soothed dog, what to do with dog being afraid of thunder?

Soothing Thunder Remedies: A Guide for Anxious Dogs

When you’re a dog lover, it can be tough to watch your normally calm pup get stressed out during events like a thunderstorm. 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. So why are dogs scared of thunder?

Dog scare reason

Dogs, like humans, can experience anxiety when faced with thunderstorms. The loud noises, flashes of lightning, and air pressure changes can trigger a dog's fear and distress, causing fearful behavior. If you have an anxious dog who trembles, hides, or exhibits other signs of these feelings during thunderstorms, it's important to provide them with comfort and support. As summer brings with it more thunderstorms, and your dog sprints to hide under your bed the second they hear a rumble of thunder in the distance, you're going to want to read this.

In this blog post, we'll explore various thunder remedies for dogs afraid of thunder, especially now that it is storm season, and provide information to help you alleviate your dog's anxiety during thunderstorms.

Understanding A Dog's Storm Anxiety

understanding the Dog fear

Before diving into remedies, let's understand what causes thunderstorm anxiety in dogs. Dogs fear storms and may develop this due to a combination of loud noises, unpredictable flashes of lightning, changes in atmospheric pressure, and even electromagnetic disturbances. Signs of anxiety can range from restlessness, trembling, and excessive panting to destructive behavior, hiding, and attempting to escape. Recognizing these signs is crucial to implementing effective remedies.

Even though loud sounds are a big reason for this fear, it’s only part of the equation. “Thunderstorms can be a trigger for dogs with noise phobia,” says Kelly Ryan, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at the Humane Society of Missouri’s Animal Medical Center of Mid-America. “It is an irrational, intense fear of a noise or sound that poses no real threat. If your dog has a noise phobias, you will probably see it with other loud noises, such as fireworks.” 

Also Read - The Dangers of Dogs Swimming and Drinking Pool Water

How To Ease Your Dog’s Anxieties in a Thunderstorm

 Dog’s Anxieties

In addition to keeping our own anxiety in check, it could be helpful to gently lead your dog to the bathroom and into the bathtub, as this is one place they might like to be during a storm. The porcelain may actually help block static electricity. At the same time, try not to give them too much positive reinforcement for their freak-out. Although it’s a natural human response to pet your best friend and tell them it’s going to be okay, your pup may perceive that you’re telling them their freaking out is something you’d like to see them do again.

Here are some other things you can try:

  1. Create a Safe Space

Creating a secure and comfortable space for your dog during thunderstorms can work wonders. Choose a quiet room or a familiar spot where your dog feels safe. Ideally, this area should be insulated from external noises and have few windows. Consider adding some of your dog's favorite bedding, toys, and an item with your scent to provide a sense of security.

  1. Use Calming Products

Several products on the market can help alleviate many dogs feeling anxious during thunderstorms. Calming vests or wraps, such as Thundershirts, apply gentle pressure to your dog's body, mimicking the sensation of being hugged. This can provide a soothing effect. Additionally, pheromone diffusers or sprays like Adaptil (formerly known as D.A.P.) release natural calming pheromones that can help ease your dog's anxiety.

  1. Distract with Background Noise

During thunderstorms, the rumbling sounds of thunder and loud noise of the storm can exacerbate your dog's anxiety. Providing background noise, such as soothing music, white noise machines, or even a television, can help drown out the thunderous sounds and create a more calming environment for your dog. Classical music or specially composed canine relaxation tracks are often recommended for their soothing effects.

  1. Behavior Modification Techniques

Training your dog to associate storms with positive experiences can gradually reduce anxiety over time. Counter-conditioning involves exposing your dog to recorded thunderstorm sounds at low volumes and gradually increasing the volume while providing a treat, toys, or praise.

This technique helps create a positive association with the sounds of thunder and reduces fear. Providing your dog's favorite treats when the storm starts may be an effective treatment to help ease anxiety and gradually increase trust in you when they are afraid.

  1. Consult with a Veterinarian

For severe cases of thunderstorm anxiety, consulting with a veterinarian is recommended. They may prescribe anti-anxiety medications or sedatives to help your dog cope during thunderstorms. A professional can assess your dog's individual needs and develop a tailored treatment plan to address their anxiety.

  1. Natural Remedies

Some pet owners prefer natural remedies to calm anxious dogs. Herbal supplements like chamomile, lavender, or valerian root may have a calming effect. However, it's crucial to consult with your veterinarian before using any natural remedies, as some may interact with medications or have adverse effects on certain dogs.

Socialize Your Dog
  1. Socialize Your Dog

If you have a new puppy, try to expose them to as many new things as possible early on. One way to reduce the chances of a dog developing anxiety is by socializing a dog at a young age. This means exposing a young dog to all different stimuli — new places, smells, people and noises.

If your dog isn’t used to experiencing new things, they may be more likely to get scared when they hear a new sound, like thunder and develop storm phobia or thunder phobia. So let your dog get as many new experiences as possible when they are a puppy so that they stay calm and new sights, sounds and smells won’t send them running later on.

 Also Read - Understanding the Differences Between Service Dogs, Emotional Support Dogs, and Therapy Dogs

Here are the other factors that may be causing your pooch to freak out:

Static electricity:

During a thunderstorm, static electricity in the clouds builds up, eventually bursting into lightning. Dogs can sense this static electricity, even from inside our homes, and often even before the storm reaches our own neighborhood. Specialists now understand that static is felt by dogs through their fur, generating an unpleasant tingling sensation. For this reason, pets feel agitated and seek a spot they hope might isolate them from the static charges.

Barometric pressure changes:

Dogs with thunderstorm phobias can often sense a drop in barometric pressure that accompanies these storms and the dark clouds that come with them. Changes in air pressure can affect your nasal and sinus cavities, as they are air channels, alerting a dog to an oncoming storm. Remember, your dog has a sensitive nose.

Change in ions:

During a thunderstorm, the ions in the atmosphere change. A dog may experience increased vigilance as external signals travel through their nervous system more quickly. These signals include the sounds of rain and thunder, and flashing lights, and this explains why your dog goes in search of a way to ground themselves.

Change in our behavior:

friendly with dog

Dogs are sensitive to their people’s reactions to the environment. If you’re running around the house to close windows, complaining when the power goes out, etc., your dog is going to feel that something is wrong and that he needs to be on alert.

Canines pick up chemical and physiological cues from people that allow our moods to become contagious.


According to a study, dogs—just like humans—can have noise sensitivities passed down to them through genetics. Your dog can have hereditary reactions to certain frequencies, intensities or types of sound, associated with strong feelings of dislike, fear or even aggression.

Different dog breeds can have different levels of anxiety during storms, and the breeds who seemed the most anxious were working and sporting breeds, such as German Shepherds and Collies, which would make sense considering that they were bred to take care of other animals, which includes shepherding them out of nasty weather.

Dog care

Final Thoughts

Thunderstorm anxiety can be distressing for both a dog and their owner. By understanding the causes and recognizing the signs of anxiety, you can implement effective remedies to alleviate your dog's distress during thunderstorms. Remember to create a safe space, utilize calming products, provide background noise, and consider behavior modification techniques.

If necessary, consult with a veterinarian to explore further options. With patience, love, and the right strategies, you can help your anxious dog weather the storm with greater ease and comfort.

Seeing your pup scared or anxious is sad, but with these tips and some time and patience, you can help them feel safe (and even a little brave) next time there’s a thunderstorm. Just remember, Your dog does not choose to be scared of thunderstorms, and you need to understand that this fear is not a failure in your dog, but something that doesn’t make sense to them. You also have fears yourself!