Why Does My Dog Hate Thunderstorms?

 Most people believe it is the loud sound of rumbling thunder claps that frighten dogs. However, research suggests there could be another reason. If you have often wondered – why do dogs hate thunderstorms – read our Holidays4Dogs article to find out more.

Some dogs can really feel a sense of panic during a thunderstorm, running around whining, trying to hide, drooling and panting. Sometimes, it’s not easy to know the best way to help a dog that is clearly in distress. However, knowing why the dog is feeling fearful, can help owners understand how best to comfort them. Dogs may hate thunderstorms for a number of reasons – some of them more unusual.

Static electricity.

Scientists have discovered the volume of thunder claps might not be the only reason why dogs hate thunderstorms. What some studies have shown is that is could be static electricity, created through a storm, that makes our dogs feel anxious and uncomfortable. This is because of the feeling of static electricity running through their fur.  This may explain why many dogs run around the house scared. It may be because they are seeking a place that is grounded and away from the effects of static electricity created by thunderstorms.

You may notice your dog will run for a small enclosed space, such as his crate or under the bed. This may support the theory that he is experiencing discomfort from static electricity. If  he dives under the bed, or into another small space, let him stay there and don’t try and coax him out. If he runs into his crate, try covering it with a rug, or blanket, which will help to increase his sense of security.

Places that are grounded are areas such as, basements, bathtubs and any small enclosed space. If your dog hates baths – (as well as thunderstorms!) – placing him in the bathtub may create even greater anxiety – so do be aware of this. However, other tips suggested by scientists to minimise the effects of static electricity, are to rub your dog’s coat with tumble dryer sheets.

There is some controversy over this method. Tumble dryer sheets, may contain chemicals the dog may subsequently lick from his fur. Others suggest comfort jackets – known as ‘thunder’ jackets –  can help to calm a dog that is really bothered by the effects of thunderstorms.

Barometric pressure.

Although, it is not understood why humans can suffer from weather related headaches, there is a lot of evidence to show that people do develop headaches during thunderstorms.

This can also happen when weather conditions barometric pressure. Therefore, it may be feasible that dogs could suffer in a similar way due to swings in weather related pressure. This might be another reason why dogs hate thunderstorms.


Whatever the case, it is quite alright to soothe and comfort your dog. You can also try distracting your pet with something highly desirable, like really tasty treats, or a meaty bone. The premise here is to counter-condition his response to the thunderstorm by associating it with something pleasurable. By diverting his attention onto something else, this may help to recondition his response to thunderstorms and reduce anxiety.

There are plenty of calming remedies for dogs such as those based on Bach flower essences. Many owners report these have a positive effect on their dogs during thunderstorms. There are other oils and calming pheromones such as DAP diffusers that also might be of help to some dogs.