How to Help a Dog Who Is Afraid of Storms

Storms can be quite frightening for many dogs, but there are a few things you can do to help your pet overcome his storm phobia.

Any dog can develop a storm phobia, although herding breeds such as Border Collies seem to be the most affected. If your dog has separation anxiety or is afraid of other loud noises like fireworks and gunshots, storm phobia may also be a problem.

There’s no clear explanation for what triggers storm phobia, but many vets suspect that dogs dislike the combination of thunder, lightning, wind, and barometric pressure changes. There are also low-frequency rumbles before a storm that can irritate a dog’s sensitive hearing.

One easy thing you can do to make storms less stressful for your dog is to provide a safe place for him to go when the weather turns bad. This could be the bathroom, the basement, or an open crate in a windowless room. Play soothing music to help block the sound of the storms outside. Offer distractions such as a few treats and a game of fetch as needed.

Not all dogs respond well to them, but a snug fitting shirt or wrap may help calm an anxious pet. Compression garments apply gentle pressure, which has been shown to soothe anxiety for many different animals.

In severe cases, your vet may be able to prescribe an anti-anxiety medication to keep your dog’s storm phobia under control. Medications can be given on a daily basis or used whenever the forecast calls for stormy weather.

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