Why Are Dogs So Scared Of Thunder?

Imagine sitting in your cozy living room, enjoying a movie, when suddenly, BOOM!

The sound alone makes you jump.

But what if this sound was ten times louder?

For our canine companions, this is their reality.

When big booms in the sky make our furry friends scared, it’s more than just the noise causing their unease.

So, why are dogs so scared of thunder?

In this article, we share why you the reasons for it and what you can do to make your loved dog feel better.

Why Do Dogs Get Scared of Thunder?

Super Hearing Ears

Have you ever wondered why your dog’s ears perk up when they hear something miles away?

Dogs have this amazing superpower called wonder hearing.

While we might hear the gentle rumble of a distant thunderstorm, to our four-legged pals, it’s akin to someone banging a massive drum right next to them!

Dogs hear things way louder than we do, making every thunderclap a startling experience.

Big Changes In The Air

But it’s not just the sound.

Dogs have a keen sense of detecting atmospheric changes.

Have you ever noticed your dog acting a little odd or restless before a storm?

That’s because they can sense the change in air pressure, feel the static electricity, and even detect the ozone produced by lightning.

These subtle shifts we barely notice are glaring alarms for our pups.

How dogs feel weird stuff in the air when a storm comes makes thunderstorms a multi-sensory overload for them!

Pressure Changes

Dogs have a special ability to feel when the air around them changes.

Before a thunderstorm starts, the air pressure goes up or down.

Dogs can sense this change, and it might make them feel uneasy or worried because they know a storm is coming.


When thunder roars, it creates small shakes or vibrations in the ground and air.

Dogs are very good at feeling these shakes, even better than people.

This strong sense can make thunder feel very close and scary to them.

Light Flashes

Imagine if you saw bright lights flashing without any warning.

That’s how dogs feel when they see lightning.

These sudden, bright flashes can surprise and scare them because they don’t expect it.


One tricky thing about thunderstorms is that you never know when the next big boom will happen.

This is called unpredictability.

Dogs can get anxious because they’re always waiting and wondering when the next loud thunder will strike.


Dogs have a super sense of smell, way better than ours.

When a storm comes, it brings a special scent called ozone.

This smell is very different from the usual smells dogs know.

Because it’s new and different, it might make them feel nervous or unsettled.

Altered Routine

Dogs love their daily routines.

They like knowing what will happen next, like when they’ll eat or go for a walk.

But when storms come, things change.

People might start moving around quickly, shutting windows, or bringing things inside.

All these sudden changes can confuse and worry a dog because they’re not used to them.

Bad Memories


Imagine a young puppy experiencing its first thunderstorm.

A sudden loud bang, a flash of light, and maybe even getting caught in the rain while outside.

This first experience might create a lasting impression.

Just like how we remember our scary childhood incidents, some dogs had a scary time during a storm before, and they remember it.

So, every time they hear a thunderclap, it’s like revisiting that haunting memory, making them more apprehensive.

Signs Your Dog Is Scared Of Thunder

Hiding And Shaking

Ever notice how sometimes your socks go missing, or you find an odd toy tucked beneath your bed?

Well, sometimes, during a storm, you might find your furry friend there too!

Dogs often search for confined spaces because these areas make them feel protected.

They might even shake uncontrollably, a result of their adrenaline pumping.

Many owners don’t realize that this is their dog’s way of coping.

It’s like how some people chew their nails when nervous!

Barking And Whining

Dogs don’t just bark to tell the postman to go away or when they see a squirrel.

Sometimes, their barks and whines are ways they communicate their discomfort or fear.

It’s like when a toddler cries – they need attention.

But did you know that prolonged barking and excessive whining might indicate that they’re experiencing more than just the usual fear?

They might be undergoing a panic attack, and it’s good to be there to comfort them.

Sticking Close To You

Dogs are pack animals, which means they rely on numbers for safety.

Have you ever had your dog just sit on your feet or lean against you during a storm?

It’s their way of seeking safety and assurance.

They believe in the “strength in numbers” idea and think being close to their human pack leader, that’s you, can protect them from any harm.

Making Thunder Time Easier For Your Dog

Playing And Keeping Them Busy

You’ve probably heard the saying, “An idle mind is the devil’s playground.”

For dogs, a distracted mind during a storm can be a saving grace!

Engaging them in puzzles or treat-dispensing toys can turn their focus away from the scary sounds.

Even a simple game of tug can serve as an effective distraction.

Many owners are surprised to learn that training exercises, like practicing basic commands during a storm, can divert and calm their dog’s anxiety.

Making A Safe Spot

Dogs have a natural instinct to den; it’s why they love curling up in tight spaces.

Creating a ‘storm den’ in a quiet, insulated part of your home can be a lifesaver.

Some owners use white noise machines or fans to drown out the thunder.

Others have found that the smell of lavender can be soothing, so consider adding a spritz or two in their safe spot!

White Noise or Music

A good way to help them is to play calm sounds or music.

You can use a machine that makes soft noise or even a fan.

There are special songs made just to relax dogs.

Playing these can make your dog feel better when it’s stormy outside.


There’s a special shirt called a Thundershirt.

It’s like a tight hug for dogs.

When dogs wear it, they feel safe and calm, kind of like when people get a big hug.

This shirt can help your dog if they’re scared of loud noises like thunder.


You can teach dogs not to be scared of storms.

Play sounds of thunder softly at first and give your dog treats when they stay calm.

Play the sounds a bit louder each time.

Over time, your dog may learn that thunder sounds mean treats and play, so they won’t be as scared.

Close The Curtains

Sometimes, the bright light from lightning can scare dogs.

It’s a good idea to close the curtains or blinds when there’s a storm.

This way, your dog won’t see the sudden bright flashes.

Avoid Leaving Your Dog Alone

Dogs like it when their family is around, especially if they’re scared.

If there’s a storm, try to stay with your dog.

Your company can help your dog feel safe.

Cbd Products

Some dog owners use special oils or treats called CBD to help their dogs stay calm.

It’s always good to ask a vet before giving your dog something new.

They can tell you if it’s safe and how much to give.

Be A Calm Buddy

Our pets often look to us for cues on how to react.

If we jump or yelp at a loud noise, they think they should be scared, too.

One lesser-known trick is to change your body language.

Standing tall and speaking in a cheerful tone can communicate to your dog that everything’s okay, even when the sky sounds like it’s grumbling.

Tips From The Experts

Getting Your Dog Used To Many Sounds

Desensitizing your dog to various sounds can make a huge difference.

Starting this when they’re a puppy is best, but older dogs can learn, too.

Play recordings of thunder at a low volume and reward your dog for calm behavior, gradually increasing the volume over time.

It’s like turning their fear into a fun game, and it can make storms less scary later on!

Talking To The Dog’s Doctor

Just like humans might visit a therapist or doctor when feeling uneasy, dogs can benefit from a vet visit.

Some vets recommend pressure vests, which give dogs a ‘hugged’ feeling.

Others might suggest special diets or even medications.

Never be afraid to seek guidance; these experts have seen it all!

Navigating the thunderous waters of stormy nights can be challenging for any dog owner.

But with these little-known tips and a sprinkle of love, every storm can become just another chance for bonding.

Remember, every rumble in the sky is an opportunity for a comforting cuddle on the ground.

Before You Go…

Now you know why dogs are scared of thunder.

If you want to learn more, read the following articles too!

Or watch this video:

Dimitra Kokologianni, DVM
Dimitra holds a Masters’s degree in public health and a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. She is a versatile professional with over 7 years of experience. Her passion for animal welfare and preventive medicine makes her an excellent resource for our readers.