How to Help a Dog that's Afraid of Storms

How to Help a Dog that's Afraid of Storms

Last update: 11 January, 2019

If your four-legged friend is afraid of lightning, thunder and other sounds that come from bad weather, then this article is for you. Continue reading to learn how to help dogs that are afraid of storms.

A common problem for dogs

It is estimated that up to one in three dogs have this problem. An animal that is frightened by a storm can react in different ways:

  • Hiding.
  • Crying, whining or barking.
  • Shaking.
  • Putting their tail between their legs.
  • Scratching the furniture, doors or walls.
  • Urinating in the house.

Although the reasons why dogs react this way to thunder and stormy weather are not fully verified. Supposedly their strong sense of hearing has a lot to do with the problem.

Certain insecurities that the animal suffers due to insufficient socialization or trauma that they may have suffered can also contribute. In any case, it’s important that you try to solve this puppy problem, because it usually continues to getting worse as the animal ages.

dog afraid of storms

Learn how to help your dog get over their fear of storms. We at My Animals will tell you the steps to follow so that your dog can stop being scared when there is bad weather.

What you must do

In dogs, the fear of storms is the same as some feel when there are fireworks. In either case, it’s important that:

  • Give them a safe place with treats and toys. Perhaps they will choose it themselves and most likely they will hide under your bed or another piece of furniture, their kennel, etc.
  • Don’t punish them. The only thing you get from punishing your dog is getting them excited and they assimilate the storm with scolding.
  • Don’t pamper or pet them too much because they might get used of getting pampered and get the impression that they’re behaving well.

More tips to follow

Other actions that you must take when your pet is bothered by bad weather are:

  • Close the windows to reduce the sound levels that may be disturbing.
  • It’s also recommended that you lower the volume of the television or radio. However, you can play some soft and relaxing music.
  • Stay calm. If your dog senses that you’re nervous, they will be even more anxious.
  • Try playing with them as a distraction. 

You can also use pheromones to reduce their stress. In any case, the important thing is that you’re with them, appear calm and try different ways to get rid of their fear so they can focus on other things.

dog that is afraid of storms

Resolving the fear of storms in dogs

Beyond the specific actions that you can do for a dog that gets scared when a storm starts, it’s important that you try to reverse the situation. Don’t hesitate to consult your veterinarian or an animal behavior specialist.

The way to achieve this is to progressively desensitize your dog to the thunder or other noises or situations that scare them. Eventually, they will get used it and think of it as something normal, so be patient and follow these tips:

  • Reproduce the noise that bothers them by playing a recording at very low volume.
  • At the same time, try to distract your pet with different games.
  • Turn up the volume little by little until the animal stops being frightened by these sounds.

Even though you will not get the dog to reverse their problem immediately —  if you persist in your actions — you will see that little by little the dog will get rid of them.