Thunderstorm Phobias in Dogs

Thunderstorm phobia in dogs is a disorder that is characterized by persistent and exaggerated fear of storm or its stimuli.

In this disorder, even before the first clap of thunder, otherwise well-behaved dogs begin to pace, pant, cling to their owners, hide in the closet, or jam themselves behind the toilet. In severe cases, they'll claw through drywall, chew carpets, or break through windows in their escalating panic. 

Stimuli that elicit fear include rain, lightning thunder, strong winds, and possibly changes in barometric pressure and static electricity. This fear may then induce one of more of the following signs:




Hiding/remaining near the owner

Excessive salivation (ptyalism)


Excessive vocalization

Self-inflicted trauma

Fecal incontinence

It may also affect some body systems in a variety of ways, including:


Endocrine/ metabolic—increased cortisol levels, stress-induced hyperglycemia

Gastrointestinal—inappetence, gastrointestinal upset

Musculoskeletal—self-induced trauma resulting from escape attempts

Nervous—adrenergic/nor-adrenergic overstimulation


Skin—acral lick dermatitis

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