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My Dog is Scared of Thunder

Reviewed by Robert M. DuFort, DVM, DACVIM on Monday, May 16, 2016
Posted May 25, 2016 in Dog Behavior

Dog hiding under blankets is scared of thunder

Thunderstorm anxiety is a difficult, and often frightening, problem for dog parents to handle. A dog afraid of thunder can have a variety of reactions, from mild to extreme. Dogs may pant, whine, bark, hide, tremble, pace, spin, scratch and/or paw at windows and doors, and may become extremely destructive and panicked to the point of hurting themselves. I remember my own sense of horror when we were driving cross country from Los Angeles to Pennsylvania and my shepherd mix became extremely anxious during a thunderstorm in Arizona, to the point where my husband and I had to take turns staying in the car with him at night because we couldn’t keep him in the hotel due to his terrified barking. We never realized he, at six years of age, was thunder-phobic since he lived all his life in an area where there really are no storms. So, I can deeply sympathize with the trauma that other dog guardians can feel when they find their dog suffers from thunderstorm phobia.

Dogs that suffer from thunderstorm phobia are often also sensitive to other loud noises such as fireworks and gun shots1.  Studies have also found that breed, age, sex and acquisition of the dog can increase the likelihood a dog will suffer from this condition. Female dogs and neutered males are more likely to be thunder phobic, as well was dogs that were rehomed2.  

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Mychelle has more than 13 years of experience in the pet health industry and is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant as well as a valued member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team since 2014.

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