Like fireworks, thunderstorms can be a source of fear and anxiety for many dogs.

Studies have shown thunderstorm phobia in dogs is first noticeable at ages 1 and 2. But when the dog is between the ages 5 and 9, it can exacerbate and often when owners seek help from sites like this, or from their vets.

So if you’ve ever wondered why, here are several reasons why dogs might be afraid of thunder:

Loud Noises

Thunderstorms produce loud, unexpected noises that can startle dogs. Given their superior hearing abilities, dogs perceive these sounds much more intensely than humans do. Sudden, loud thunderclaps can be especially terrifying for a dog with a sensitive nature.


Along with the noise, thunderstorms create vibrations that dogs can feel. This adds an extra layer of sensory input that can be overwhelming and cause anxiety.

Static Electricity

There’s some evidence to suggest that dogs – especially ones with bigger coats – may be sensitive to the static electricity build-up that precedes a thunderstorm. This can cause discomfort and anxiety, which might explain why some dogs seem to become anxious even before the storm has begun. By getting a shock during one storm could mean heightened anxiety for the next. But there are ways to prevent this.

Flashing Lights

Just as with fireworks, the bright, sudden flashes of lightning can be startling and scary for dogs.

Changes in Barometric Pressure

Dogs are incredibly sensitive to changes in their environment, and this includes changes in barometric pressure that come with storms. While we don’t fully understand how dogs perceive these changes, it’s possible that they can cause discomfort or unease.

Anxiety from Owners

Dogs are highly attuned to human emotions. If their owner or someone in the household is afraid of thunderstorms, a dog might pick up on this fear and become scared as well. On this point, it’s also important to not over-coddle them. Be supportive and encourage their independence.

Helping them relax and be ready for future storms

As mentioned, the storm fear can exacerbate in dogs from ages 5 onwards, so it’s important to be ready and prepared with solutions on how to help them cope as soon as possible.

Categorized in:

Dog Behaviour & Training,

Last Update: April 9, 2024