Why Are Dogs Scared of Thunder?

Updated: May 10, 2024

"Most dogs have canine noise aversion, defined as the characteristic to detect noise that would lead them to feel uncomfortable."

A home is even more beautiful when you have a pet, especially a man’s best friend–a dog. It gives you a sense of happiness, that apart from your family members, you have someone who is very excited to see you when you go home after a long day at work. But, if a thunder storm is rolling in, your dog may be terrified. But, why are dogs scared of thunder?

As more pet parents treat their pets as important family members these days, it is a great responsibility to make sure every dog feels secured especially during calamities and other natural disasters. And because storms can occur any time of the year, you should also know how to manage your dog scared of thunder!

Whether your dog barks at thunder or shakes from the noise, there are things you can do to help. In this article, we’ll talk about why dogs are scared of thunder, the signs to look for to know that your dog is scared of thunder, and the many efficient ways how to help a dog scared of thunder to have them calm down during a storm.

Why are dogs scared of thunder dog barks at thunder

Why Are Dogs Scared of Thunder?

It is common to have a dog scared of thunder. But, why are dogs scared of thunder? To know how to help a dog scared of thunder, we must first know the cause. Scientifically speaking, according to Liz Langley in “Why Your Dog Freaks Out During Thunderstorms—And What to Do”, the main reason why dogs are scared of thunder is because of the “dropping biometric pressure” alongside the dimming skies, strong wind, and the loud noise of thunder.

Most dogs also have canine noise aversion, defined as the characteristic to detect noise that would lead them to feel uncomfortable when they get to hear loud and irritating sounds.

Additionally, according to Dr. Lauren Brickman who studies and writes articles about pet behavior and health, dogs are afraid of thunder basically because they do not understand what the noise is and where it’s coming from. They just associate the loud sound as a threatening one. This can be the reason your dog barks at thunder or even hides from it.

Are cats scared of thunder? May pet parents will wonder are cats scared of thunder? The answer is yes, they can be. However, it is much more common to have a dog scared of thunder than a cat scared of thunder. With that being said, many of these tips will also work for a cat scared of thunder.

How Do You Know Your Dog is Scared of Thunder?

Upon hearing loud noises of thunder, a dog scared of thunder will react immediately with one or more of these signs:

  • your dog barks at thunder
  • pacing back and forth
  • looking for a place to hide; some dogs try to hide under the table, chairs, bathroom, bathtub, stairs, or in any other places that would make them feel safe and protected
  • trembling and shaking
  • placing their ears back, tails down or tucked in, eyes wide, panting, lip-licking and yawning, according to Terry Curtis, a clinical behaviorist of the University Of Florida College Of Veterinary Medicine
  • showing signs of stress, like licking their paws excessively or showing signs of aggressiveness or destructive behaviors
  • peeing or pooping inappropriately
why are dogs scared of thunder?

Calming Down a Scared Dog

As pet parents, you should know how to manage, handle, and calm down your furbaby during a storm. It is essential to study the behavior of your dogs and how you can be able to address their concerns regarding their anxiousness when it comes to dealing with the loud noises of thunder. Follow these tips if you have a dog scared of thunder for how to calm a dog during storms.

Creating safe spaces. One of the very first things to consider in calming your scared dog is to create a safe place for them. According to the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, dogs may experience several shocks from static electricity during a storm which would make them feel scared. This explains why they lean towards running in the rooms and places in your home that are grounded and that would make them feel secured. Basements, bathtubs, and other enclosed parts in your house are some areas that are grounded. Always make sure that you have a safe space in your house where your dog can run or hide immediately during thunderstorms.

Many dogs like to feel secure wrapped in a dog thunder blanket. You can place Pawtect® Blankets in your furbaby’s safe place to act as a calming dog thunder blanket. Pawtect® Blankets are made with a special kind of faux fur fabric that is the smoothest to help keep your dog cozy and dry. These blankets can also serve as comfort blankets, making your dog feeling safe during a storm. Plus, by using Pawtect® Blankets as dog thunder blankets, you don’t have to worry about any extra drool hitting your furniture, bed, or floor as they are waterproof and washable.

Provide calming supplements. Providing your dog calming supplements will help keep your furbaby relaxed in an episode of dog anxiety triggered by thunder noises. Calming supplements, like Pet Parents® Calming SoftSupps®, help promote a balanced behavior and act as a calming aid for dogs. Made with Suntheanine® (a pure form of L-Theanine that is clinically studied for promoting a sense of relaxation), these soft chews promote calming effects for your dog and help them cope up with external stresses and anxiety triggers. Keep in mind that if you have a dog scared of thunder, they should not just receive a supplement the day of a storm. Supplements work proactively and should be given daily to build a balance in your dog so that when the next storm comes, they are ready.

snuffle mat for dogs anti-anxiety activity

Distract your dog. You should also plan ahead or list out things that you should do to distract your dog from experiencing any possible negative effects during a storm if your dog is scared of thunder. It is recommended to play a background sound for your dog, such as increasing the volume of your television set or turning on your radio and home sound system, and playing a calming song. The is said to help in decreasing the effect of noise produced by thunder.

You can tire your dog out when a storm is coming so that they do not have so much pent up energy. Even if it is already raining and you cannot exercise them outside, the mental stimulation from snuffling in a Forager® Mat will mentally tire out your dog. Snuffle mats for dogs provide an anti-anxiety activity that can help to calm them. This is an excellent way to distract them as a storm rolls in or during the storm.

Create body wraps. You can also create dog body wraps for your furbaby. Dog body wraps can help them feel warm and safe, and help lower dog anxiety and provide care and protection for your furbaby. Dog body wraps are also considered to be anxiety wraps. How do these work? As mentioned by the VCA Animal Hospital, these distribute pressure over the back and sides of your dog’s chest, serving as a calming “hug.”

It is very important also to make your dogs feel protected by creating body wraps (a DIY wrap can do) so they would feel safe. However, make sure you do not wrap it too tight and make sure your dog is not too hot with a dog body wrap.

Prepare for the next storm. Considering the suggestions above, preparing for the next storm is a must. We do not know when exactly a storm will occur again. Make sure you have prepared all the necessary things needed so your furbaby will not experience discomfort, fear, and anxiety during these times.

Please note that it is actually best not to coddle them during storms as it can reinforce the idea that there is something to be afraid of. Instead, distract them with games, food, and fun. You can provide Gnawtlers® to serve as thunder dog chews. These naturally shed elk and deer antler chews can help your dog release their anxiety. Give these to your dog before a storm starts as thunder dog chews to distract them and provide an alternative activity.

Talk to your vet. Consult your veterinarian so they can give you a prescription to calm your dog during a thunder storm if your dog is experiencing severe anxiety. Anxiety meds for dogs can work wonders for furbabies terrified of thunder. It is a must to ask for professional help to address the anxiety of your dog if they are not able to eat or potty during a storm, especially if you live in an area that experiences storms often.

Indeed, our dogs are important members of our family. Now that you have the answer to the question, why are dogs scared of thunder, you can understand how best to take care of your dog. Help calm your dog with calming dog supplements, dog thunder blankets, and by being prepared for the next storm. You can consult your vet about dog anxiety meds for the next storm and prepare with mental enrichment games and activities. Provide a safe and secure environment for your dog scared of thunder so that they can decompress.

Provide calming dog supplements and dog thunder blankets

Consult your vet about dog anxiety meds for the next storm

Prepare mental enrichment games and distraction activities