There’s more to thunder than the big loud sound. Experts have found that dogs have a very valid fear of what seems like a simple, natural phenomenon to us. While both humans and dogs experience thunder in similar ways, our beloved canine pals are more sensitive to it. Here’s a breakdown of why they hate that cracking noise so much.
Lower Barometric Pressure May Hurt
Yes, they can not only sense lower atmospheric pressure but they possibly can feel it. Higher pressure prevents tissues from expanding, even on humans. When pressure drops, which is what happens when thunder occurs, it gives more room for tissues to expand. Unfortunately, this also stresses our nerves as well as other body parts.
This is why it’s possible your dog may feel sore whenever there’s thunder. Just like people with joint problems, they’re more sensitive to the changes in barometric pressure. The pain may not be unbearable but it could be enough for them to worry.
Static Build-Up in Fur
Two factors affect the amount of static created in your dog’s coat: first is the length of their fur, and second is the length of their bodies. The bigger the dog, the longer their body is, and the more fur they have, the more static they’re going to experience.
You know that feeling when you get a little shock when you touch a doorknob, or when your arm lightly touches someone else’s? That is an effect of static electricity, which could build up in your dog’s fur during a thunderstorm.
How to Comfort You Frightened Dog
The theory is that the metal pipes in the bathroom or the basement reduce electrical charge in the area, which rids some of the static your dog is experiencing. This would explain why they’d jump into a tub or the sink.
First step to getting them to calm down is to allow them to be where they feel safest. Next is doing what you can to make them comfortable. It helps to prepare an anti-static blanket or cloth, and rub it on them. An anti-static jacket is also an option. Having their own special place of comfort tends to works best. A comfortable bed that is familiar to them can act as a safe haven during times of stress. Some dog beds such as the Dog Friendly Co. Orthopedic Bed can have a calming effect through the infusion of lavender within the mattress.
Dogs surprisingly have very good reason for panicking during thunder. Add in the thundering—pun intended—boom overhead, and the darkened skies, we don’t blame them for feeling alarmed. What’s important is to be there for them, understand why, and provide them with what they need to feel protected.