The way to achieve this is to progressively desensitize your dog to the thunder or other noises or situations that scare them. A fear of fireworks is also common in dogs that are afraid of thunder. These possibilities include canine noise aversion, separation anxiety, and — the real shocker — static electricity. This is often not an easy fix, though. A 24/7 emergency veterinary hospital in Castle Rock, CO. Come spring, many dog parents find themselves asking: why are dogs afraid of thunderstorms? Consider distracting your dog from the remainder of the storm by practicing basic commands or playing a game of tug-of-war. Fear of Thunderstorms: Further Reading Recommendations Dodman, Dr. Nicholas. Dogs also detect changes in barometric pressure. The extremely loud noise can be perceived as a threat, which can in turn manifest as anxiety. This sort of training requires controlled exposure to what’s causing the fear in a way that your dog does not respond in a negative way. In most cases, prescription medication is very successful in conjunction with desensitization or conditioning. Clinical studies have been executed with regards to the effects of wearing such jackets, including the Anxiety Wrap. It is one of the most common fears that affect dogs. 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. Some dogs will need to be on longer-term medications that are given daily to keep anxiety under control. Noise sensitivity is quite often a symptom of rabies vaccinosis (see May issue of Dogs Naturally for how the Rabies vaccine can affect your dog’s behavior). They can cause some dogs to pant, pace, whine, tremble, hide, or become clingy. Many dogs have different types of noise phobias, from fireworks and gunfire to thunderstorms. It is not uncommon for dogs with thunderstorm phobia to urinate and/or defecate inappropriately. Nonetheless, setting aside everything you’re doing and focusing on training your dog when a thunderstorm is approaching can make a huge difference over time. Because you are a comfort to your pet (as they are a comfort to you) your presence during troubling times, such as thunderstorms, can be especially important. Your dog is probably the best weather forecaster you can find. Giving them CBD may be the answer. They can often be triggered by something innocuous, e.g. Many dogs have noise sensitivities, and storms aren’t the only triggers. But then some have a sudden exacerbation of their fear a few years later for no apparent reason. Learn how to manage your dog's fear during this frightening storm… The goal of managing storm fear behaviorally is to change the dog’s emotional state from frightened and distressed to neutral or even content. 1 “Thunderstorm phobia in dogs: an Internet survey of 69 cases”. Dogs with thunderstorm phobia become extremely frantic and overwhelmed with fear during storms. While counter-conditioning could be the fix, desensitization is also an option. It’s painful to watch your furry friend suffering from thunder phobia. If left unaddressed, a dog’s fear of storms can lead to other worrisome behaviors, such as scratching, digging, destroying furniture, or having accidents in the house. In fact, your dog might even start associating that fear with other, parallel noises — such as the sound of rain. Many dogs have different types of noise phobias, from fireworks and gunfire to thunderstorms. The storm phobic one & the indifferent one are the same age, and have exactly the same exposure to noises etc. Giving them CBD may be the answer. Though limited, there are a few options for addressing fear of thunderstorms behaviorally. Distract Your Dog. The Anxiety Wrap is designed to use acupressure and gentle, constant, maintained pressure to relieve stress and anxiety. There are some dogs who have an extreme fear of storms. If your dog’s worst nightmare comes true, and he or she is actually struck by lightning, bring them to an emergency vet immediately — even if they are miraculously standing afterward.Have other questions around a specific dog or cat issue? However, by taking into account the possible causes from canine noise aversion to static electricity, it’s possible to do what you need to protect your furry friend and lessen his or her anxiety about the oncoming storm. Buspirone is typically prescribed to help dogs who … Whatever you give your dog, make it something that will grab its attention and allow it to focus its nervous energy. Shockingly, the answer isn’t as straightforward as you might assume. Dr. Smith is part of The Spruce Pets' veterinary review board. Because these areas are grounded, there is less of a threat of static electricity zapping your poor pup. Give your dog a "sacrifice" item during the storm. Changes in barometric pressure and humidity can affect your dog's senses and possibly even cause discomfort in the ears. Fear and thunderstorms – I used to own dogs who weren’t affected by them at all and others, that disappeared into a dark corner or under a table to be not seen again until the storm had passed. Rain on the roof of the house, bright flashes of light or even the drop in air pressure before a storm may be enough to trigger an anxious response. Probably, evolutionary history primes organisms to learn to fear things that can harm them. Stop your dog from being frightened during a storm with these 5 steps. A fear becomes a phobia when it is out of proportion to the danger of actual threat. A dog who suffers from a fear of thunderstorms may begin to display anxious behavior long before the thunder begins. A phobia is an exaggerated or irrational fear of something that causes a reaction in an individual—physically or emotionally. Fireworks, loud music, construction sounds, and anything else above a normal volume can put them on edge. Luckily there are ways to keep your scared