is My Dog Scared of Thunder?
The reason that dogs may have a fear of thunder is because of how loud the sound is. Dogs have much more sensitive hearing than humans do. The sound of thunder can be extremely triggering and cause them to hide, shake, or have other symptoms of fear.
Like fireworks, thunder is usually unexpected and can be alarming to any dog, large or small. It is an instinctual part of a dog’s genetics to react to such loud sounds because it affects their environment. When a dog feels uncomfortable or scared they may react in different ways to warn you about potential dangers, or they might cower away and hide.
The term for being afraid of thunder or loud natural noises is astraphobia. Although different breeds are more inclined to be afraid of thunder than others, this fear is rather common for most pups.
Is It Normal for a Dog to Be Afraid of Thunder?
Yes, being scared of thunder is absolutely normal behavior for dogs! Each dog is different and may have various reactions to thunderstorms, but generally, dogs can show signs of fear or anxiety during a thunderstorm. As a result, some dogs may try to hide to find a safe space away from the noise. Many dogs also bark for an extensive period, while other dogs may shiver or shake during the thunderstorm. Overall, you’ll be able to notice a significant change in behavior in your dog.
You may notice several other key signs when your dog is feeling stressed out during the storm. Your dog could be hyperactive, running around the house and maintaining destructive behaviors during the storm. They may start to feel anxious and not know how to react properly.
Another key sign is that your dog will try to hide away and find a safe space until the storm settles down. The noises may be a little much for your dog to handle, so they want to find any peace they can. This usually means they will run to their kennel or bed and wrap themselves in a familiar blanket until the storm is over.
In some cases, your dog may urinate or defecate out of fear. This is an uncontrollable response because your dog may sense they are in fear and don’t know how to handle it. The best thing for you to do during these situations is trying to create a safe space for your pup and stay as calm as possible until the storm is over.
Are All Dogs Scared of Thunder?
Not all dogs are scared of thunder! Each dog has its own personality and may have different reactions to specific fears such as thunderstorms or fireworks. Some dogs who already have certain fears, such as separation anxiety, might be more scared of thunder.
Certain breeds like herding breeds may be susceptible during thunderstorms. With proper training, you can help desensitize your dog to the sound of thunder so they show little or no fear. This training may take a lot of patience and time, but it’s worth it in the long run.
Some dogs may also have experienced past traumas that can trigger certain emotions or behaviors, such as loud noises or flashing lights. Recognizing that every dog has their own history and that they will experience every situation differently is important when attempting to help calm your pup.
Is There a Term for a Dog Scared of Thunder?
The technical term used to describe a dog or anyone scared of thunder and lightning is astraphobia. It is also interchangeable with the phrase thunderstorm phobia or storm phobia.
How to Calm a Dog Scared of Thunder
Finding a way to calm down your dog during a thunderstorm can be tricky because dogs can’t communicate what they need. However, here are some of the best tips to keep your dog’s anxiety during the storm at ease!
Never Punish Your Dog
When you notice your dog is acting up, running around, or urinating because of the storm, never punish them for their behavior. Using tactics like holding them down or jerking their collars can make the situation worse. If you use negative punishment or reinforcement, this may only aggravate your dog and cause them to be even more fearful during storms. Your dog may even start associating storms with punishment, which can create all sorts of anxiety issues with them.
One of the most important things to do during a storm is to stay calm. A dog can sense emotions from its owner extremely well, and if you begin to show any signs of distress, your dog will feel it too. When you show signs of panic, this only gives your dog good reason that there is reason to be concerned, and they will start to panic with you.
However, if you keep your cool and use a calm voice, your dog can pick up on this and realize that there is nothing to worry about. Always be patient with your dog and never try to force them to feel any particular way. The best thing for you to do is to ensure that the storm is only temporary and that everything will be okay!
Create a Safe Space
Many dogs may try to hide when they hear the noise of thunder. You can create a safe space for them when this happens. Whether this space is on the couch with you, in their kennel, or cuddled up in their bed, it is best to give them the time and space they need to get through the storm.
Make sure their safe space has plenty of items they need to feel comfortable such as:
- A blanket with their scent on it (or yours!)
- Their favorite toys
- A radio or speaker to play calming sounds or music to block out the thunderous booms
- Food and water close by for easy access
Distract Your Dog
Another thing you can do to keep your dog occupied during the storm is to distract them with things they like. You can give them a bone or something they can chew on to redirect their attention. You can also give your dog a new toy or try to play a game until the loud noises cease. Every dog has different interests, so it’s good to try out a few things and see which ones stick.
Desensitize Your Dog to Thunder
Desensitizing your dogs might be difficult to pull off for certain dogs, but it can be extremely helpful in the long run. Although thunderstorms can be unpredictable even if you keep up with the forecast, you can try to control how your dog will react during. You can train your dog to recognize thunder noises and desensitize them to the experience.
You can play videos or sounds of thunderstorms on your TV or speakers to begin desensitization training. Exposing your dog to these sounds can help them recognize thunder noises. It will also help them realize that this is a perfectly normal thing that happens from time to time. However, this type of training may only work on certain dogs. So if your pup gets scared during the training sessions, don’t force this training on them!
Give Them CBD
If your dog is scared of thunder, giving them CBD dog treats may help calm them down. CBD is a natural compound extracted from the hemp plant and has many soothing benefits that can help calm your dog. CBD also does not contain any intoxicating effects that will make your dog feel high.
By giving your dog CBD, it can support their endocannabinoid system (ECS). All humans and animals have an ECS, the system that helps us maintain the body’s natural functions such as appetite, sleep, mood, digestion, and more! The amazing calming effects of CBD can help ease the body and mind, keeping your dog relaxed during any thunderstorm.
One of our favorite methods to calm a dog is by giving them CBD-infused dog treats. Many dog owners love CBD dog treats because they can help manage any fear your dog feels, especially during a thunderstorm.
Another method you can use to give your dog CBD is with oil tinctures. CBD oil for pets is a popular and effective way for calming canines down. You can drop the CBD oil directly into your dog’s mouth, or you can mix a few drops into their food and water! In no time, you’ll begin to see a change in their behavior and stay much more composed during those big storms.
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Final Thoughts – Dog Scared of Thunder
Making our pets feel safe is one of the most important things to do if your dog is scared of thunder. It can be extremely worrying seeing them afraid, but it’s crucial to stay calm when they feel afraid. Also, use a calming voice and ensure that storms are temporary and a very natural occurrence.
We highly recommend trying CBD to help manage their fears. As always, take things slow and remember not to force anything on your dog!