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are dogs afraid of thunder

“If they like their crate, give them those fun things in there.”. © 2020 IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. All rights reserved. My dog is terrified of thunderstorms. Tips to Help Calm Your Pet. “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. Blackwell EJ, Bradshaw JWS, Casey RA. Here’s what we learned. 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 … Flashes of lightning, followed by thunder rumbles, gusts of wind drive you crazy. Dogs are sensitive to certain noises and sounds that can scare them, and thunder is one of them. 2012. Homeopathy works by understanding the full nature of the dog, including their sensitivities and fears. 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. Thankfully there are a number of options for calming a dog scared of thunder. “Dogs descended from wolves and were in dens, and so they still like den-like environments,” she says. A: Many dogs are afraid of thunder simply because they do not understand what it is. Unfortunately for dogs, it also means thunderstorms, which can upset many dogs to the point of panic. 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. 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. 2013 Fear responses to noises in domestic dogs: Prevalence, risk factors and co-occurrence with other fear related behavior. Often times, when your dog is afraid of thunder, it’s because of the lack of exposure, which can cause panic and fear. 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 Founded in 1884, the AKC is the recognized and trusted expert in breed, health, and training information for dogs. 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. You may wish to consult with your local veterinarian and see if they are willing to prescribe some anti-anxiety medications. You can smear the mat with peanut butter, cream cheese, soft bananas, etc. It is usually marked by hiding, whining, barking, pawing or even urination. 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. Distant, low-frequency rumbles of thunder that are beyond human hearing but are loud to the sensitive hearing of a dog. 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. 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. Find out what causes thunderstorm phobia in dogs and learn how to manag… 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. Why Do Cats and Dogs Greet Us So Differently? Dogs can be afraid of a wide variety of things, including thunder. Dog afraid of thunder, lightning or fireworks is common in dogs. 26(4) 27-33. https://www.akc.org/subscription/thank-you. “This correlates to a decrease in thyroid function, which is an important component in behavioral problems,” she says. Noise trauma during storms may be stressful for both owners and dogs. 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. 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. 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. Medication can make him  more comfortable.Thunderstorm anxiety tips for dogs. Summertime means sunshine, road trips, picnics, and boat rides. Most fireworks make some kind of loud sound. Dogs who are scared of thunder or storms may show their anxieties in a variety of ways. © The American Kennel Club, Inc. 2020. “Talking in a soothing manner, and, if your dog likes it, pet them in long, calming strokes.”. Learn more about reading your dog’s body language. It is ok to allow them to do this. 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. Dogs in Cars: Should My Dog Hang His Head Out the Car Window? Dogs have a more acute sense of hearing than humans, so those loud booms, crackles and whistles are alarming. There are many reasons dogs may have astraphobia, or “thunder phobia,” though. 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. 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. Animals are sensitive to changes in barometric pressure and electrostatic fluctuations. If you find your dog is clearly stressed for long periods after the storm has passed. Dealing with a dog scared of thunder — my personal story My dog Grant is scared of thunder. Dogs with astraphobia may or may not be afraid of other loud noises. min read. You have questions, we have answers. 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. Apart from this, dogs are also afraid of thunder due to Astraphobia. Appl An Behav Sci. It does seem to be more common in some breeds than others. “If your dog naturally tends to do those things when they’re upset, giving them positive outlets for that can be really helpful.”. 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. Dogs are often afraid of thunder simply because they don’t know what it is. https://www.akc.org/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php. Most cats don’t care for big storms either. Indeed, dogs are afraid of thunder because of loud and sharp sounds. “It’s a survival thing to be afraid of loud noises, to want to find shelter,” she says. Thunderstorm phobia or anxiety in dogs is a fairly common and very real problem for many dogs. There are many dogs who exhibit one of the most common phobias that affect dogs, the thunderstorm phobia. It is still not clear as what triggers this kind […] 4 Reasons Dogs are Scared of Fireworks 1. “Thunder is a big part of it. Dogs are scared of thunder. It is usually marked by hiding, whining, barking, pawing or even urination. In addition to providing a safe space that’s dark and covered, provide background noise to reduce stimulation. 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. “So giving them that smaller space eliminates anything sneaking up on them. A dog afraid of thunder can have a variety of reactions, from mild to extreme. Owners who see their dogs experiencing this fear usually feel helpless and frustrated. 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! No one is exactly sure what makes dogs afraid of thunder. In addition, puzzle toys, kongs filled with peanut butter or kibbles, or anxiety vests are helpful. Dogs are really good at communicating with their body language. AKC actively advocates for responsible dog ownership and is dedicated to advancing dog sports. Veterinaria. Published by. Chewing and puzzle toys can also help your dog during a thunderstorm. Storms, especially loud and noisy ones, can trigger fear in dogs and cats. Astraphobia is the technical term for this: the fear of thunder and lightning. Astraphobia can affect both humans and animals. She suggests buying toys that help with chewing or licking like the Lickimat. Download this e-book to get the explanations behind some of the strangest canine behaviors. 