Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.
Most dogs develop a fear of thunder mostly because of the noise (1). In the area where I live, it rains almost daily, but thunderstorms are very rare. Even here, however, dogs are able to sense the changes in barometric pressure and run to the bathroom or hide under the table long before the noise starts.
There is still controversy on whether the static charges in the air during a lightning storm are part of the problem too, and since lightning is followed by thunder it is difficult to figure out which is the cause.
What to Do If Your Dog Is Afraid of Thunder
Dogs are usually okay as long as they can get to a safe and dark place during the storm. If your dog is an exception, however, it sometimes helps to provide a little soothing music to cover up the booms. (You can purchase all sorts of soothing sounds for dogs or download soft classical music.)
If that does not work, just plop down next to his hiding spot and try sitting with your dog until the storm is over.
- Franzini de Souza, C. C., Dias, D., de Souza, R. N., & de Medeiros, M. A. (2018). Use of behavioural and physiological responses for scoring sound sensitivity in dogs. PloS one, 13(8), e0200618. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0200618 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6070191/
This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2022 Mark dos Anjos DVM