With summer storm and firework season right around the corner, it is important to be able to identify if your pet is afraid of loud noises and to understand your pet’s behavior to help ease their fear if needed.
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 need a little extra TLC (Tender Loving Care):
- 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 and it is in humane 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. Give them 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 are also tools available to help ease your pets fear. For example, there is a product called the thunder shirt, which is a slightly compressive coat that provides comfort similar to swaddling an infant. There is also Adpatil, which comes in the form of a collar or diffuser and works by releasing calming pheromones to help ease pets anxiety. 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.
If you think your pet is experiencing a fear of loud noises we would love to talk to you and discuss the best course of action for you and your pet. Give us a call at 720-851-0820 today to get more information.