You must have heard tales of courageous dogs who have saved the lives of their owners during times of distress. Generally, dogs are attentive, intelligent, and extremely affectionate. They have been adorned with a brilliant ability to sense abnormal activities, unfamiliar scents, and unidentified sounds.
If you are a pet parent, you must have noticed that during thunderstorms your dog gets frightened. You must be wondering why heroic creatures such as dogs are afraid of thunder. In this blog, we are going to shed light on the probable reasons that make your dog afraid of thunder and how to tackle it wisely.
Dogs are sensitive to certain noises and sounds that can scare them, and thunder is one of them. Apart from this, dogs are also afraid of thunder due to Astraphobia. Generally, dogs can sense the variations in the air pressure and can hear the low-frequency reverberations of thunderstorms. It causes anxiety and fear in them even before the storm hits.
If your dog is afraid of thunder, there are probable chances that your pet is suffering from Astraphobia. In such conditions, it becomes essential to ease the anxiety and fear that builds up in the mind of your furry companion. If left unattended, it can adversely affect the mental and emotional health of your pet dog. To tackle such situations, the following factors would help you out!
Understanding Your Pet’s State of Mind
As a responsible pet owner, it is essential to understand your pet’s state of mind before reaching out to any conclusions. If your dog is afraid of thunder, then it is necessary to root out the reason. Many dogs tend to seek refuge in a confined shelter to feel safe whenever a thunderstorm strikes. This can also happen when your pet is not able to understand and identify the terrible sound of thunder.
There could be many reasons behind this apart from Astraphobia. Some dogs are afraid of thunder as they see it as a sign of danger whereas some dogs are frightened by loud noises that they are not familiar with. Thunderstorms are unpredictable and are too loud quite a time that can make your dog fearful and anxious. In such situations, your pet would need your attention, care, and love to feel comfortable and secure.
Excellent Hearing Ability
Dogs can hear sounds ranging between 40 Hz to 60, 000 Hz whereas humans can only hear sounds from 20 Hz to 20, 000 Hz. Your dog might not be having Astraphobia if he is afraid of thunder as there are possible chances that he is experiencing discomfort due to the loud noise of thunder.
The loud and terrifying noise of thunder can cause anxiety in dogs that makes them uncomfortable at times. Also, dogs might even experience shocks from the build-up of stationary electricity that complements thunderstorm. Dogs often get frightened when they encounter lightning thunderstorms, specifically those of high intensity.
The Effects of Astraphobia
Astraphobia, also known as Thunder Phobia is touted to be the major cause that scares the dogs during thunderstorms. However, this condition is quite common but it should not be ignored at any cost. It can have dreadful and heart-wrenching effects on the behavior of your dog.
Even the dogs with good mannerism and obedient behavior tend to pant, jump, and cling tightly to their owners. Apart from this, your pet might be trying to hide in the toilet or behind the closet or under the table. These all are symptoms of Astraphobia that can make your dog nervous and panic.
However, it is still not clear what triggers the dogs during a thunderstorm as each dog breed might react differently to it. Dogs are generally afraid of strong windy storms, lightning, thunder, static electricity, low-frequency reverberations, fireworks, gunshots, and barometer pressure variations. Dogs can even hear those sounds that humans cannot. If the loud and terrifying storms become frequent, it can worsen the anxiety among dogs.
Measures to be taken
If your dog is getting panic, afraid, or anxious during a thunderstorm, there are few measures that you can take to calm your dog. In such situations, it is quite normal for pets to feel insecure or unsafe. The following measures would help you out in comforting your pet dog during such a distressing situation.
Do not leave your dog alone
Whenever a thunder strikes, accompany your pet dog. Try to comfort and assure him that he is safe with you. Do not leave your dog alone as it would make him more frightened and insecure, and as a result, your furry pal might freak out.
Give him attention and love
Dogs love to seek attention from their owners. During a thunderstorm, try to give all your love and attention to your pet. It would play an important role in calming the anxiety of your dog. You can even give a calming massage to your furry pal to make him feel relaxed and comfortable.
Distract your dog
Many owners often ignore, punish, or even yell at their pet dogs during the thunderstorms. It would not calm your pet; instead, it would only worsen his anxiety and fear. In such situations, you can go gentle petting on the back of your dog. You can even distract your dog by playing pet-friendly indoor games such as go-fetch and tug-of-war with him.
Do not keep your dog outside
If there is a weather forecast of thunderstorms, then do not leave your pet outside. During such extreme weather conditions, it is not advisable to leave your pet outdoors as it can be a frightful experience for them. Besides this, it can also affect their health undesirably.
Opting for a Thunder Jacket
Another effective way through which you can make your pet feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed during a thunderstorm is a thunder jacket. This enfolding outfit for your dog can calm him down to a great extent.
Additionally, you can even try out safe calming remedies such as Bach flower extracts and dog pheromones along with lavender oil to promote calmness and relaxation in your dog.
Play loud music
When the thunder is getting loud outside, you need to compete with the noise to distract your pet. For this, you can play loud music on the radio or can even opt for dog calming music to relive and ease the anxiety and nervousness in your pet dog.
Keep your dog sheltered
During such stressful times, place the crate of your dog to a confined place, preferably a sound-proof one to make your pet feel protected and relaxed. You can even keep cozy bedding and a bowl of water along with few pet-friendly toys to keep your dog engaged.
You can desensitize your dog towards the loud and terrifying sounds of a thunderstorm by playing a thunderstorm CD sound at a low volume. Do not forget to reward your pet with his favorite treats. After practicing the same for a couple of weeks you can gradually increase the volume of the CD. It would help you in eliminating the anxiety of your dog during thunderstorms.
It is normal and quite obvious for the dogs to get afraid and anxious during a thunderstorm. However, if your dog is not responding positively to any of the above-mentioned measures, then in such cases, it is preferable to consult a good veterinary doctor to treat your furry companion at the earliest.