They develop from fears, which might have a potential survival benefit (e.g. In this case, the child's phobia should be addressed, for it may become a serious problem in adulthood. If your dog seems anxious as you prepare to leave, is destructive while you’re gone, or absolutely thrilled when you get home, he or she may have separation anxiety. They may pace anxiously and seek their owner's company for protection. Your email address will not be published. Dogs that eventually become phobic often show fear of storms in the first year or two of life, but this fear is mild to moderate in intensity. Their fear of thunder and lightning cannot be considered a fully developed phobia unless it persists for more than six months. Finally, genetic make-up may be a contributing factor to fear of thunderstorms, or even the sole cause. There are some things you can do to prevent your dog from reacting adversely to the triggers of thunderstorms or at least minimize the reaction. That said, dogs over a year old are more likely to suffer from it. A dog's senses are very sensitive. If that’s not helping, or if you simply want to do more, buy your dog an anti-static jacket. Fear of Thunderstorms: Further Reading Recommendations Dodman, Dr. Nicholas. A fear becomes a phobia when it is out of proportion to the danger of actual threat. Buspirone. This could be a stuffed animal, a chew toy, or a rawhide bone. Many dogs have noise sensitivities, and storms aren’t the only triggers. • First, do not ignore your dog during storms. Providing your dog with some type of distraction is also beneficial to dogs during … If your dog shows separation anxiety, fear of storms, or aggression, there are solutions that may help. It shouldn’t be a surprise that there is no simple answer to that question. They often go through windows and doors and sustain injuries in the process. Fear of thunderstorms and other noise sensitivities are becoming quite prevalent in dogs and the fact that it is so common is not surprising. This is why the severity of the signs of your dog’s fear and anxiety about a storm will often increase throughout the summer and year over year. Dr. Smith is part of The Spruce Pets' veterinary review board. Thunderstorm phobia can become a very serious problem that will adversely affect your dog's health and quality of life. This is often not an easy fix, though. Five years ago, one got more afraid of storms, the other didn’t. A dog who suffers from a fear of thunderstorms may begin to display anxious behavior long before the thunder begins. Rain on the roof of the house, bright flashes of light or even the drop in air pressure before a storm may be enough to trigger an anxious response. Dogs afraid of storms may pace, cry or hide before a storm even arrives. with storm phobias, it can be a change in barometric pressure, or gusts of leaves being blown around as the storm approaches, or small rain showers. Get our FREE training guide when you sign up for the Spruce Pets newsletter. A recent study on Hungarian Vizslas for example showed that castrated dogs were significantly more likely to develop a fear of storms. Summer weather is fast approaching and with it will come thunderstorms. However, it turns out that at least 40 percent of all dogs experience noise anxiety. • It may be helpful with puppies and young dogs to try to do pleasant things with them during storms in an effort to prevent fear from developing. It's also the static electricity that is rolling across their coat, shocking them. ... not many of postcards. Beyond the specific actions that you can do for a dog that gets scared when a storm starts, it’s important that you try to reverse the situation. And today I’ll share one great tool to have in your toolbox … essential oils. A 24/7 emergency veterinary hospital in Castle Rock, CO. Come spring, many dog parents find themselves asking: why are dogs afraid of thunderstorms? In addition, using Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) in the "safe place" might also help. Act now for the sake of your dog. But to treat the problem, you must first understand the causes of dog anxiety. “Fear-conditioned startle” is a laboratory test used … We begin with an assessment of what your dog is doing during thunderstorms. Animal behaviorists call this reaction “storm anxiety” or “noise phobia.” And while it’s pretty common in … What we do know is that this fear can develop in canines of all ages. Fear and thunderstorms – I used to own dogs who weren’t affected by them at all and others, that disappeared into a dark corner or under a table to be not seen again until the storm had passed. Why? A “safe” area to escape to when a storm is coming through may be the best option for many pet parents. I’ve been successfully using this amino acid in the past to reduce fear and anxiety in dogs, and humans too. What causes a dog to have a fear of thunderstorms? it is good to fear snakes). Some dogs benefit from a type of wrap, like the Thundershirt that is believed to provide some comfort during times of anxiety, stress, and fear because it releases endorphins. This sort of training requires controlled exposure to what’s causing the fear in a way that your dog does not respond in a negative way. If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. Arthritic dogs or those with orthopedic disorders may experience more pain than usual. There are three likely culprits that answer the question: why are dogs afraid of thunderstorms? Whatever you give your dog, make it something that will grab its attention and allow it to focus its nervous energy. (One block North of Founders Parkway) Because thunderstorm phobia is likely to become worse over time, it is important to take action when you first notice the signs. Dogs develop fear responses for a number of reasons. If your dog tears things up out of fear during a storm, then give it something to focus its destructive attention on. Essential Oil Safety For Dogs. A veterinary behaviorist can help you establish a desensitization or conditioning program. It should be noted that these dogs were behaviorally quite normal, other than their very specific fear of storms. Distract your dog from the fearful behavior. If only they could tell us what was going on! Many people owning dogs are yet to understand what results to this behavior. Not a lot is known or understood about noise phobias in dogs. Then we devise a management strategy and a behavior plan to help change your dog’s association with the storms. Beaumont has been petrified of storms and would hide in the house and shake and quiver for hours. To be fair, storms are big, intense, and complicated weather occurrences. By Debra Horwitz, DVM, DACVB & Gary Landsberg, DVM, DACVB, DECAWBM. Get in touch and we’ll do our best to help you out! The loud noises, static electricity, and barometric pressure changes cause fear, anxiety, and panic. If you own a border collie or Australian shepherd, it’s possible they — along with a few other breeds — have a genetic predisposition to develop noise phobias. The goal of managing storm fear behaviorally is to change the dog’s emotional state from frightened and distressed to neutral or even content. Dogs with severe thunderstorm phobia will need the help of a professional. Many dogs go missing during storms or fireworks. Some are clingy and seek attention. We experienced a tornado watch with lightning, thunder, and almost two inches of rain. Your dog will react to human anxiety, fear and stress—even if it is not related to the storm. If your dog is afraid of thunderstorms, he or she may try to hide, whine, pant, or even attempt to escape the house by chewing or pawing at doors or walls. That's why we see dogs behaving restlessly, trying to hide from the storm – they're trying to get away from the static electricity caused by thunderstorms. Many dog parents believe that it’s the sheer volume of thunder that upsets dogs … Nonetheless, setting aside everything you’re doing and focusing on training your dog when a thunderstorm is approaching can make a huge difference over time. Type of Anxiety: Generalized anxiety. Dr. Smith is a small animal veterinarian with 11 years practicing veterinary medicine. The signs are usually quite obvious, so you probably already know your dog is phobic of storms. Dog thunderstorm anxiety is a disorder characterized by a persistent and exaggerated fear of storms, or the stimuli that are associated with storms. My current pack of three contains of two unafraid and one VERY afraid dog. Fear of storm and thunder is very hard to eliminate completely, but there are ways to minimize it. Changes in barometric pressure and humidity can affect your dog's senses and possibly even cause discomfort in the ears. Likewise, dogs may have once been caught in a storm that frightened them, or they may have learned from another dog to be anxious during storms, or both. Distract Your Dog from The Storm with this Calming Music!