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Thunderstorm Anxiety in Dogs

May 15, 2020
Does your canine buddy turn into a quivering, whimpering mess during thunderstorms? If so, he certainly isn’t the only one. Many dogs are absolutely terrified of storms! In this article, a local Sarasota, FL vet offers some insight into this doggy phobia, and gives a few tips on helping Fido cope.

Why Dogs Fear Storms

Although we haven’t been able to successfully poll our canine patients to learn exactly why storms scare them so much, we do have a few ‘petucated’ guesses. For one thing, Fido isn’t really a weather expert. He may simply not understand the loud noises and flashing lights. Your pooch may also be able to hear subsonic sounds that we can’t pick up, or sense changes in air pressure. Static cling is another possibility.

Getting Ready

When you know it’s going to storm, walk Fido before the skies darken. If possible, tire him out with a fun play session. Your furry pal will naturally be calmer after a vigorous workout. If your pup has extreme anxiety, consider getting him a calming shirt. This is sort of the doggy equivalent of a weighted blanket: it makes Fido feel safe and secure.


Try doing some desensitization training. When it’s sunny out, play a thunderstorm sound file. Slowly increase the volume until your four-legged friend gets used to it. Eventually, Fido will just consider it background noise, and will (hopefully) stop reacting.

Dryer Sheet

Another thing that may work is running an unscented dryer sheet over Fido’s fur. Some people swear by this! The thinking is that this discharges static electricity. It’s worth a shot.

Background Noise

Turn a TV or radio on before the storm starts, and increase the volume when it starts raining. This may help drown out the noise.

Safe and Sound

Crate training can also be helpful here. If Fido has been properly trained, he should see his crate as a comfy den. He may very well feel safer in his crate during a storm. You don’t necessarily even have to shut the doors. Just toss in some toys and treats to keep him occupied. Puzzle toys are also a good choice. If your furry buddy isn’t crate trained, we recommend seeing to this right away.

Do you have questions or concerns about your dog’s health or care? Please feel free to contact us, your Sarasota, FL vet clinic, anytime!