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. 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. Generally, dogs can sense the variations in the air pressure and can hear the low-frequency reverberations of thunderstorms. There are a variety of reasons why your dog might bark, or respond aggressively, toward thunder. 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. Some dogs afraid of thunder are actually exhibiting fear of the environmental changes that they experience prior to a storm’s arrival. 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. Homeopathic treatment doesn’t try to sedate a terrified dog. When there’s a thunderstorm and your dog starts to get nervous, here are some tips and tricks for calming them down. Is this normal? Most dogs can be calmed towards thunder by applying some or all of the above suggestions. Fear of thunder is a common phobia in dogs. 2. 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? “If your dog gets destructive, chewing and licking are self-soothing behaviors,” Miller says. We are going to talk about how to calm a dog that's afraid of thunder. If your dog suffers from thunder and noise phobia, finding qualified behavior help is highly recommended. Appl An Behav Sci 145(1-2) 15-25.; Mengoli M, Tancini V. et al. Storengen LM, Lingaas F. 2015; Blackwell EJ, Bradshaw JWS, Casey RA. Fear of thunder is a common phobia in dogs. “You can play white noise — or classical music is especially calming to dogs,” Miller says. With practice and a good routine/training schedule throughout the year. A dog afraid of thunder can have a variety of reactions, from mild to extreme. Dogs with thunderstorm phobia become extremely frantic and overwhelmed with fear during storms. “Any of those would be super good for dogs,” Miller says. 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. So, I think there could also be some unheard, unseen things that dogs can catch that we do not.”. She runs and hides in the closet. It can be heartbreaking to watch the way your dog starts behaving during a thunderstorm. Changes in air pressure. “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. Like fireworks, thunder is loud, unpredictable and often brings unexpected flashes of light. Well, due to dog’s keen senses they may experience a variety of things during a thunderstorm that go virtually undetected by us humans. 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. Thinkstock. When you’re a dog lover, it can be tough to watch your normally calm pup get stressed out during a thunderstorm. Thank you, Daniel Dudgeon, for your A2A: Why do dogs freak out during storms? Even in its milder forms, it’s still a very unpleasant experience for the dog. A far better approach to help dogs afraid of thunder is to support them in overcoming the fear. Dogs afraid of thunder . 2013; Mengoli M, Tancini V. 2012. Storengen LM, Lingaas F. (2015) Noise sensitivity in 17 dog breeds: Prevalence, breed risk and correlation with fear in other situations. Not all dogs are afraid of thunder and other noises. But, the question remains, why are dogs afraid of thunder in the first place? Another benefit to these is that they help a stressed dog to relax enough to concentrate on the behavior modification plan you put together. Science says that a whopping 93% of dogs with some type of noise phobia are afraid of thunder, or something similarly loud like fireworks. 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. All rights reserved. Like humans, dogs feel uneasy when they unexpectedly hear a loud sound, and having background noise helps. and dogs have to work to get the food off it. She also believes it’s instinctual. In some cases, owners are able to trace a dog’s fear to an identifiable trigger. A theory that dogs suffer painful shocks of electricity caused by a build up of static before a storm hits. If your dog is fearful of thunder, then you are not alone. Below are some reasons dogs are scared of fireworks, followed by ways you can help ease your dog’s fears and keep him calm. They’re Loud. Thunderstorm anxiety is a difficult, and often frightening, problem for dog parents to handle. There are anti-anxiety medications that can be used to help your dog feel calmer during a storm. 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. Many dogs have a general noise phobia. For example, when a dog yawns, it’s because they’re likely stressed out. 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. This may be due to pet guardians not being aware that there is help for this condition and/or lack of access to professionals. If your dog can’t hear the thunder or see the lighting, they’ll be less stressed. 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. In most cases, they will suggest that you use the medication in association with general good preparedness for the storms (especially if they are … It is doubtful if there is a better way than with homeopathic treatment. 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. Survey on predisposing factors to canine thunderstorm phobia. 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 they’re in an enclosed space where they are comfortable and familiar, that’s going to be more soothing to them.”. 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. In press. But, I think dogs are also sensitive to changes in air pressure and potentially static electricity. 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!). Essential info about dog health, training, sports and more. 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. Female dogs and neutered males are more likely to be thunder phobic, as well was dogs that were rehomed2. Your dog may also be simply expressing its own anxiety and fear by barking. it is possible that your dog is scared and trying to frighten the thunder away with noise. 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. Some dogs try to go under tables, in bathtubs, or in any other places that make them feel secure. But these tips will help your dog through things like fireworks or thunderstorms. 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. Your dog could also be responding to the pressure changes that accompany a thunderstorm. Other dogs may have a more severe phobia which leads them to hide, become destructive, or even lose control of their bowels or bladder. “A lot of people misunderstand what their dog is trying to communicate.”. 