Why are dogs afraid of thunderstorms?

Many dogs tend to be afraid of the lightning and thunder during a storm. What is it about the noise and the lights that are so scary?

One of the hardest times of the year for dog owners is the summer. The humidity and weather fronts cause thunderstorms, which leads to many four-legged best friends finding comfort. Dogs, like children, tend to be afraid of thunderstorms, but why is that?

I will start by saying that my husky (who is actually called Storm, so it’s probably appropriate) isn’t afraid of storms or fireworks. He finds them fascinating, sitting with the children as they watch the lights and hear the rumbles. But I’ve had dogs that have been terrified.

Dogs don’t understand what thunderstorms are and it’s not easy to explain to them. They hear the loud bangs and believe they’re under attack. Of course, they can’t see the threat and that often leads to them being afraid.

It’s not just the noise, though. According to Rover, thunderstorms bring static electricity that animals can feel more than humans. Your pup feels something uncomfortable in their fur and that leads to some confusion and fear. They figure the weird feeling is linked to the thunderstorm, so the thunderstorm must be a bad thing.

Many dogs will head to their “safe places.” When my pup is worried about something or is fearful of something that’s happened, his safe space is his bed. Other dogs I’ve had would hide under tables or even climb into the bathtub. The bathtub is actually one of the best places, especially if it’s porcelain. It prevents the static from getting through and makes it comfortable for your four-legged friend.

While you want to soothe your dog, Petfinder states that too much soothing can be bad. It encourages dogs to be afraid of thunderstorms. However, you can help to minimize the fear by offering some background noise or playing with them during the storms. A weighted blanket can also help some.

Next: Tips for a dog-friendly yard this summer

What are your dogs afraid of? How do yours react in thunderstorms? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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