Why are dogs afraid of thunder
If you have had experience with a dog that hides during thunderstorms, then you probably know that dogs may indeed acquire a fear of thunder. I use the term acquire because it has been observed that some dogs are not always afraid of thunder when they are young, but they develop the fear as a few years of their lives pass by. Whatever the age may be, the reason why dogs are afraid of thunder is possibly related to their ears which are capable of picking up both ultra-sonic as well as infra-sonic sound waves. The sound of thunder is an extremely loud sound even for much less sensitive human ears, therefore it can be estimated that the noise hits the hyper-sensitive ear drums of a dog very harshly and suddenly.
Sudden and unpredictable nature of thunder also plays a role in scaring the dogs as they find that not only is the sound extremely loud, it is also sudden and non-rhythmic, thus their brains do not get enough time to build up a resistance or a feeling of being used to. The heavy impact probably hurts the ears temporarily as well as affecting them psychologically. This theory also explains why a loud firecracker often has the same effect. The psychological effect can be observed as the fear of loud sounds visibly grows within the dog’s psyche with passing years.
Although all dogs are not subject to this fear of thunder, if you happen to own one with such a fear factor, then you really need to deal with the problem. Dogs may run aimlessly in trauma, breaking chains or anything in their way and sometimes they may even run in the way of a speeding vehicle. Try to train your dog by making sure that he is used to the noise of thunder, that is, you can play loud sounds to it often in a careful manner or while engaged in a regular fun activity. The point of this exercise is to make the loud noise seem fun or just casual instead of fearful. If this does not work though, you may have to consult veterinarians with knowledge and experience in this matter.