dog relaxed. Testosterone is considered to be a confidence boosting hormone for male dogs. Owners who see their dogs experiencing this fear usually feel helpless and frustrated. There are several options available to the pet parent to help ease their dog’s anxiety. For example, dogs are very sensitive to the emotions of their people. L-Theanine Calms Dogs During Thunderstorms. Fear of thunderstorms is common because of the noise of the thunder along with the pounding of rain on the roof. Owners who see their dogs experiencing this fear usually feel helpless and frustrated. Dogs: Fear of Storms and Fireworks Many dogs are terrified of thunderstorms and fireworks. It's also the static electricity that is rolling across their coat, shocking them. 774 Maleta Lane If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. This could mean sitting and getting a treat when thunder crashes instead of scampering off somewhere to hide. You may not know what happened, but it is possible that something very stressful or frightening occurred in your dog's past during a thunderstorm. But that doesn't mean you have to sit back and watch them struggle on their own. Dogs develop fear responses for a number of reasons. The reality is that thunderstorms literally charge the air with electricity, making it easier for static buildup to occur in the coat of your furry friend. A noise phobia can be the primary reason that your dog is afraid of storms, or it could just be one of several factors that add up to your furry friend having a phobia. Other dogs will hide, frozen with fear. Why Do Dogs Hate Thunderstorms? Find out what causes thunderstorm phobia in dogs and learn how to manag… Fear of thunderstorms and other noise sensitivities are becoming quite prevalent in dogs and the fact that it is so common is not surprising. This phobia is complicated and sometimes difficult to manage because it involves physiologic, emotional and behavioral components. Resolving the fear of storms in dogs. Dogs who are extremely afraid of storms can sense the storm coming and even before the first sound of thunder begin to panic. Many dogs go missing during storms or fireworks. It can be quite disturbing to see your dog in such obvious discomfort and feel powerless to help. But to treat the problem, you must first understand the causes of dog anxiety. This is why the severity of the signs of your dog’s fear and anxiety about a storm will often increase throughout the summer and year over year. Finally, genetic make-up may be a contributing factor to fear of thunderstorms, or even the sole cause. Too often, the fear of thunderstorms shows up as a result of a drop in barometric pressure, dark clouds, and the crash of thunder arrive on the horizon. badly stressed dog; adding to his fear of storms as he anticipates the punishment he now associates with the storms; decreasing his trust in you, and therefore the possibility that you will be able to calm him during storms. Do not wait to address the phobia until it is very severe—it will be that much harder to reverse. That said, dogs over a year old are more likely to suffer from it. By using the tips and strategies above, you can help your dog feel more at ease and teach them that their home is their safe place. You are the best person to get your dog through the storm so quiet petting will help both of you weather the storm. A crate with a soft bed inside and covered with a heavy blanket might make your dog feel safer. Your dog's fearful behavior may be subtle at first but can become worse with time, eventually becoming full-blown panic attacks that are very dangerous for your dog. WebMD explores the topic with expert Victoria Stilwell. However, if your dog shows no other signs of canine noise aversion or separation anxiety — it’s very likely the static electricity that’s making them nervous. Your dog will react to human anxiety, fear and stress—even if it is not related to the storm. Five years ago, one got more afraid of storms, the other didn’t. | All Rights Reserved. They often go through windows and doors and sustain injuries in the process. A noise phobia can be the primary reason that your dog is afraid of storms, or it could just be one of several factors that add up to your furry friend having a phobia. Find out what causes thunderstorm phobia in dogs and learn how to manage it for the sake of your dog and your own peace of mind. Kristen Collins, a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, explains, “Some dogs simply seem more sensitive and susceptible to developing a fear of noises, and this susceptibility may indicate a genetic predisposition toward the problem.”. University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. Trainers and experts might not know every reason why dogs hate thunderstorms, but Miller believes it has a lot … Dogs diagnosed with storm phobia can react with anxiety or fear to wind, rain, thunder, lightning, and other associated stimuli, including barometric pressure changes, the “smell of rain,” static electricity, and even time of day. Noise sensitivity is quite often a symptom of rabies vaccinosis (see May issue of Dogs Naturally for how the Rabies vaccine can affect your dog’s behavior). Castle Rock, CO 80108, © 2021 Veterinary Specialists of the Rockies, LLC. In fact, you might need to have an antianxiety medication prescribed to your dog by your veterinarian. Thunderstorm phobias can send dogs hiding under their beds or cowering and shaking.. Why some dogs are afraid of storms is difficult to say. There are some things you can do to prevent your dog from reacting adversely to the triggers of thunderstorms or at least minimize the reaction. Others may have full-blown panic attacks, digging at doors and windows, eliminating inside the house, or even chewing … Rain on the roof of the house, bright flashes of light or even the drop in air pressure before a storm may be enough to trigger an anxious response. Treating Fear of Storms and Fireworks in Dogs. However, based on what we do know about dogs, we can speculate. We experienced a tornado watch with lightning, thunder, and almost two inches of rain. