Thunderstorm & Firework Phobia

Thunderstorm & Firework Phobia

Is-Your-Cat-Or-Dog-Afraid-of-Fireworks-Or-Thunderstorms-pets-pet-dogs-dogAnimals have a natural instinct to seek shelter when exposed to loud noises such as fireworks or thunderstorms.  During their attempt to escape, your pet may damage property, injure themselves or any person near them in an attempt to hide.  For this reason we DO NOT RECOMMEND trying to hold your pet back or prevent them from hiding as this may cause injury to you.  In order to deal with thunderstorm and firework anxiety it requires time and patience from both the owner and the pet.

Tips to deal with thunderstorm or firework anxiety:

  1. Provide a den for your pet where they can feel safe from the storm: we recommend placing this den in a room that your dog can feel safe in, with minimum noise and lightning from the storm.  The basement or a room without windows works best. 
  2. Ignore fearful behaviour: if you respond to your pet’s negative responses (such as whining, trembling and panting) you are only encouraging the behaviour.  Instead practice your dogs training commands and reward him when he responds to your commands.
  3. Walk your pet while it is still light out: this will help prevent the scary noise from occurring during a walk.
  4. Leave your pet at home: although it may be fun for us to go to watch the fireworks, this is not always the case with our pets.  Avoid bringing your pet with you where there will be fireworks set off.
  5. Provide a distraction: give your pet his favorite treat or an interactive toy to keep his mind off of the storm outside. HowItWorks
  6. Close the curtains: or cover the window with a blanket to minimize the visual aspects of the storm.
  7. Turn on the TV or the radio: to provide some distraction noise to help him forget about the storm outside.  You may also place a heavy comforter over the den or crate to help muffle sounds.
  8. Stay with your pet: animals feel more comfortable when their owners are with them during the storm.
  9. Thunder Shirt: this is a shirt that is snug to your pets body making them feel comfortable and safe. They can be found online or in some pet stores.
  10. Prescription medications: may be necessary to help your pet while we are counter-conditioning him to feel comfortable during storms.  Every animal responds differently to the medication so it is recommended to perform a trial of the medication on a sunny day.  Note the time the medication was given, when the first effects begins and how long it lasts.  Then you will know  how soon before the storm to give your pet the prescription.


We recommend leaving this room set up all of the time and never restricting access to this area.  If this room/area is only accessible during a storm then it may be connected to the negative feelings.  Allowing your pet to have access to this room at all times will allow him to become comfortable in this environment and will allow him to feel secure during the thunderstorm.  Some animals respond well to swaddling, much like a new born baby does.  This is where a Thunder Shirt ( ) may help your pet cope with the anxiety he feels during a storm.  Other products that may help are diffusers that release pheromones into the safe room.  These pheromones are the same ones that were released by the mother when the young animals are nursing.  This provides a comforting environment for your pet (

If your pet experiences a severe anxiety to loud noises it may be a phobia instead of simply a fear or anxiety.  For these severe cases a consultation with a behaviourist may be required to obtain the best results for the pet.

If you have any further questions, please call us at (519) 250-0099.


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