Category Archives: thunderstorm anxiety

How Do Dogs Sense Approaching Storms?

dog storms ttarasiukBy Langley Cornwell

Where I live, we have short thunderstorms almost every afternoon in the summer. I used to like these storms because they cooled things down a bit, but one of our dogs has recently become a master weatherman, sensing approaching storms long before we see evidence. Unfortunately for him, he dislikes the thunder. And because he senses its approach, his misery is long-lasting. For his sake, I wish he wasn’t so keen to oncoming inclement weather. I also began to wonder, how in the world does he know in advance when a storm is rolling in anyway?

We provide our dogs with love, companionship and shelter, and feed them healthy food like CANIDAE. We spend lots of time with them but even so, sometimes dogs do things that make us wonder. Some dogs dig the carpet before lying down, some herd children, and some even terrorize mailmen. But dogs also do amazing things like saving their humans from fires, protecting their homes and predicting the weather.

While you can’t ask your dog how bad a storm is going to be, if you get to know your pup you will be able to tell when a storm is coming, just by observing their behavior. Dogs know when it’s time to batten down the hatches, and will often herd the family to where they can keep an eye on you while they pace agitatedly. How do dogs know a storm is approaching long before the clouds appear, the rain falls and the thunder rolls?

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The Benefits of Anxiety Shirts for Dogs

By Laurie Darroch

Known as anxiety shirts or the name brand variety the ThunderShirt, this simple piece of attire has a very unique function that is both clever and surprising.

I had never seen one of these shirts used until I stayed with a friend who has a somewhat nervous dog that often reacted to too much noise and excitement. I was a doubter. I didn’t see how simply putting a ThunderShirt on a dog could make any difference or help her with her stress, but I was wrong. It did help, and I saw the results within minutes. She actually seems to enjoy wearing it, too.

How They Work

If you’ve ever noticed the contentment and security your dog gets cuddling against you or being close to you, you will have a sense of what an anxiety shirt does for your dog. When a dog is scared, they need to feel secure, safe and connected to help them deal with what is troubling them. Emotion and fear can overwhelm a dog that is under duress.

An anxiety shirt wraps the dog in a pressured jacket that surrounds their body and gives them what is basically a constant hug to keep them calm and reassure them.  The shirt not only helps with the various causes of stress, it provides an alternate method of helping your dog when she needs it.
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Why are Some Dogs Afraid of Thunder and Lightning?

thunderstorm edd princeBy Linda Cole

When I was a kid, we had a Manchester Terrier who would race to the front door and bark during severe thunderstorms. She’d bark and race over to us and then back to the door as if she thought someone was knocking. Distant thunder didn’t bother her, but loud and close thunder did. Our two other dogs would sleep right through a thunderstorm. Why does thunder and lightning scare some dogs and not others?

Lightning is formed when ice and water particles inside a cloud are compressed by warm air currents. Friction from the quickly moving currents causes electrical charges to form within the cloud. Negative charges build up at the bottom of the cloud and positive ones go to the top. When there’s a large buildup of negative charge, a feeler is sent towards the ground where it meets up with a positive streamer reaching up from the ground and causes a lightning strike. The negative charge descends rapidly, heating the air surrounding it to around 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit and creating a shock wave – thunder.

A low pressure is when the atmospheric (barometric) pressure is lower than the surrounding area. Lows produce snow, rain, wind, humidity, thunderstorms, hurricanes and tornadoes. A change in barometric pressure can bother some dogs more than others, especially arthritic pets that can experience more pain and stiffness in their joints during storms. Lightning is a natural source of nitrogen oxides, and dogs that are sensitive to storms may be able to smell these odors from the atmosphere as well as the ozone.

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Why Do Some Dogs Hate Going Outside in the Rain?

By Linda Cole

My dogs can’t wait to get outside when the weather is nice, but a rainy day is a much different story. Even when I stand outside in the rain trying to coax them out, I get a look from them that says, “You crazy human. You do know it’s raining – right?” In the end, I usually win out, thanks to patience and the natural urge that sooner or later causes a dog to begrudgingly step out into the rain to do their business.

