Help! My Dog Is Scared of Thunderstorms!

Ah yes… thunderstorms. If ever there was a common fear among so many dogs, it is the dreaded crack of thunder rumbling through our homes during a storm.

Help! My Dog Is Scared of Thunderstorms!

Where I’m from, since the warm weather hit, we have had storm after storm after storm. Luckily, my huskies don’t seem to mind them. My human kids on the other hand… but what about the dogs that literally shake and hide with fear during a storm? In my dog groups on FB I have seen so many pleas from people – help, my dog is scared of thunderstorms! So today, I thought we could go over some ways to comfort your dog if they have the oh so common fear of thunder.

  • The very first thing everyone needs to do, is be prepared! Keep track of your local weather if you know you have a fearful dog.
  • This one’s a tough one… they say the worst possible thing you can do for your dog when they are acting fearful of storms is to try and comfort them. Meaning, don’t attempt to coddle them. This can be rewarding for the dog and just about encourage the behavior. As a dog owner however, I would find it hard to ignore the fact that my dog is terrified. So my recommendation here would be, instead of trying to console your pooch an excessive amount, try taking his mind off of the storm. Play your dog’s favorite game, and keep his attention on you rather than the storm. If he’s not into any games at this point, put a movie on, and have him lay down with you and comfort him just by being there and giving him some extra pets :)
  • The all too famous Thundershirt. You’ve all heard of it, many people swear by them. But do they work, and what exactly is the point of them? How could clothing possibly help a scared dog? So, the Thundershirt is meant to basically be a big hug for your dog. Putting a comfortable amount of pressure on certain parts of his body in order to calm him. Does it work? For some dogs, yes. Not for all. I have heard amazing success stories from many people, yet others say it made no difference at all. My opinion – depends on the dog, and how bad their fear actually is. Basically, it’s a shot in the dark when you purchase one.
  • If you have a dog who is scared of storms, you will have likely noticed there seems to be a spot in the house they go to when it storms. Commonly in the bathroom, or another secluded room. Don’t deny that of your dog. Allow them to have access to their “safe zone” when a storm hits.
  • Consider an all natural calming agent. There are plenty on the market, just be sure you get something natural that in no way could harm your dog.
  • If there is a room in your house which you know would be the quietest, go in there put a radio or tv on for background noise, and chill there with your pup until the storm passes.

Hopefully, some of these ideas can help someone out there. I know it’s not easy to have a fearful dog. Like I mentioned above, your first and most important thing – is to be prepared for when a storm hits.

Feel fee to leave some tips in the comments, or share your own stories of fearful dogs!

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jenna drady headshotJenna Drady

Jenna Drady is the author and creator of ownedbyahusky.ca. She is a mother of two beautiful daughters and 3 Siberian Huskies. Being a husky mom for a long duration of her life, Jenna was inspired to begin writing about them. In doing so, she began doing massive research on dog behavior, and all things dog in general. Jenna is inspired everyday by her family, and loves to bring her readers valuable information as well as a little humor too! Jenna has created her own business partnered with her lovely mother while blogging called Pawz N Clawz Jewelry N Things. They currently sell handmade jewelry with added pet charms, as well as a few dog toys too! As an animal rights activist, and huge believer in helping pets who have been stuck in shelters, they donate a portion of their sales to local shelters throughout Canada.


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40 Responses to Help! My Dog Is Scared of Thunderstorms!

  1. Love this! If we didn’t have melatonin, a Thundershirt, and a shower to hide in, Rocky (our brave 90# Great Pyrenees) would be lost. LOL

  2. Great post–and great minds think alike! LOL! At least with fireworks fears, we can predict and better control the noise. With thunderstorms, sometimes it’s the change in barometric pressure that also sets them off. I’m fortunate my dog isn’t fearful (we threw “thunder parties” when he was a baby so he got rewarded for the noise…). Great tips for those needing help.

