HOW TO: Help Your Pup Through a Summer Storm
Updated: Jan 12
If there is anything my dog hates more than cats, it’s thunderstorms. How many times have you watched your pupper struggle to hide from the loud and terrifying noises of a brutal storm? Or, maybe you've heard stories about how your best friend's* golden retriever took shelter in a bathtub for three hours?
*it's me, it's my golden retriever.
There is actually a lot of science behind why your pup may be so terrified of all that lightning and thunder. Here are a few of those reasons along with some tips to help keep your dog as calm as possible during these "ruff" times.
Storm Phobia for Dogs
A dog experiencing Storm Phobia can be a shift that happens overnight, and is not necessarily related to your pet being afraid of other loud noises. Studies suggest that while there may be a genetic tie to certain breeds, specifically herding dogs, there is a potential for any dog to experience this intense fear. So what exactly causes all the whining, hiding, and every symptom in between?
1. Pre-Existing Conditions
Dogs who already have separation anxiety are more inclined to replicate that same kind of panic-y behavior during a storm. Additionally, while being afraid of loud noises in general isn't a necessity for a dog to have Storm Phobia, it can definitely play a role.
Many pups, but especially those who have thick or long coats, conduct an intense amount of static electricity during storms. This can lead to the dogs experiencing the same kinds of electric shock we experience when we forget to add a dryer sheet to the laundry; leaving them pretty spooked and anxious.
3. Changes in Barometric Pressure
Dogs are extremely sensitive to changes in barometric pressure, which is why they may start acting unusual before a storm even begins. A rapid drop in barometric pressure affects a dog's senses in numerous ways; including their sense of smell.
So What Can I Actually Do?
There are a few good ways to help your doggo out in it's time of need.
First, if your pup is experiencing scary-intense symptoms of Storm Phobia (like aggression or self-inflicted injuries) seek out advice from a trusted veterinarian. Anti-anxiety medication for dogs can be very beneficial for a frightened furry friend, but it is important to always discuss the best options available with their doc.
More short-term solutions include things like buying your dog a special outfit for when they start to panic. From form fitted t-shirts to legitimate "thunder vests", the slight compression can provide a known calming effect for anxious dogs.
Getting your dog set up for the storm by arranging their favorite toys, treats, blankets, and bed in a place where they often turn to safety will help to make the stormy weather a lot more tolerable. Using music or television to distract from the noise can also help.
Most importantly, being there for your pup (if possible) is the best thing you can do. The feeling of isolation can often lead to your dog feeling much more afraid than necessary.
At the end of the day, always pay attention to your dog and it's needs. Storms can be overwhelming for everyone but Tri State Restorations, LLC.® is always here to Turn Disaster into Peace of Mind® for both you AND your furry friends :)
Tri State Restorations, LLC.® is always standing by to assist you with your flood-related emergencies. We are staffed 24 hours a day with IICRC-certified water remediation technicians who are qualified to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have about flooding emergencies in your property. Call us today – 866-818-1949. We are proudly certified by the IICRC, the Indoor Air Quality Association, and the EPA.
Khuly, P., Dr. (n.d.). Thunderstorm Phobia. Retrieved July 31, 2019, from
Langley, L. (2018, April 28). Why Your Dog Freaks Out During Thunderstorms-And What to Do. Retrieved July 31, 2019, from https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/04/animals-pets-summer-storms-weather/
PetMD. (2019, July 17). PetMD. Retrieved July 31, 2019, from https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/behavioral/c_dg_thunderstorm_phobias
Sashin, D. (n.d.). How to Help Dogs That FearThunder (Storm Phobia). Retrieved July 31, 2019, from https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/features/dog-storm-phobia#1
Wag! (2018, February 28). Can Dogs Feels Barometric Pressure? - Wag! Retrieved July 31, 2019, from https://wagwalking.com/sense/can-dogs-feels-barometric-pressure