Posts Tagged: fear of thunder

How to help your dog’s fear of thunder

fear of thunder

Fear of thunder and other loud noises is one of the most common behavioral problems seen in dogs.  Follow these tips for immediate treatment of thunder or any other noise phobia.

The best way to treat your dog’s fear of thunder is to use behavior modification techniques with the help of a trained professional.  Behavioral modification should be during a time of year when thunderstorms or fireworks are not likely to occur.  This type of training takes time and commitment.

Here is some helpful information for the immediate treatment of thunderstorm or noise phobia:

Medication:  Most medication will need to be given before your dog begins to show signs of fear.  Always consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog any medication.

  • Sedatives will not help decrease your dog’s anxiety due to its fear of thunder.  However, these types of drugs may help your pet rest and they can make them less aware of the noise.
  • Anti-anxiety medication will reduce anxiety and panic
  • Natural products like melatonin also work for some dogs.  I use and recommend a homeopathic product called storm stress.  This is a safe, non-sedating remedy that promotes calm in pets exhibiting fear from: thunderstorms, winds, hurricanes & tornadoes

Punishment:  DO NOT scold or punish your dog due to its fear of thunder as this will only make it worse.  Remain calm, if you are upset or anxious this may make your dog more anxious.

Reassurance:  DO NOT fuss, pet or reassure your dog when it is showing signs of noise phobia as this is only rewarding the behavior.  In fact, doing this can make future episodes worse.

Environment changes:  Make sure your environment is safe and secure at all times as many dogs will behave unpredictably when frightened and may escape or injure themselves.

  • Close all windows and doors to muffle the sound as much as possible
  • Confine your dog to a well-curtained or non-windowed room to help remove additional stress from flashes of light.
  • Provide toys and games to help distract your pet.
  • Arrange company for you dog instead of leaving them alone.
  • Background noise such as a radio or television.  Music with a lot of constant drum beats, like rap music, actually help because the strong beat acts as a distraction and prevents them from concentrating on their fear of thunder.

Thunderworks products:  This company has an entire line of products that helps alleviate some of the anxiety issues associated with thunderstorms.  Many people are familiar with the Thundershirt which applies gentle, constant pressure and helps 80% of dogs with fear of thunder. 

Pheromone therapy:  These products mimic a natural pheromone produced by lactating female dogs.  This pheromone helps alleviate fear and stress in many different situations.  A product called Adaptil is available as a spray, collar and plug in.[Tweet “Follow these tips for immediate treatment of thunder or any other noise phobia.”]

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Dr. Anna was born and raised in Guthrie, Oklahoma. As a teenager, Dr. Anna found her beloved pet dead on the side of the road left to die without any help. That was the moment she decided to become a vet and vowed to help other people and their pets. After a few years of practicing in New Hampshire, Dr. Anna became homesick and decided to return to Guthrie to be with her parents and five other siblings. Family and friends are a major part of our lives which is why we treat our clients at Guthrie Pet Hospital as family.  Dr. Anna and her husband do not have children but are very proud pet parents and therefore, treat every four legged friend as part of the family. 


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