5 Tips to help when your dog is afraid of thunderstorms

Oh, oh here comes a storm with hail, thunder, and lightning.

You are not the first to know.  Your dog and cat will know before you do and not because they have bunions on their feet that ache. Their instincts and the electrostatic electricity that their coats build up tell them long before you see their signs of ANXIETY and   FEAR!

What to do when your dog is afraid of thunderstorms?  Here are some things you can try and not just one tactic, but it may be the one that helps.  You may have to perform 1-2 or even 3.  But hopefully, one of these tips may lessen the fear.

Desensitize your pet from the thunder and loud noises

If your dog is afraid of thunderstorms, desensitize your pet from the thunder and loud noises by purchasing a CD that has the background music of thunder.  Play this at a lower volume and then gradually increase the volume over several days: nothing wrong with blaring it as loud as possible and even thumping in the other room. Please take this slow and don’t push it.  Also, there are some T-touches that when accurately applied do calm your pets. These are called the Tellington Touch.  I use some of these depending on the situation.  It does help. Desensitizing also helps if you do it right.

Use a thunder shirt to help your dog deal with storms

To help when your dog is afraid of thunderstorms, purchase a thunder shirt from your pet store.  The shirt reduces electrostatic electricity that builds up on their coat which can be very irritating and triggers their responses to the upcoming storm. Take your dog for proper sizing if possible.  The shirt must be snug, not loose, and without wrinkles. One wrinkle can make it uncomfortable, but it is easy to apply, and you may see an instantaneous positive response.   Place the shirt on as soon as you THINK there will be a storm.  Have your dog wear the shirt even if there isn’t a storm forecasted.  You do not want to trigger an alarm to your dog by only applying the shirt prior to the storm event.  Shake it up a bit as a wardrobe piece.

Play calming music during the storm

To calm your dog if your dog is afraid of thunderstorms, play calming music during the storm – classical is good and sometimes a recording of your voice is helpful too.  Some play the CD of the storm on top of the existing storm too!!  They recognize the storm noises in the CD and the real storm noise may not be as alarming.

Aroma therapy for your dogs

One other helpful tip if your dog is afraid of thunderstorms, there are oils that soothe that can be applied to the tips of their ears, and under their necks to help.  The scent of lavender works well, make sure you get a particularly good brand!

Give them companionship during storms

If your dog is afraid of thunderstorms, hire someone to come in and sit with them for a while, or leave them at a friend’s home with your friend so they are not isolated.  Depending on what the dog’s actions are during a storm, if there is potential for doing themselves harm, you may not want to leave them in a crate or anywhere they could hurt themselves or damage your home.  If a crate is your only resource for containment, you may want to cover it or place it in their hiding spot.  If they are calm there, don’t change it.

Try a pink light near the dog’s bed.  Use it in a night light.  Pink has been known to calm even human criminals and tested on dogs.

There are natural sedatives that take the edge off.  There are two I recommend.  “Composure” by Vetri-Science and Calmplex by Spring Time.  These are Nonpharmaceuticals and safe.  Research them both online before you try.


If you will be home during the storm the less anxious you are the better for your dog. It would be helpful, if your dog can be elsewhere in the house or entertained by someone to avoid the triggers they sense in your preparation against a storm.

Example: Suddenly pulling the shades on the windows, huddling together, quickly moving plants inside, exhibiting nervous ticks like tapping foot, tensing up, voice higher pitch, and talking quickly.  Remember, they can read your face too! Try to remain calm and reassure the dog with slow body rub-downs.  Breathe deep and talk calmly to your dog and always SMILE!!  If they prefer to hide let them be.  Continue desensitizing; try the thunder shirt and oils or any of the other methods. Don’t give up.

If I can be of service, please let me know!

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