How do dogs sense thunderstorms?

How do dogs sense thunderstorms?

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Have you ever wondered if your dog actually has the ability to sense thunderstorms? Well, wonder no more, because the answer is that they do, dogs can sense thunderstorms. 

But not because they have the superpower of seeing the future and should be part of the cast in the next Marvel movie, oh no. There is a logical reason behind this ability. If you want to find out how your dog can sense thunderstorms even before the weather guy, keep reading. 

Signs your dog can sense thunderstorms

If you are not sure whether your pup has this super ability or not, check if they display these behaviors before a thunderstorm takes place. Of course, not every pup will show every sign of the list, these are just all the possibilities. Your pup may only do one.


If your dog can sense a thunderstorm and they are not too fond of them, they might start hiding before they take place. They can take refuge under your bed, in the bathtub or in any place they feel safe. 


This is an escalated version of the previous sign. If your pup is too scared of thunderstorms, they might run away when they start to sense it coming. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important that your dog has an identifying tag on them. 

Stays near you

If you see that your dog is following you everywhere you go, puts their paw on you seeking attention and hangs out wherever you are more often than usual, they might be sensing a storm. They know something big is coming and they seek refuge in you. 

Subtle physical signs

There are some signs that might be harder to notice since they are extremely subtle, such as frantically twitching their nose to smell the change in the air and pricking up their ears to listen to distant thunders. 


This is a sign many pups show when they sense a thunderstorm is coming. They usually stand near a window, on the balcony or go outside the house to howl at the sky. 

Anxiety symptoms

Astrophobia is the fear of thunder and lighting, and many dogs have it. This results in them suffering anxiety symptoms such as whining, excessive panting, shivering, shaking and destructive behavior, such as destroying furniture and going potty inside the house. Your pup can start showing these signs when they sense a thunderstorm coming. 

Nevertheless, there are some things you can do to help your pup deal with this phobia, to help them ease these anxiety symptoms, try giving them calming treats and prepare an anxiety-free kit. 

How can dogs sense thunderstorms

But, how does this all happen? How do dogs sense thunderstorms? Well, their senses allow them to. As you probably know by now, your pup’s sense of smell is much better than yours, and in general, dogs have much more accurate senses than we do, allowing them to feel when a thunderstorm is coming.


Dogs’ incredible sense of hearing can pick up thunder long before the storm starts. This also means that when we hear the thunders, they hear them at a much louder volume, which explains why some pups are scared of them. 


Their enhanced sense of smell also helps them know when a thunderstorm is coming. Of course we won’t perceive this subtle fragrance our pups are smelling, but for them, it will be a key indicator that a storm is on its way.


Many scientists say that dogs’ sensitivity to the static electricity caused by lighting is the actual root of their ability to sense storms. What they do is detect the variations in the electrostatic charges of the atmosphere. Moreover, expert animal behaviorists from the Commings School of Veterinary Medicine explain that animals can experience shock from the electricity in lighting, which helps us to understand why some dogs seek shelter when a thunderstorm is coming.


Another key factor that allows dogs to sense a storm is that they can feel the changes in the barometric pressure. What does this mean? Well, before a storm, the pressure in the air changes, and this lets dogs know that a storm is coming, that something in the weather is changing.

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