It is no secret that dogs freakout and get very scared when they hear loud obscure noises such as thunder, fireworks, or the vacuum. But what is hard to understand is why they have such a negative reaction to these sounds and how we can help as pet owners.
Why are dogs afraid of thunder?
To try and answer this, the American Kennel Club turned to Trisha Miller, who is a CPDT certified trainer, and an AKC CGC and Trick Dog Evaluator. They said, “Miller believes it has a lot to do with the loud sounds. ‘Of course, dogs are so much more sensitive to sounds, their hearing is so much more powerful than ours, so they can often detect thunder way before we can,’ she explains. She also believes it’s instinctual. ‘It’s a survival thing to be afraid of loud noises, to want to find shelter,’ she says. ‘Thunder is a big part of it. But, I think dogs are also sensitive to changes in air pressure and potentially static electricity. So, I think there could also be some unheard, unseen things that dogs can catch that we do not.’” Everything Miller says definitely makes intuitive sense, but as pet parents we still want to help alleviate some of this anxiety and negative emotion. Here are a couple of tips we hope will help you and your pet!
Help them feel safe
Making your pet feel safe is the best way to help in this situation. We recommend taking them to their favorite spot in the house, whether that be their bed, your bed, the couch or wherever they seem the most at peace. It is also important to recognize that they do not want to feel or act the way they do when they hear thunder, so be mindful not to punish them for their behavior.
Provide background noise
The idea here is that if your dog can’t see or here the thunder or lightning it’s kind of like it’s not there. Background noise can reduce stimulation and try to hide the loud claps of the thunder. Background noise can be anything from calming music to white noise, just anything you consider to be relaxing.
Use pet CBD products
Many pet owners have begun turning to pet CBD products to help reduce anxiety and overall nervousness. Thunder is a prime example of a nerve racking experience for pets. While you might not be able to predict a thunderstorm and preemptively give your dog pet CBD products, the products usually work within a few minutes so using pet CBD products as soon as you hear thunder or see lightning can also be extremely useful. A few of our favorite products are from Zen Frenz as they use simple, natural ingredients and the products are made in the United States. Specifically, we like using the bacon and beef Zen Bites for travel and the Zen Drops for use at home. The Zen Drops are odorless and flavorless so they can be easily taken directly from the dropper or sprinkled on your pet’s food or treats.
Driver, Saige. “Why Are Dogs Scared of Thunder? Tips For Calming Your Pet.” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 20 Jan. 2021, www.akc.org/expert-advice/