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Why Does My Dog Bark At Thunder? 7 Possible Explanations

Does your dog bark whenever distant thunder begins to rumble? It might be irritating to tolerate a barking dog. Some individuals find thunderstorms to be soothing, while others find them to be terrifying.

A dog's barking merely serves to make the situation uncomfortable. But, there are numerous reasons why your dog may bark at thunder.

By understanding these factors, you'll be able to determine what your dog may require from you during severe weather.

For further explanation, continue reading "Why Does My Dog Bark At Thunder? 7 Possible Explanations" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org).

The 7 Likely Reasons Why a Dog Barks at a Thunder

1. Fear

  • Kind of reaction: Instinctual
  • Ways to assist: Provide comfort and reassurance

Imagine how terrifying the sound of thunder may be for a dog when you consider that individuals who understand what thunder is sometimes find it frightening!

No amount of explanation will help your dog comprehend the source of the loud pounding sounds outdoors, making thunder a terrifying experience for your pet.

They don’t comprehend what they’re hearing since they can’t see anything related with it, unless you count lightning and rain, which some dogs also find frightening.

Often, if your dog is afraid of thunder, they will display other behaviors, such as pacing and panting. During storms, provide your dog lots of reassurance and comfort, along with a nice spot to rest.

2. Discomfort

  • Kind of reaction: Physiological
  • Ways to assist: Provide a comfortable space

Dogs are more sensitive than humans to the barometric pressure fluctuations associated with storms. This might cause your dog to experience considerable discomfort anytime a storm strikes or approaches.

Your dog can feel variations in atmospheric pressure, and this discomfort may cause him to bark out of perplexity or overall discomfort. This is especially likely if your dog has medical issues, such as arthritis, that can be aggravated by pressure shifts.

There is nothing you can do to alleviate your dog’s distress, but providing them with a pleasant and peaceful place to rest during the storm may make a significant impact. If you believe your dog is experiencing pressure-related pain, see your veterinarian about treatment options.

3. Instinct

  • Kind of reaction: Instinctual
  • Ways to assist: Provide comfort and reassurance

For wildlife, loud noises can be fatal. Consider all the natural causes of loud noises, from stampedes to falling boulders and trees. These instincts included a fight-or-flight response to loud stimuli, which allowed early dogs to survive and remain secure.

These reflexes are mostly redundant for survival in contemporary dogs, which might cause certain dogs to bark during natural phenomena such as thunderstorms.

Making your dog feel secure during storms and attempting to lessen your own tension and anxiety may be of great assistance.

4. Protection

  • Kind of reaction: Instinctual, environmental
  • Ways to assist: Reduce your stress, Provide reassurance

Some dogs feel the urge to defend their family anytime they hear loud noises; your dog may howl in response to thunder in an effort to protect you from something they cannot see.

This is a combination of anxiety, tension, and instinct, and dogs who have had to defend their owners during loud events may feel more compelled to bark during storms.

By minimizing your own anxiety and offering ample reassurance to your dog, you may be able to alleviate their fear of thunder and teach them that you are safe.

5. Dislike of Rain

  • Kind of reaction: Physiological
  • Ways to assist: Positive reinforcement

Some canines have intense thoughts about rain. If your dog dislikes rain and equates thunder with rain, he or she may bark at the sound of thunder in an attempt to “prevent” rain from falling.

Some dogs dread getting their feet wet or being rained on in general, while others may equate getting rained on with things like bathing.

There is nothing you can do if your dog has a storm-related phobia, but providing positive reinforcement when your dog walks into the rain for a little bathroom break will help him overcome this anxiety.

6. Negative Experiences

  • Kind of reaction: Environmental
  • Ways to assist: Provide comfort and reassurance

If your dog has had terrible experiences especially connected to storms, such as being left outside in a storm overnight, or related to loud noises, such as fireworks, it is likely that he will bark at thunder out of fear or uncertainty over the noise itself. This is distinct from a storm-related instinctive terror reaction.

If your dog has had a poor experience with storms or loud noises, you may need to offer him with additional comfort, reassurance, and a peaceful, quiet location to spend time in order for him to feel secure and confident.

7. Your Anxiety

  • Kind of reaction: Instinctual
  • Ways to assist: Reduce your anxiety

This may be the most hardest to resolve, as it depends nearly totally on your emotional management.

Dogs are extremely sensitive to human emotions, and many humans experience dread and worry during storms. If you have anxiety during storms or when it thunders, your dog may quickly detect your discomfort.

When we are concerned, our dogs get apprehensive, most often because they perceive a threat they are unaware of. By distracting yourself and reducing your tension during storms, you may make your dog feel more comfortable and relaxed.


Why Does My Dog Bark At Thunder? 7 Possible Explanations” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) shown that barking during storms or in response to thunder is not an uncommon response for a dog, but it can be unpleasant behavior.

It may take time to determine the cause or causes of your dog’s thunder-related barking, but once you do, you will be better equipped to help your dog overcome the tendency.

A veterinarian or a dog trainer who specializes in behavior modification will likely be able to help you narrow down the causes if you are ever uncertain.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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