Does Your Dog Freak Out During Thunderstorms?

Jul 06, 06 Does Your Dog Freak Out During Thunderstorms?

My dog, Jake, is terrified of thunderstorms. If he could use a computer or TV controller, no doubt he’d be checking the weather reports every day. It’s uncanny. About an hour before a storm, he knows it’s coming way before we do. He’ll find a cozy space to hide, including trying to jump in the car.

These behaviors are noted in a Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine study: Thunderstorm Phobia in Dogs: An Internet Study of 69 Cases. Physical symptoms include an increase in heart rhythm and panting. Might EFT help dogs get over this fear?

Although it’s uncommon in cats, a lot of dogs have a thunderstorm phobia. (Also see Dogs and Thunderstorm Phobia, plus Help Your Pet Conquer Fear.) In cases like my dog, it’s not just thunderstorms that cause him to retreat, it’s sharp, loud or piercing noises. For example, bring out the chopper to cut up some onions and as soon as he sees the mechanical device, he leaves. But it can’t just be sounds that bug him. Like I said, he knows at least an hour before — in the “quiet before the storm.”

There is a theory that a static charge before and during thunderstorms is what triggers dogs to get upset. A fellow named Tom Critzer had a dog, Cody, who was so frightened during storms that Tom invented a product called the Storm Defender cape to help Cody. The cape has a special metallic lining that discharges the dog’s fur and shields him from the static charge buildup.

I’d love to tell you that I’ve had great success using EFT with my dog for this issue. Not so. I’ve tried EFT during storms and I haven’t had much luck. I’ve gently tapped on Jake directly and also done surrogate or proxy tapping. To be fair, I haven’t been been persistent nor specific enough. I’ve read several articles where people have used EFT with their animals and had very positive results.

For a better understanding of using EFT with pets, I suggest reading Sylvia Hartmann’s article, What is Animal EFT? Also visit Energy Healing for All Animals.

One idea that I had was that if thunderstorms create a buildup of static electricity, perhaps EFT can be an effective way to release excess energy. What about doing surrogate tapping before and after weather storms?

These are just a few thoughts on using EFT for dogs and other animals with a fear of thunderstorms. I’d be interested in hearing from people who have used EFT with animals and had good success. I know you’re out there!


  1. Lol, I didn’t even KNOW other dogs freaked out during thunderstorms. We always just thought that our dog, Sparky, was a….




    Cat. (only she’s not a cat… lol)

    She’s by my side right now, as there’s a severe thunderstorm around this area (I live in NH), she’s panting really heavily, and she’s REALLY scared, she’s not whining yet, but she probably will later.

  2. Thanks for your article! I have found working with a holistic approach can work wonders.

    I sometimes suggest working with an experienced Tellington Touch practitioner along with the use of Flower Essence formulas, energy medicine and counseling. I really like Spirit Essences – developed by a veterinarian and behaviorist – they have a formula for thunderstorm phobia.

    The best time to EFT tap is before the storm, at a neutral time. Also helpful – stay in a calm, grounded energy, and tell the animal, you are safe .. better than “it’s OK.” Try making it fun – you are all safe together in the cave, it’s a cool adventure.

    Things to avoid – feeding the fear with high pitched talk. “Flooding” their emotional body with too much empathy – matching their fear – and “poor baby” may trigger secondary gain – getting attention by being scared. . The key is to be neutral, grounded, and a good role model for confidence when the storm is underway.

    Animals are intelligent, and they like routine. Explaining to them what is happening and that they are safe can work wonders. It also helps to discover from the animal if there is another association to the noise or pressure drop in the weather that’s being triggered, and resolve that. Good luck!

  3. jim nagle /

    i heard about using an anti-static sheet that goes into the clothes dryer. i rub it all over my dog when a thunderstorm is coming and before, when he would hide in the bathroom, today he is fine and the thunder doesn’t bother him. a very effective and inexpensive solution.

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