  3. My cats are pretty good overall with thunderstorms. As long as I am okay and the kids aren’t going wild, the cats just continue on their lavish lifestyle ..hehe

  4. Kamira Gayle says:

    I never had a dog however I did see a commercial for the Thundershirt. Now after reading your blog I see exactly how it works. Thanks for sharing these easy tips to help comfort dogs during a thunderstorms.

  5. We don’t really have thunderstorms here very often. He seems to do better with them than fireworks though. I’m not sure why.

  6. My dogs are crate trained for a reason. Last week we had a tornado in the area and I took their crates to a safe place and put the dogs in it. They were relaxed, safe, and crisis averted. It breaks my heart to see these animals with such fear. It takes a lot of work but they can be helped.

  7. Nice tips. Thunder phobia can be devastating for a pet parent and the pet. Hopefully, folks dealing with thunderstorm issues will seek the help of a professional off-season to make next spring much easier.

  8. Amy says:

    Thunder makes us all jump but hail is the worst. I try to play music and keep dog toys near me.

  9. My niece’s dog is so afraid of thunderstorms and it’s so sad. I’m going to buy him some calming treats and see if they work.

  10. Ruth Epstein says:

    Great post and although we seldom have thunder here in SF I do make sure when it is raining hard that Layla sleeps in a tightly fitting t-shirt which relaxes her big time. I also keep a bed in the shower for emergencies as she likes to go hide there plus thank goodness for Dr. Bach Rescue Remedy which I put in her food and calms her down.

    Any odd sound lately is starting to frighten her but the vet says that comes with age, so the above is best solution and working at the moment for us

  11. Denise says:

    I’m lucky we haven’t had trouble with fireworks or thunderstorms either but I love that you’ve taken the time to write such great tips for our fur friends who are! Thank you!

  12. My mom’s dog is fearful of thunderstorms and fireworks. They use a thundershirt on him and he likes to go in the back bedroom with my dad.

  13. Denise says:

    We are lucky too as we haven’t had trouble with fear of thunderstorms or fireworks. The information you’ve provided is invaluable for our furry friends who are not so lucky.

  14. Robin says:

    My kitties are fearful of thunderstorms too! They react differently to fear than dogs do. Cats don’t lash out as much or get really dramatic – they just hide. I find that the most calming thing I can do for them is to be there and let them “hide” next to me.

  15. Kia says:

    These are all great tips! Simba doesn’t really mind noises like that. He’s a pretty chill dog thankfully. He doesn’t seem to get riled up unless someone else does LOL.

  16. My dog April’s safe place seems to be laying by me. I allow her to lay by me, but don’t coddle/baby talk her. Seems to work for her. Regarding the Thundershirt, I agree, it depends on the dog. I think it also depends on timing. If the dog is wearing it before the noise starts, I think it tends to be more effective vs. putting it on once the noise starts and the dog is in the throes of his fear cycle.

  17. Shayla says:

    When I met my hubby, he had a childhood dog that was so afraid of thunder storms, he would hide hours to a day ahead of a storm and no one would see him until it was over. He often hid behind the couch, and every so often, you’d feel the cushions shake! I wish this was all more widely known all those years ago! He could have totally benefitted from these tips!

  18. Cathy Armato says:

    My Husky is terrified of thunderstorms & fireworks! We let her go to her safe place which is a walk-in closet.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  19. Kilo woke up the other night in his crate, scared of a particularly wild noisy storm and cried. I got him and he slept between us and was fine. In his case, comforting him and making him feel safe worked. I was worried that he might refuse to sleep in his crate or try crying in the night again but he still takes himself to bed most nights and loves his peace and space.

  20. Beth says:

    These are great suggestions to help dogs who are afraid of thunder.
    Luckily my pets don’t mind loud noises. We have a fair amount of thunderstorms and fireworks every summer, but none of our animals seem to mind either. (Of course, we keep them safely inside during both.)

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