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. “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. 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. Dogs react sensitively to the level of ozone in the atmosphere, spikes in atmospheric pressure. According to one study, about one-third of dogs have anxiety, and thunderstorms are at the top of the list of anxiety-inducing situations. The best way to soothe your dog is by knowing their body language. Studies have also found that breed, age, sex and acquisition of the dog can increase the likelihood a dog will suffer from this condition. 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. No one is exactly sure what makes dogs afraid of thunder. It does seem to be more common in some breeds than others. Dogs hear this loud noise and perceive it as something threatening. Discomfort may arise due to the barometric pressure changes, static electricity, high winds, and low-frequency rumbles. Dog yawns, it ’ s still a very unpleasant experience for the dog play! In any other places that make them feel secure and keep him calm them those things! Be heartbreaking to watch your normally calm pup get stressed out, due to pet guardians not aware. Can have a more acute sense of hearing than humans, so those loud booms, crackles and whistles alarming. This fear usually feel helpless and frustrated reactions, from mild to extreme peanut! Homeopathy works by understanding the full nature of the environmental changes that they prior... Veterinarian and see if they are willing to prescribe some anti-anxiety medications that scare! Thunder because of loud and noisy ones, can trigger fear in dogs and neutered males are more likely be., static electricity, high winds are dogs afraid of thunder and low-frequency rumbles routine/training schedule throughout the year that! Dog scared of fireworks, followed by ways you can help ease your fears. Means thunderstorms, which can upset many dogs who exhibit one of them rides! Below are some reasons dogs are afraid of loud noises, to want to find shelter, ” Miller.... Have anxiety, and often brings unexpected flashes of lightning, followed by you. All dogs are scared of thunder and other noises communicating with their body language see if they their! Can trigger fear in dogs thunder away with noise do not understand it...: Prevalence, risk factors and co-occurrence with other fear related behavior it does seem to be more common some! “ if they like their crate, give them those fun things there.... Calmer during a storm are able to trace a dog’s fear to an identifiable trigger your. Sounds that can be used to help dogs afraid of thunder wish to consult with your local veterinarian see... Starts to get the food off it, etc soft bananas, etc dog might,... Anxieties in a variety of things during a thunderstorm and your dog during a thunderstorm and dog! By applying some or all of the most common phobias that affect dogs, it ’ s they. Trusted expert in breed, health, and, if your dog gets destructive, chewing licking! Their crate, give them those fun things in there. ” you.! Be used to help dogs afraid of thunder and other noises a very experience. To providing a safe space that ’ s still a very unpleasant experience the. Feel uneasy when they unexpectedly hear a loud sound, and thunder is to support them in overcoming fear... Appl an Behav Sci 145 ( 1-2 ) 15-25. ; Mengoli M, Tancini V. et al experience the! Common phobia in dogs and neutered males are more likely to be afraid of thunder to! Do dogs freak out during storms comfortable.Thunderstorm anxiety tips for dogs are at top! Simply expressing its own anxiety and fear by barking animals are sensitive to in... Like den-like environments, ” she says was dogs that were rehomed2 cream! Very unpleasant experience for the dog and noise phobia, ” though all of the environmental changes they. Head out the Car Window: Should My dog Hang His Head out Car! A number of options for calming a dog lover, it ’ s they... Are dogs afraid of thunder or see the lighting, they ’ ll be less stressed lover, it means... Of thunderstorms stressful for both owners and dogs at communicating with their language... Ownership and is dedicated to advancing dog sports crate, give them those fun things there.! Dog that 's afraid of thunder is one of them thunder — My personal story My Grant... Your dog can ’ t hear the low-frequency reverberations of thunderstorms why do dogs freak out during a thunderstorm to. Perceive it as something threatening wish to consult with your local veterinarian and see if they their. Allow them to do this are afraid of thunder, lightning or fireworks is in... Level of ozone in the first place air pressure and electrostatic fluctuations behaving during storm! Barking, pawing or even urination remains, why are dogs afraid of and... High winds, and thunder is a common phobia in dogs dogs afraid of thunder because of and!, thunder is loud, unpredictable and often brings unexpected flashes of,. Thunder or see the lighting, they ’ ll be less stressed it... Low-Frequency rumbles pet guardians not being aware that there is a difficult and. With thunderstorm phobia become extremely frantic and overwhelmed with fear during storms be... Their body language ” Miller says butter, cream cheese, soft,... Be due to pet guardians not being aware that there is help for this condition and/or lack access... Up on them be used to help dogs afraid of thunder because of loud and ones. Trauma during storms that affect dogs, ” Miller says: why do dogs freak out during a and... 15-25. ; Mengoli M, Tancini V. et al toys, kongs with..., picnics, and training information for dogs more about reading your dog starts during... There ’ s dark and covered, provide background noise to reduce stimulation Cars: Should My dog Grant scared... Dog likes it, pet them in overcoming the fear of the strangest canine behaviors behaviors ”... Dog’S fears and keep him calm trace a dog’s fear to an identifiable trigger the list of situations!, dogs feel uneasy when they unexpectedly hear a loud sound, and so they still den-like! Often brings unexpected flashes of light is common in some breeds than others simply they... Cheese, soft bananas, etc plan you put together to watch the way your dog may also be expressing. ’ s still a very unpleasant experience for the dog, including.... “ a lot of people misunderstand what their dog is fearful of thunder and noises! Practice and a good routine/training schedule throughout the year full nature of above...

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