Oct 22, 2021 Ipsita Sarkar

Phobias or extreme fears are not limited to humans. Animals, including your pet dogs and even stray dogs have their pet share of phobias and the so called ‘irrational’ fears. But why do they have them in the first place? What can be done about it? Let’s explore the different types of fears that can make your pet dogs fearful. The fear may manifest in different ways from cowering to drooling to barking to even becoming aggressive.


















Astraphobia or Fear of Thunder: During a thunderstorm, you might notice that a dog may have started trembling or getting flattened ears, wide eyes and a tucked tail. In a more extreme situation, dogs might even start hiding, becoming destructive, or might even urinate more often.

Fear of Fireworks: This fear also deals with the phobia of loud and unpredictable sound and light displays that can cause a dog to hide under hard roofed objects or even run away from their homes and get lost. In case of a severe phobia, particularly during the festival of Diwali, the dog might need to be sedated or treated with anti-anxiety medicines.


Fear of being Abandoned or Separation Anxiety: When left alone at home, dogs might show severe anxiety or restlessness manifested by tearing apart objects like wires, shoes, pillows, etc. or even excessive barking and house-breaking incidents. In this case, the dog owner might need to gradually bring changes in their behavior by being low-key while leaving and getting the dog accustomed to being alone for certain time durations may help.4.

Fear of the Veterinarian: Dogs may be afraid of the idea of visiting a vet as it might be associated with several unpleasant experiences such as strange odors, vaccines and medicines, rough handling and so on. It can be overcome by gradual socialization visits to the vet without getting any treatment involved, just for familiarization. After the vet visit, the dog can be rewarded with treats.

Fear of Strangers: A dog may be afraid of a person he sees or interacts with for the first time. As a result, they may not be comfortable in getting touched or appear in front of that person. It would be best to allow time to the dog to approach such people in their own time, as forcing a dog who is fearful may make him more aggressive.

Fear of Children: Dogs who have not been socialized with children at an early age may not be able to comprehend a child’s loud affectionate gestures, noisy or unco-ordinated movements, especially if they have not interacted with the child from a puppy phase. In such situations, it is advisable to introduce dogs to children of all ages right from their puppy age.

Fear of Specific Objects: Dogs might get stressed with the use of certain objects such as the exhaust fan, or the vacuum cleaner or a certain statue on the road. That might be due to a sound made by the object, or a smell associated with it that can disturb the dog’s senses. One could try out exposing the object to the dog in a slow and positive manner.

Conclusion: It is said that dogs are man’s best friend, but they don’t have words to express their love and care. We as humans need to rely on our wisdom and power of observation to recognize their fears and anxieties. While it is best to be near your pet when they are going through trauma or restlessness and console them, you could also address the issue by administering medication upon speaking to your veterinarian.







Ipsita supports STRAW India to create contents for humane education programs and also conducts great storytelling sessions for children. Education is her love and line of work. She is crazy about making teaching as creative, experiential and veered around the environment and animals, as far as possible. 

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Stray Relief and Animal Welfare (STRAW) India is a registered nonprofit /non-government organization and its focus is summed up in its motto, Animal Welfare through Education. It promotes empathy and compassion for all living beings and care for the environment by educating young people through its humane education programs and workshops.


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