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My Dog Is Scared of Thunder

To the Rescue: Three Tips For Thunder Terror

While I'm blessed with a pooch who doesn't even flinch at thunder, everyone is not so lucky. Just yesterday my pal FitSugar shared how scared her pooch gets during the recent storms we've had in CA. While there are many products available for purchase (such as calming tonics and collars), if a storm sneaks up, there's no time for shopping. Since I can't stand to think of a scaredy dog, check out tips to limit the stress.

  • Distraction If you're home, this is the best place to begin. Special treats and toys (like a stuffed Kong) will help distract him before the storm really starts. As noise builds, his attention may waver, but playing games to keep him occupied will likely delay the reaction.

Get two more tips when you


  • Seclusion Never ever let (or force) a dog scared of thunder to stay outside. Bring the pup indoors and as far away from the noise as possible. Some pups seek shelter from the sounds under a desk or table so make sure they have easy access to that spot they consider safe but don't restrict them there!
  • Desensitization Similar to my fireworks strategy, you can buy or download sounds of thunder to play at increasing volumes for a pup. During this time, offer a lot of praise and reward him constantly. Play a game, give him a treat, and help him not associate the sound with being scared.

Remember, your reaction is key. If you act agitated, your pet can sense it — and thus increase his distress — so stay calm for both your sakes!

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Ellenora Ellenora 7 years
Yoga--my lab wasn't scared of thunder and my Greyhound was only scared of fireworks. I think it depends on the temperament and dog. We think Zena's main problem is that she has very acute hearing and 4" ears so thunder, in her ears, probably sounds like nuclear bombs going off. She's also very much a terrier personality. lizlee89--your friend's dad gives his dogs Tylenol?! Tylenol is incredibly toxic to dogs!
tglynn tglynn 7 years
One of my cats is deathly afraid of thunder storms. He can go from relaxing, playful, kitty to wide-eyed, ears-back, scared for his life pansy cat. He runs and hides until at least 3 hours after the storm is over. The only thing I've found that helps is building him a little pillow fort to hide in, and then occasionally check on him to show him that the world hasn't yet exploded.
Fitness Fitness 7 years
Thanks! I will definitely give Bonnie a bone when the next storm flares up.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
I must be lucky because my dogs don't have a problem with thunder.
lizlee89 lizlee89 7 years
if you don't want to go with a tranquilizer or the other options mentioned don't work enough; Tylenol or Exedrin PM or any other kind of night time acetaminophen works wonders. my friend's dad is a vet and he always grinds up a Tylenol PM into their dogs' food whenever there are fireworks (Independence Day and New Years). it's perfectly safe and the dogs sleep soundly through the night with no torture from the loud noises...
Ellenora Ellenora 7 years
There's also a fourth option and that's a dog tranquilizer. We tried everything with Zena--desensitization, distraction and seclusion--but nothing worked. She gets 1/4-1/2 of an ACE now when we see the first signs of stress or if I hear the thunder first (it's normally the latter). It doesn't knock her out, but it calms her down to the point where she's not panting, pacing and shivering like she normally does.
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