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6 Tricks to Soothe Your Dog During a Thunderstorm

October 14, 2022

Storms are scary.  Thunder, lightning, strong winds, and heavy rain can be stressful no matter who you are. They don’t happen often enough for dogs - or humans - to get used to. But good news! If you’ve got a pup with storm phobia, there are several actions you can take to reduce their anxiety.


Ready to help your dog with anxiety? Chat with a Veterinarian!


6 Tricks To Soothe Your Dog During a Storm

1. Be Calm Yourself

Because dogs are so good at picking up on their owner’s energy, it’s super important that you try to stay calm. When dogs notice their human counterpart is feeling stressed or fearful, they will likely mirror the same emotions. Engaging in distracting play or soothing activities with your dog will also help you remain calm.

2. Create a Safe Spot

The first step is to find a place that works for your dog to rest until the storm passes. If your pup is crate trained, this is the obvious choice as they should feel relatively comfortable there. For dogs who aren’t crate trained, consider a closet or room without windows where they can comfortably hide from any visual or audible traces of the storm. Put your dog’s bed or blanket in a safe location. You Can also include their favorite toys, a couple of treats or a bone, and maybe even a speaker that can play calming music if the storm is really loud.

When you keep an eye on the weather, you can prepare your pup before the storm hits: it’s a great idea to get your dog accustomed to his “storm shelter” before the storm event. This way, they can seek it out as soon as they feel nervous.

3. Buy a Thunder shirt

A weighted thunder shirt or jacket might be all your dog needs to calm down during a storm. A thunder shirt or calming shirt is similar to a weighted blanket for humans—they offer gentle, constant pressure to reduce feelings of anxiety or over-excitement. The compression can help pups relax while they spend time in their designated “storm shelter” you’ve created. While a thunder shirt may not stop your dog from barking, it might help with trembling, whimpering, drooling, and other anxious behaviors.

These shirts or wraps fit snugly against your dog’s torso and can be worn during storms, on airplanes, fireworks, or while entertaining large groups of people.

Thunderstorm with lightening in purple sky

As a loving owner, a scary thunderstorm is your time to shine. Soothing your dog by making them feel safe and secure should become a top priority. It will take some trial and error to find out what soothing tactics your stressed dog responds to best.

4. Doggy Distractions

Gentle background noise or classical music can help distract your dog from the blustery events outside your door. If your dog isn’t responding well to white noise or music, try brushing their furry coat or giving them a treat puzzle to work on.

Engaging your pup in simple tricks for treats is also a way that you can help them take their mind off of the storm. Affection, in the form of kisses and snuggles, will also distract them from the scary weather and boost serotonin. Speak to them in a loving, soft tone. 

5. Treats and Toys

Regarding treats and toys, we suggest opting for products with “calming” in the name. Some dog toys and treats are infused with calming drops that soothe your dog. Natural calming sprays can also be ordered online or found at your nearby pet store. Talk with your veterinarian about choosing a supplement. A vet professional will know what supplements are the most effective for soothing anxiety and stress. The right supplement for your dog will depend on the breed, age, weight, and symptoms that they are experiencing.

Treat puzzles, and treat-filled toys are definitely one of the best ways to distract your dog during a storm, especially if they are food motivated.

6. Talk to a Vet about Supplements

Medications are available for dogs who experience fear and anxiety from loud noises like thunder and fireworks. A number of calming supplements from pheromones to other options that don’t require a prescription are available to you and your pet. These options may alleviate anxiety and stress brought on by these loud environmental changes. As always, discuss your options with a professional. Chat with a Mavyn Veterinarian today. 

Dog with human in purple shirt laying on bed

Pay Close Attention to Your Dog’s Behavior & Body Language


Often dogs begin exhibiting shifts in their behavior before the storm arrives. They may pace, pant, tremble or shake, hide under a bed or in another small space, whine, whimper, howl, drool, or engage in destructive behaviors like chewing. Depending on the pup, they might also seek attention from their owner and insist on staying by their side. Other indicators include urinating inside the home, tail tucking between the legs, pinned back ears, and eye-rolling.

They act out of impulse and fear, so it’s important not to punish them for any undesirable behaviors they exhibit during a storm.


Why Do Some Dogs React to Thunderstorms?

There are three main reasons your dog is reacting to thunderstorms: canine noise aversion, separation anxiety, and if there’s lightning, static electricity.

The most common culprit is noise aversion—if your dog tends to be anxious, they likely have this to some extent. It is common with pups and stems from a poor experience with a loud noise or repetitive exposure to a noise that makes them feel uncomfortable. Many dogs feel uncomfortable when tree branches hit the windows or thunder claps during a storm.

If your dog experiences separation anxiety, they might also worry that you’ll leave them during the storm. Exacerbating the anxiety they already experience from the conditions of the storm. Dogs can hear and feel things that most humans cannot, like pressure changes and low-frequency rumbles. Sometimes static electricity can gather in the air and transfer to your pup's coat, making them feel antsy and nervous.

Storms Don’t Have to Give You or Your Dog Anxiety

Staying calm and distracting your dog during a storm are two of the best things you can do as a caring owner. It’s entirely possible that after a few storms, your dog will accept that there’s nothing to be afraid of and their symptoms will ease with time. All it takes is a few positive experiences for a dog to change its behavior.

If these approaches to soothing your dog don’t help, consider chatting with one of our Pet Experts for customized advice specific to you and your dog’s needs.

Ready to help your dog with anxiety? Chat with a Veterinarian!