My dog fears thunder

My faithful 12 year old spayed Dalmation bitch has in the last year or so become afraid of thunder.
I don’t understand this at all. She has been with me since weaning and never acted this way before. Lately she has cowered and shivered almost uncontrollably when it thunders. She will stay as close to me as she can until it stops.
Any thoughts on this?
BTW- She is about half blind and nearly deaf, conditions I am told are typical of the breed in old age.

She may have had a scare from a loud noise and now associates the sound of thunder with the scare she had?

What do you tend to do when she acts this way?

That’s nothing! My dog is afraid of ANY “pop” noise, from fireworks, thunder, and gunshots to fucking BUBBLEGUM and soda cans being opened.

If I had to guess about why your dog started suddenly being afraid of thunder, I would say her eyesight might be bad. One other animal that I know became afraid of strange noises after she developed severe eyesight problems (a cat, though), and I assume it’s because she wasn’t able to check out the area and see that it’s safe as easily as before.


They tend to be skittish.
A Purebred?

I talk to her and pet her when she is trembling. I am sure old age is partly to blame, and I know her eyesight is poor.
I am afraid she is not going to last many more years.

My little dog has always been like this when there are fireworks, and also whenever anyone pops or even blows up a balloon. She trembles uncontrollably and latches onto anyone she can find and emits a sort of sick smell. I don’t understand the balloon thing, but it’s still heartbreaking. She’s about a decade old.

I am not a vet, but I currently have a dog who has this problem… Actually, it seems fairly common for dogs to develop a fear of thunder or loud noises as they get older, even if they had never been the slightest bit skiddish before.
I don’t think it’s known exactly why this happens, but my vet’s theory is that declining vision and hearing eventually reach a point where the dog can no longer discern which loud noises are a threat, and which are normal.

If your dog wishes to be with you when she’s scared, that’s fine… but she’s probably looking for a pack leader to reassure her, not someone to baby her… so don’t overdo the petting… it’s typically suggested to let the dog be beside you if they wish, but that the humans should act as if everything is normal. Since dogs have such a strong pack instinct, the fact that the leader isn’t concerned can go a long way.
Alternatively, if she’s not currently using a crate, you may want to consider providing her with someplace to “den” especially if it’s likely that there could be storms when she is home without you. Dens naturally make dogs feel safe, so making an open crate with a blanket over it and some comfy bedding inside available to her may help the anxiety (even a box, or a protected corner between or behind furniture can work as a den if you do not have a crate or if she fears crates).
If the anxiety gets unmanagable by these types of measures, talk to your vet… as I said, this type of thing is not uncommon, and typically, the vet can perscribe a mild tranquilizer or seditive to help the dog get through bad storms without suffering too much.

We had a Dalmatian when I was a kid. He was a good fella, not the friendliest guy in the world but incredibly loyal and playful when he had a mind to be. One day, out of nowhere, he totally snapped, had a full on panic attack, and shredded an entire room while trying to literally climb the walls. Weirdest dog-related thing I’ve ever witnessed, and quite scary. He was on sedatives for the rest of his life so that he could sleep through the night without freaking out.

Looking back, this was probably not the most helpful or reassuring thing I could have posted, but I feel mildly useful!

My dog is scared of the dark. I’ve never a dog behave like that before.


Thanks for the comments. I think I will just put it down to old age and keep her happy as long as she lives. She is the best behaved dog I have ever had.

Our is terrified of thunder. It thundered for five hours last night.

My dog is reduced to a pile of jelly at any and every loud noise. Trains, planes, motorcycles(oh god motorcycles), firecrackers and thunder will pretty much give her an instant panic attack that you have to shake her out of. I never baby her, figuring something like what Pandora said is the best way to go.

She’s also terrified of movement in the dark. She once barked and howled for 10 minutes straight before I was fed up enough to go downstairs and check on her. The culprit: an earthworm. Yeah I feel real safe knowing she’s around to guard at night. :stuck_out_tongue: