The use of dragons in the Napoleonic Wars. Imagine what it would be like to be on a ship that's destroyed at the hands of a dragon, particularly one that spits acid.
Heck, the spitting acid is disturbing enough. A random french dragon gets hit in the face with a lot of acid towards the end of His Majesty's Dragon, forcing her captain to Mercy Kill her before things can get any nastier. And one of Lily's harness-men dies in Empire of Ivory by falling from a cliff after acid in a handhold destroys his hand.
Traditional dragonfire is no treat either, but at least you tend to die horribly faster.
Black Powder War shows that Ground combat can be leagues more horrifying; as dragons abscond with entire cavalry units, and gouge bloody furrows through rifle companies.
Novik reaches a new level in Blood of Tyrants. Russian ferals are kept on the brink of starvation, and their wings are kept chained so they can't even fly away. A clever French officer gets the idea of turning the starving ferals into a weapon by unchaining them and setting them loose. The dragons are so savage that they actually begin to eat the wounded (human) soldiers - something no sane dragon has been seen to do in the series.
The plague. Lenton has a Heroic BSOD when Obversaria dies, and after one finds out the details, one doesn't blame him in the slightest.
The bunyips in The Tongues of Serpents live in the Australian desert, lurking underground beneath special pit traps and strike like giant, reptilian trapdoor spiders, snatching people away before they even have time to scream and often so fast that no one around them even notices.
The fact that they are intelligent enough to communicate between lairs and prepare traps for dragons too big to attack directly add to the fuel. YMMV on if their ability to comprehend and willingness to accept bribes mitigates things or adds even more to it.
The attack of the sea serpents in the sixth book. Just try to imagine scores of large, hungry, bloodthirsty sea serpents descending on a small fleet and twining and coiling around the ships. It was so grisly that the ones who provoked the sea serpents to attack aided in rescue efforts.
Laurence could see directly down into its jaws and throat... a pallid hand within desperately clinging to the tissue of the gullet, a face bloodied but not yet senseless gazing up at him in utter horror...
The aftermath of the Allegiance's destruction in Crucible of Gold. Three dragons flying for three days straight over the open ocean with next to no rest, 200 or so passengers between them, and no water is at best an extended Oh, Crap moment for the reader.