From the WebMD Archives

It can be heartbreaking to watch: Even before the first clap of thunder, otherwise well-behaved dogs begin to pace, pant, cling to their owners, hide in the closet, or jam themselves behind the toilet. In severe cases, they’ll claw through drywall, chew carpets, or break through windows in their escalating panic.

Thunderstorm phobia in dogs is real, not uncommon, and shouldn’t be ignored, experts say.

“Most of the time they don’t grow out of it on their own, and many will get worse with time if nothing is done,” says Matt Peuser, DVM, a veterinarian at Olathe Animal Hospital in Kansas.

Why does storm phobia happen, and what can you do if your dog suffers from it?

Storm Phobia Triggers

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 electricity, and low-frequency rumbles preceding a storm that humans can’t hear. According to one theory, dogs experience painful shocks from static buildup before the storm.

4 Quick Tips for Calming a Dog During Thunderstorms
  1. Don’t excessively coddle and comfort and over soothe your pet . Seriously. …
  2. Use a quiet spot in your home as a shelter of sorts. …
  3. Turn off the TV or radio — well, any loud noise. …
  4. Sounds ridiculous, but simply try to distract him.
  5. How does a ThunderShirt work for a dog?
    These snug-fitting shirts target various pressure points, creating a sensation similar to swaddling a baby. Veterinarians and dog trainers frequently recommend this drug-free option for dogs that suffer from separation anxiety, fear of loud noises (thus the name “Thundershirt”) and travel anxiety.

    lightning strike on city
    Photo by Philippe Donn on Pexels.com

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