With the summer storm and firework season approaching, it is important to be able to recognize any signs your pet is exhibiting that may indicate they have a fear of loud noises. It is also significant to understand their behavior and know what you can do to help them.
How Do I Know If My Pet Is Afraid?
When your pet is anxious about loud noises they can exhibit many different signs that can range from mild to severe. If you see your pet exhibiting any of the following signs, it is a good indicator they are anxious and may need some support:
⦁ Shaking and clinging to you
⦁ Panting more than usual
⦁ Pacing and circling
⦁ Whining and barking
⦁ Hiding or exhibiting escaping behavior
⦁ Destructive behavior such as chewing
Each pet is different and will react in their own unique way. Some pets are able to tolerate loud noises as long as they are next to their owner. The pet may just pant a little more than usual, while some pets may exhibit extreme panic behavior such as running away.
Paws to consider: Fear of loud noises can affect any pet but it is more common in dogs.
Why Is My Pet Afraid?
There have not been many studies done to determine the actual reason why pets are fearful of loud noises, but it is more than likely a result, dogs in particular, of their very sensitive hearing and ability to hear at much higher frequencies than we do. When it comes to storms, pets are very intuitive creatures and are able to sense a change in barometric pressure and electrostatic disturbances. Also, the lightning and smells produced from a storm can disturb your pet just as much as thunder. It is important to remember that noise phobias do not necessarily just mean storms or fireworks; they can be associated with other loud noises such as gunshots, construction, loud car noises, or sounds from a television.
Paws to consider: Often times a fear can develop even if your pet has had not traumatic experiences associated with loud noises.
What Can I Do?
There are several ways to help ease your pets fear. If your pet is afraid of loud noises minimize their exposure to fireworks displays or avoid going into a storm. Some think that if a pet is continuously exposed to what they are afraid of, they will eventually be de-sensitized and the fear will go away. This is called flooding, which is inhumane and does not work.
You want to create a safe and comfortable place for your pet to be able to escape to. Preferably it would be an area with no windows and as quiet as possible. Make the area relaxing and familiar by including their favorite toys, bed, blankets, etc. Make sure this safe haven is accessible at all times and your pet has the option to enter and exit as they please. If you lock your pet up during a time they are fearful they could potentially hurt themselves trying to escape.
There is also a wide range of products available to help manage your pets fear. Two that we recommend are Feliway and Adaptil. Both of these products work by releasing calming pheromones that mimic the pheromones their mother released when they were babies to help ease anxiety and fear and make them more comfortable. Both come in the form of a diffuser that plugs into your outlet or in a collar. Another product we recommend is the Thunder Shirt, which is a slightly compressive coat that provides comfort similar to swaddling an infant. If these types of tools do not work, you can talk with your veterinarian about possible behavior modifications or if necessary, discuss medical treatments if appropriate.
Paws to consider: Like a child, you should never force your pet to do anything or be in a situation that might scare them.
This month we are offering a 10% discount on all Adaptil and Feliway products. Give us a call at 720-851-0820 today to get more information or just stop on by the clinic!
The Veterinary Center of Parker, Inc. is pawsitively excited to bring you Pet Tips & Advice. With each issue we hope to bring you a bit of information that you will find useful for you and your pet.
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