Noise Aversion in Dogs - How can we help?

Posted:  Tue, 07/25/2017 - 3:15pm
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It’s that time of year again - fireworks and thunderstorms - not everyone enjoys what summer brings!

 

Noise Aversion in Dogs

How to recognize and help your furry friends deal with noise phobia!

What it is:

Noise aversion is a fearful or anxious response to sounds in the environment.

-          Thunderstorms, fireworks, gunshots, shrieking, engine noises, slamming doors, etc.

The dogs who experience this want to get away.

 Signs:

-          Excessive panting/salivation

-          Vocalization

-          Trembling/pacing/freezing

-          Uncontrolled urination/defecation

-          Destructive behavior

-          Hiding

How to Help:

There are many different methods for treating and controlling the symptoms of noise phobia in dogs, and some breeds are more susceptible to the phobia than others. The best time to treat noise aversion is when you first notice the signs- here are some helpful strategies:

-          Environmental management: Securing the dog in a safe location where it is exposed to less of the frightening sound. Darkened rooms/closet floors/ spaces under desks or tables can be calming to the animal. If it is crate trained & voluntarily goes into the crate trying draping a blanket to help isolate the dog. If it is not crate trained or fearful of the crate do NOT use it- this could make phobia worse.

-          Desensitizing: Play sounds that the dog is afraid of at low volume to help adjust (do not do this during the event – do it when dog is happy, comfortable and relaxed.) This works best in the beginning stages of noise phobia.

-          Dog Appeasing Pheromones: Diffusers and collars are available with natural pheromones that a mother dog releases to calm and reassure her pups.

-          Pressure: As to not REINFORCE the phobic behavior, do not try to comfort your dog with petting. This will only let them know that the behavior they are presenting is “okay”. Trying gently leaning on your dog in a dark and safe place without petting or rubbing. This may be able to calm the dog and you will feel muscles become relaxed. Thunder Shirts apply a constant, gentle pressure that is reassuring to dogs.

 

If these methods do not work, you can always talk to your regular veterinarian regarding medications that can help ease your dog through the traumatic event so that it doesn’t hurt itself or others. 

 

Sources:

Veterinarymedicine.dvm360.com/canine-noise-aversion-sound-and-worry

Healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2011/02/01/how-to-help-a-dog-with-noise-phobia.aspx