Common Fears And Phobias In Dogs

Common Fears and Phobias in Dogs

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Dogs are a lot like humans, in a way. A lot of them have similar feelings and thought processes when it comes to their fears and phobias.

Sometimes, both canines and humans share comparable things that they’re scared of, despite the differences in our lifestyles and personalities. It’s scientifically proven that the average dog can hear sound at frequencies at least three times higher than the common human, which can cause them distress.

When owning a dog, it’s hard to see your four-legged friend when they’re scared, so we’ve compiled a list of things your dog may be scared of, and how you can help to combat them.

Fireworks and Thunder

When it comes to thinking of things that your dog may be scared of, fireworks and thunder can often be the first thing on people’s minds. Loud noises are usually a no-go when it comes to our pets and their lists of things that they don’t like. Usually, thunder is paired with visible lightning, which can cause your dog distress with the flashing lights, similar to fireworks.

It comes to nobody’s surprise that for some dogs, days like Independence Day and Labor Day can be their worst nightmare, despite the day meaning so much to us. The fact of the matter is, they don’t understand what fireworks are and whether they’re going to hurt the dog, or where the sound is coming from. It can be tough to keep your dog calm during these days, but there are ways around it.

Common Fears And Phobias In Dogs

As previously mentioned, the main thing that dogs don’t like about fireworks and thunder is the loud noises. If you have a soundproofed room, then you could set your dog up in there with some comfy pillows and some calming mood lighting.

The most important thing is to keep them calm. Other dogs will be fine with a soft scarf or some ear muffs covering their ears. The loud noises then seem a lot less sensitive on their eardrums and can keep them from stressing out.

Vacuum Cleaners

One of the more light-hearted things on this list is the fact that our dogs hate vacuum cleaners. It’s kind of funny that something so helpful to us around the house can be seen as one of the evilest things in existence to our furry companions.

The loud noises of the machinery and the constant humming of the air being sucked up into the device can cause a lot of anxiety for our pups. However, there are things you can do to prevent your dog from being uncomfortable.

Common Fears And Phobias In Dogs

Technology nowadays is incredible and vacuum cleaners are becoming better-developed every day. You can now get low-sound and silent models of the devices, which can help to keep your dog from barking and freaking out.

If you can’t afford a new cleaning tool, however, then moving your dog to a separate room on the other side of the house can be beneficial. Alternatively, if your dog has more than one owner then one of you could walk your pup whilst the other cleans. Teamwork!


It’s a hard one to talk about, but unfortunately, some dogs have a lot of issues with abandonment and being left alone. This can be because previous owners haven’t treated them with the care they deserve, but a lot of the time young dogs can just get confused with where their owners are heading off to.

Whether you’re just popping out to get some groceries or you’re heading to work, your dog can’t tell the difference.

There are a few ways to try and limit the stress that your dog can get from this. For example, sometimes it’s a case of using tough love to show your dog that you’re not going anywhere, not long-term anyway.

As a puppy, your dog will need to learn to entertain themselves sometimes, so leaving them for short periods can get them used to the situation. However, it’s recommended that you leave them in a smaller space so they don’t feel too overwhelmed by a big empty house. Leaving them in a comfy space with their toys and some food can make them feel more comfortable.

On the other hand, taking your dog with you to the coffee shop or for a drive can be a great bonding session. There’s nothing to say that you have to leave them alone, a lot of people who work from home are usually around most of the time. Taking your dog with you can be a great way of keeping the owner/pet relationship strong and happy.

Trips to the Vet

One thing that we can associate with dogs, is that trips to the doctors or the dentist can be extremely stressful. However, for dogs, it’s a lot worse because they don’t know what they’re going for.

Common Fears And Phobias In Dogs

For example, early in a pup’s life, they’ll usually pay a visit to the vets for shots to keep them protected against diseases and other illnesses. This can be painful for young canines and can leave them wanting to do anything else than go back.

A lot of the time, the mere mention of the word ‘vet’ can send your pet into a spiral’, whether they’re having a tantrum of sorts or feeling sorry for themselves. 

Sometimes the best thing to do is to give them treats. Giving them a positive to take away from the experience can give them more incentive to do what needs to be done.

On the other hand, kind and comforting behavior can persuade them to stay calm, even if on the outside they’re kicking up a fuss. Additionally, stopping off at their favorite park or taking them to the beach can be a great way of relieving their stress.

Fear of the Stairs

It may sound a bit bizarre but most dog owners will know that at some stage in their life, a dog will most likely have difficulty navigating its way up and down the stairs. Especially as a puppy, the stairs can be the literal definition of turning a molehill into a mountain, becoming more and more daunting as time passes before they learn how to use them properly.

A lot of the time this fear is referred to as a lack of early socialization, by putting it off for too long.

Common Fears And Phobias In Dogs

There are ways to beat this phobia and the easiest is to teach your pup how to get up and down the stairway. Sometimes this can involve having to get on your hands and knees and showing them by example.

Older dogs may be hesitant to use the stairs if they have arthritis or other health issues, so it can be helpful to install a stairlift if they need to get up and down.

With lots of positive reinforcement and some love and care, your dog can get over this fear if you’re there to help them.

Final Thoughts

Dogs are always going to have certain fears and phobias, however, they might not have all of the ones mentioned on this list. Most of the time, encouragement and positive energy can make all the difference. Knowing that their best friend is around to help them get past these anxieties can mean the world to them, even if it doesn’t seem like you’re doing much.

When you have to do things to change how they’re feeling, such as buying new items to help, it all comes down to how much you think it will help. If you can find cheaper, more effective ways to help keep your dog stress-free, then it’s worth researching before you jump into the deep end.

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