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet. Though many dog owners shy away from these types of medications, the benefit outweighs the means. Essential Oil Safety For Dogs. If left unaddressed, a dog’s fear of storms can lead to other worrisome behaviors, such as scratching, digging, destroying furniture, or having accidents in the house. Why are dogs afraid of storms, though? Fear of thunderstorms is a common phobia in dogs. Get in touch and we’ll do our best to help you out! It can begin in puppies or develop later in adult dogs. Dr. Smith is a small animal veterinarian with 11 years practicing veterinary medicine. Unfortunately, the fear of storms and other causes of loud noises can worsen with regular exposure. Dog thunderstorm anxiety is a disorder characterized by a persistent and exaggerated fear of storms, or the stimuli that are associated with storms. What causes a dog to have a fear of thunderstorms? Animal behaviorists call this reaction “storm anxiety” or “noise phobia.” And while it’s pretty common in … There are ways you can comfort your dog during thunderstorms (or other sources of fear and anxiety). The results were good: “The data suggest that the Anxiety Wrap is a safe and effective treatment for canine Thunderstorm phobia.”. Symptoms of canine storm anxiety include: Lowered ears and tail, wide eyes Pacing Panting and drooling Trembling Whining or howling Hiding Involuntary indoor urination Destructive behavior or even self-harm (i.e., clawing in an effort to escape, running away) Learn how to relieve your dog of his or her thunder related anxiety. Distract your dog from the fearful behavior. Why are dogs afraid of storms. Next, examine your own behavior and that of other people in the home. Behavior, Pet Services . Though vets aren’t sure what all the triggers are, they do suspect that a full-blown storm phobia is caused by some combination of barometric pressure changes, static electricity, wind, thunder, lightning, and low-frequency rumbles that come ahead of a storm. While I am always pleased when rain falls on the ranch, Buddy, our senior Border collie, doesn’t see it quite the same way. It can get to the point where they are fearful just from rain. The Root of the Behavior First of all, the basics—storms are loud. According to Kelly Ballyntyne, clinical assistant professor at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, if your dog is panicking, anti-anxiety medication “will go a long way to improve that dog’s quality of life.”. ... not many of postcards. It might not be at all apparent what creates the fear in the first place. Why? In fact, your dog might even start associating that fear with other, parallel noises — such as the sound of rain. Dog thunderstorm anxiety is a disorder characterized by a persistent and exaggerated fear of storms, or the stimuli that are associated with storms. It shouldn’t be a surprise that there is no simple answer to that question. Occasionally exposing your GSD to the sounds of thunderstorms may help to combat fear and anxiety experienced during real storms. Do your best to remain relaxed and upbeat. Fear of thunderstorms is common because of the noise of the thunder along with the pounding of rain on the roof. Animals on the ranch, Border collies, dogs, Dogs fear of storms April 2, 2017 Comments: 2. Anxiety is natural in dogs, and so is a fear of storms. She is also the founder of The Vetitud, a site for veterinary professionals. Your email address will not be published. | Privacy Policy | Sitemap. When your dog realizes that storms mean a little extra TLC, his anxiety may be less during the next storm. I always thought it was the noise and it may be part of the reasons Rodrigo hates storms. Beaumont has been petrified of storms and would hide in the house and shake and quiver for hours. Just as stress is a health risk for humans, the same applies for dogs. • It may be helpful with puppies and young dogs to try to do pleasant things with them during storms in an effort to prevent fear from developing. Fear of storm and thunder is very hard to eliminate completely, but there are ways to minimize it. But that doesn't mean you have to sit back and watch them struggle on their own. A “safe” area to escape to when a storm is coming through may be the best option for many pet parents. In addition, using Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) in the "safe place" might also help. • First, do not ignore your dog during storms. One of the ways that you can help your dog learn to not be so anxious during … Fear of thunderstorms is a particularly difficult issue to treat, since there are so many factors involved when it storms. If you own a border collie or Australian shepherd, it’s possible they — along with a few other breeds — have a genetic predisposition to develop noise phobias. Providing your dog with some type of distraction is also beneficial to dogs during … If your dog does calm down and stops reacting to the storm, respond with calm praise and rewards. If they pick up on your nervousness, thunder can be something they learn to fear. Fireworks, loud music, construction sounds, and anything else above a normal volume can put them on edge. Why Dogs Fear Storms. Required fields are marked *, Veterinary Specialists of the Rockies This is why the severity of the signs of your dog’s fear and anxiety about a storm will often increase throughout the summer and year over year. 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