I was reading through some pet forums the other day and the same topic kept appearing – “Help! My dog is afraid of the dark”. I’ll be honest, I had never heard of this issue with dog owners but there were tons of replies with people sharing their story.
One user wrote “My border collie is afraid of the dark. At about 6 months of age she started wetting her crate at night and freaking out for no reason. We accidently left a light on over the sink one night and when we woke up the next morning there was no mess in the crate and she had slept through the night.”
So, what makes dogs afraid of the dark? Well there are a number of possibilities. Dogs perceive the world differently from us and have a stronger sense of smell, more sensitive hearing and better night vision. So, if your pet is behaving differently when there are no lights on, they could just be processing information about the different sounds and smells that go unnoticed to us. Another reason could be a reoccurring fear from a past experience.
One user in America wrote “We left our dog Molly at home on the 4th of July and forgot to leave the light on. When we got back from our celebrations, we found her under the table shaking like a leaf and she had messed all over the floor even though she’s house trained. Now we have to leave a light on for her every night or else she won’t stop whining and barking”. In this case, the dog associated the dark with the noise of fireworks, and therefore had developed a fear.
So what can you do if you think your dog is afraid of the dark?
Well firstly, if the behaviour has only started recently, then a visit to the vet is recommended to rule out any physical health problems. If all is clear, then try monitoring your dog to see if anything triggers their fear. If there are no apparent reasons and it’s not causing any related issues such as aggression, then it may just be down to their delicate senses.
Is your dog afraid of the dark? Do you have to leave a light on for them to sleep peacefully?
Let us know!