Dogs and Storm Phobias: Myth Busting
It’s widely accepted that dogs have a fear of storms and other loud noises, even the Brisbane City Council issues reminders to make sure our dogs are safe during storms or fireworks. The myth about dogs and their storm phobias, however, is that it’s “just one of those things” and there’s nothing that can be done about it.
Dogs are genetically predisposed to developing anxieties. Storm phobias in dogs are a form of anxiety and there are several options for helping to manage storm phobias specifically and anxieties in dogs generally. See our dog behaviour handout for more information about general behaviour problems in dogs.
If your dog has a storm phobia, or you believe they do, we can help.
Signs of storm phobia in dogs:
Hiding in safe, contained places such as under beds, under stairs.
Trying to escape by digging holes or climbing fences.
Toileting inside the house.
Shaking or trembling.
Sometimes storm phobias can be caused by medical problems so our first step in helping you and your dog survive the storm season is performing a full physical examination and a comprehensive blood test to rule in or out any medical causes. If there is no evidence of a medical cause of anxiety in your dog we can tailor an appropriate routine for you to implement at home during the storm season. This requires preparation before storms hit in order to prevent the phobia in your pooch.
If your dog has a storm phobia, phone us on 3345 6689 to make an appointment and discuss the options for management of this distressing problem.
Dr Josephine Clapham, BVSc (Hons)