Keikei is the only one of my dogs who prances around in the rain like Gene Kelly in the classic movie Dancing in the Rain. The other dogs tiptoe through the grass hoping this will keep their feet from getting wet.

Most dogs will resist going outside in the rain, but some don’t seem to mind if they get wet. As long as it’s not storming or coming down in buckets, you can usually coax your dog outside for a quick duty call. It’s usually a hard rain that puts the brakes on for most dogs. I can’t say I blame them, because I don’t want to stand outside when it’s raining hard any more than they do.

For some dogs, it’s not the rain that bothers them, it’s the scary thunder and lightning. One of my dogs, Shelby, has a thunder phobia. The minute the rumbles start, she’s by my side. Dogs with a storm phobia are more often herding breeds and hounds, but any dog can be afraid of storms and it can be a serious issue for an owner to deal with. Dogs scared of storms can have mild to severe reactions. They might chew on anything they can find, salivate, whine, hide, pace, shake, become destructive or aggressive, or cling to their owner for the duration of the storm.

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Understanding Your Dog’s Fears

By Langley Cornwell

My dog Frosty had a serious fear of loud noises. She was most terrified when it stormed, when there were fireworks or when guns were being shot. She would salivate, pace and hide. Once we were able to understand what she was afraid of, it made it easier to help her when she was faced with the things that scared her.

Fear can be a crippling emotion and when it comes to your dog, fear can drive his actions and lead to bad and even dangerous behavior. Understanding the fears that your dog experiences can help you, as a responsible pet owner, better help your canine companion.

Things that scare your dog may seem silly or inconsequential, but to your pooch they are monumental. What are some common fears that dogs exhibit?


The noise created by vacuum cleaners, certain appliances and even lawnmowers have been known to scare some dogs. In the house, sudden loud noises like those from a mixer, a blender or some other small appliance can startle and upset any dog.

Often, the reverberation of loud sounds off the walls of an enclosed room can frighten your dog. In the great outdoors, though, dogs can react poorly to the lawnmower. In all cases, a dog is simply unable to make sense of the movement and the noise, and it results in fear.

In the same way, some dogs may be frightened by thunder, lightning or fireworks. It is possible to rehabilitate some dogs from such fears through therapy, positive encouragement and even medications. However, avoiding the things that frighten your dog, if feasible, may be the best way to deal with their fears.

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The Best Way to Soothe an Agitated Dog

By Suzanne Alicie

While most humans are accustomed to loud noises or crowds of people, dogs can sometimes get pretty agitated. During the summer there are plenty of noises and events that can frighten dogs. Fireworks on the 4th of July, family cookouts, neighborhood gatherings and thunderstorms are just a few of the things which can upset your dog. Some dogs are even scared of water; the things that can frighten and agitate your dog are varied and depend on the personality of the dog and his environment.

Each dog reacts differently when scared, nervous or feeling crowded. Some dogs may get vocal with barking or growling when they feel agitated, while others may retreat when they are frightened. Even well mannered dogs have been known to have potty accidents when they get agitated, or to snap at people when they feel crowded and cornered. Responsible pet owners always try to keep their dog from feeling fear, but there are some things that even the most dedicated doggy mom can’t do anything about.

Our dog Bear is terrified of thunder. She hears it long before we do and begins rounding up the family. She pants and does rounds of the house trying to make sure we are all where we need to be. As the thunder gets closer she begins searching for a safe place. For a dog as big as Bear, it’s amazing that she can squeeze into some really small places when there’s a thunderstorm. She will go under the bed, try to get into the bottom shelf on a bookshelf or the tiniest cubby underneath the desk. She shivers and shakes and pants until I sometimes worry about her having a stroke or a heart attack. Her response to thunder or fireworks seems quite similar to a human having a panic attack. She doesn’t focus on any one thing, and will often roll her eyes in fear.

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