Helping Dogs Overcome Strom Phobia

Helping Spot Cope with Thunder-Phobia

Spring showers may give us hope of May flowers, but could also cause the booming thunder that sends your pet running for cover. An estimated 19% of dogs suffer from what veterinarians term "thunder phobia". The phobia can range from mild anxiety, whining, frantic pacing, hiding and running away, even jumping out of windows.

Although no one knows for sure what causes some dogs to panic during storms, it is believed to be caused by a combination of noise, flash of lightning and change in barometric pressure. Some dogs even have the emotional element of having a bad experience during a storm such as a falling tree or owners' own anxiety.

Thunder phobia, like other health concerns, can best be dealt with through prevention. Assuring young dogs and puppies that everything will be alright and keeping them from developing the phobia can be key. With most dogs, the phobia, once developed, will only worsen with age.

If your dog does have thunder phobia, it is never too late to work with your pet. Holistically, desensitization (behavior modification) can work well. It takes an investment of time on the owners part to slowly introduce the thunderstorm sounds (using a tape or CD). This will normally take several weeks.

Another approach is the use of herbs and herbal-based products. Products, formulated for pets, containing chamomile are found most effective. Many of these can be given prior to the start of the storm and the calming effect will last for several hours.

If you find yourself in the middle of a storm with a distressed pet, exercise caution. Talk in a calm, reassuring voice. Flower remedies such as Bach's Rescue Remedy can be given. Some owners note almost an immediate calming of the pet.

Whatever your method, your reassurance and love is also needed. For severe cases of thunder-phobia, consult your veterinarian.


Written by Marian Brown. She has been active in holistic health care for people and pets for over 15 years. She is editor of Holsitic Health News. Visit the site at to join her free email newsletter with more important pet tips