Our dog, a mix of golden retriever and collie, gets VERY anxious during thunderstorms. Shivering, with his head down between his paws, he likes to hide behind the Mrs, and wants comfort. If she’s absent, the dog (unaptly named Storm by previous owners) will settle for me.
This is a first for us; our previous canines seemed indifferent to the lightning and thunder. However, we were not unaware of the phenomenon of dogs being terrified by the booming of a storm (or fireworks). And we have no real difficulty in comforting our hound when these events occur.
But this did get me to wondering. What other animals react in this manner to thunder? Our cat certainly doesn’t, but do some cats exhibit distress? How about parrots? Horses? What’s the straight dope on animals being terrified by loud noises?
I don’t know of any other animals. I do know that Lily the Bichon (RIP) would sometimes growl or bark back at the thunder, but she wasn’t noticeably distressed by it. So, I guess it depends upon the breed, and perhaps even the individual dog.
Horses, absolutely. Like dogs, you’ll see a variety of reactions, but some horses really don’t like bad weather. I had one that stood in his stall with his head down and rocked. Not his favorite thing at all.
Most of my cats have been indifferent to thunder. A couple have even seemed to enjoy storm watching (I think they caught it off me). One particular storm-watching pair also watched fireworks. I had one rescue cat however who was scared of a few odd things, like touching newspaper and having plates held above his head He was scared of thunder and normally waited out storms hiding under the bed in the spare room.
This one time I was painting in the front bedroom during a storm and enjoying the view through the window. Halo as usual was under the bed in the back room and my other cat was hanging out with me. Then there was a tremendous crack of thunder simultaneous with its lightning strike - I found out later that next door’s modem got fried, that close. It scared me. Next thing I knew I was huddled on the spare room bed, heart pounding, just above where Halo was. The other cat had come in there too and we all stayed together until that storm passed.
Carson the Cow/Shepherd mix isn’t bothered by the storms, but is absolutely terrified of fireworks and gunshots.
Alvin the Bernese Mountain Dog is terrified of Thunder, fireworks and gunshots don’t seem to bother him.
Gunner the Great Dane is not scared of anything. In fact when I go shooting he actually seems to live the boom. (I purchased doggie hearing protection for him to war when he goes to the range with me. )
Our houses and donkeys don’t seem to care about storms, but hate gunshots.
I have heard that bears may go on a rampage as a result of thunderstorms. I don’t know if that’s anxiety, I don’t even know if it’s true. But I have see credible reports that black bears get struck by lightning often because they hang out in trees a lot.
I can say from experience(s) w/ Nanday Conure, a Monk parrot, and an Umbrella Cockatoo that none of them liked thunder. I live in dead-center of Tornado Alley and have had to go underground with all three of birds a number of times, and even without the thunder/rain/windshears (etc), they did NOT like the changing of weather. Not at all!
They often kind of gave a heads up to family before we even noticed the impendinding change of weather by squawking/irritability and just plain old being PITA’s. It was a sure signal to turn on TV and listen to the storm-chasers that were always on the local channels (when birds all acted up like that anyways.)
I am thinking that it is similar to the huge radar imaging of birds fleeing the epicenter area of the not-long-ago earthquake in northern OK. Quite intriguing.
My Buffy was freaking terrified of thunderstorms. She’d always hunch really low to the floor, and then squeeze herself under the sofa. (No mean feat, considering she was freaking huge) And she wouldn’t come out right away after the storm was over, either.
She used to get the same way about fireworks. Poor kitty.
I had a cat who would head for the basement at the first distant sound of thunder, and stay there until the storm was all gone. Now he was a cat who just wandered into our yard one day, so maybe he’d had a bad experience, but…he didn’t like storms.
The dog isn’t particularly bothered, unless it’s really windy. (Or when WE start getting bothered.) But I have had dogs who were.
My chinchilla hates thunder. I usually just cuddle him on the couch if I am at home. If I don’t, he just hides in his little house. He also doesn’t like strangers in general. He never reacts to me or my daughters except in a loving way like a perpetual puppy but, he literally screams if someone he doesn’t know comes in. You wouldn’t think a medium sized rodent would have that much self-awareness but I can promise you that many chinchillas do. I think they are acutely attuned to danger because of their prey status and potentially very long life-span (20 years) if they play it safe.