Do This If Your Dog Is Scared of Thunder or Fireworks

Do This If Your Dog Is Scared of Thunder or Fireworks


Let’s set the scene: It’s a dark and stormy night. ⚡️

You’re snuggled up by your front window, watching flashes of lightning dance across the sky.

Your dog is… cowering under the coffee table?


If this sounds like a typical summer evening to you, have no fear. There are steps you can take to ease your poor pup’s thunder-induced anxiety. And if your dog is scared of fireworks, these tricks will work too!


Why Are Dogs Scared of Thunder and Fireworks

There are a few reasons loud noises from the sky could spook your dog.

The most obvious: your dog has a keen sense of hearing, and both thunder and fireworks are loud. Just like we don’t love when someone sneaks up behind us to clang cymbals near our head, sudden bangs are likely hard on your pup’s ears.

Another possible culprit behind a fear of thunder is that your dog senses the change in barometric pressure brought on by storms, and they’re not happy about it. Did you know your dog can pick up on shifts in static electric field? That’s right, your dog is like your own personal little weatherman. You know, if your weatherman only tells you storms are happening as they’re already starting.


Signs of Thunderstorm Anxiety in Dogs

Recognizing signs of fear in dogs can go a long way when It comes to helping your dog feel safe and secure. Behaviors indicating something is up include cowering, panting, pacing, and more. Notice a storm brewing? Fourth of July approaching? Here’s what to do.

Give Your Dog a Safe Place to Go 

When fear strikes, there’s nothing like hiding somewhere comforting and familiar. Panic rooms are called panic rooms for a reason!

Where does your dog feel the safest? If they’re crate trained, guide them there when dark clouds roll in. Do they have a favorite corner? Make sure it’s not blocked off.


Be There for Them

Your dog’s favorite “security blanket” is you! If you can, being home during a storm will help them feel safer.

The key to keeping your dog calm is to show them a little thunderstorm or a few firecrackers is no big deal. When your dog begins to whimper, gently comfort them and reassure them everything is going to be alright. Similarly, many dogs hate baths too, so some of the same calming techniques can be used for dogs who are stressed out from loud noises. 


Distract Your Dog

Try to take your pup’s mind off their terror with happy distractions. This is the time for pets, toys, a game of fetch, you name it.

Looking for inspiration? We’ve curated a list of our team’s dogs’ favorite ways to keep busy indoors.


Drown Out the Sound 

Sudden loud noises seem scarier among dead silence. Even out the noise level with some music or TV to avoid jump scares.


Desensitize Your Dog

When a thunderstorm begins, but the noise is not yet at its peak, place your dog in a quiet room with an interactive toy stuffed with extremely high-value treats. Whenever thunder is heard, offer treats such as hot dogs, cheese, chicken, etc. in a continuous manner until the sound subsides. Repeat this process for each instance of thunder."


Ask Your Vet

According to Aryel Lafleur, a professional force-free dog trainer, behaviour consultant and vet tech, sometimes calling your vet is the answer. "Excessive drooling, uncontrollable shaking, vocalization, destructive behavior, attempts to run away, and anorexia are all signs indicating that your dog may be experiencing a panic attack and requires professional intervention. At this stage, there are no "tricks" to resolve the issue; you must consult a veterinarian, as this behavior can escalate and become hazardous for both you and your dog. It may evolve into separation anxiety, redirected aggression, or heightened reactivity. Additionally, the dog may begin to generalize noises such as fireworks, slamming doors, construction sounds, or malfunctioning appliances like a washer that isn't functioning properly."

Should I Cuddle my Dog During a Thunderstorm?

Rather than a hug, your dog may need a different kind of distraction. Aryel says using white noise and providing delicious stuffed interactive toys can often be the most beneficial. "If the dog is crate trained and enjoys being in his crate, it can be a good idea to place him in his crate in a calm room with you, along with an interactive toy. Additionally, medication can be prescribed by your veterinarian to assist both you and your dog through this challenging period." Try using a Treat Toy that can be stuffed with their favorite snacks.

Should I Ignore my Dog Scared of Thunder?

No scared animal deserves to be ignored when they're experiencing a stressful moment. Make sure to keep a close watch on them to look out for signs that may need your attention. 

Just Roll With It...

When the thunder rolls, sometimes we just need to roll with it too and adapt to different dogs' ways of dealing with stress. Every dog is different, and there are some things you should know before adopting a new dog - like how they handle stress. Sometimes just knowing that you're there, and holding some eye contact can be the most comforting thing of all. 

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