Afraid of Thunder

a close up shows cali's nose. Cali is a golden retriever.


Lots of dogs are “afraid” of thunder. Or, to be more precise, they become anxious during thunderstorms. Some become anxious well before the storm starts (they are far more reliable than the weather forecasts; Weather Puppy should consider hiring Cali, for example, to improve the accuracy of their predictions …).


Not all fear and anxiety is alike and therefore it cannot be treated in the same way.


Cali is afraid of thunderstorms.

Cali is not afraid of loud noises. The thunder itself is not what bothers her. But she can anticipate a storm that is miles away and hours in her future. She senses the approaching storm and paces, clings, and shakes. When the storm starts, she drools and shakes harder. She’s miserable. She is helped by aromatherapy, melatonin, CBD cookies, and lots of hugs and cuddling. Fortunately, we have all of those options available.

Cali’s fear of thunderstorms does not transfer to anything else. She regards fireworks with mild curiosity and hardly reacts to other loud noises.

Cali’s friend is afraid of thunder.

Cali’s friend shall not be named, as they fear career consequences if their (mild) phobia were to become known. However, this friend fears thunder. And fireworks. Presumably, the sonic booms and air raid sirens Jana grew up hearing frequently (in Israel) would send this dog around the bend.

It’s the noise. CBD cookies and melatonin don’t help much. Aromatherapy is hit or miss. Cuddling does help. So does hiding in the basement. This dog is grateful that they were not destined to become a gun dog.

It can be challenging to figure out what, exactly, a dog is worried about. Both dogs act the same way — clingy, trembling, maybe drooling. But they’re not reacting to the same thing. When the noise stops, “friend” is fine; when the air pressure changes back to non-storm normal, Cali is fine. Different problems; different solutions.

Actually, different problems, same solution: Cuddling!

2 thoughts on “Afraid of Thunder

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