With noisy holidays around the corner and already past – there are a few of us that have dogs that just don’t like all that racket.  You know the ones I’m talking about – the ones that hide, cower or just completely avoid a noisy situation where they don’t feel comfortable.  For some it’s just uncomfortable – for others it’s stressful or downright terrifying.

There are several ways to helps with these noise phobias.  Most dogs can be helped by behavioral modification, some may need more help in the form of a calming serum (some places like Rescue Remedy make such a product), or for even more terrified dogs, drugs from your vet may be needed.  It’s always recommended to use drugs as the last resort – going towards behavioral modification and natural calming products first.  If these don’t work, then speak with your vet about possible options for your beloved fur child.

Commonly seen signs of noise phobias can include:

  • Shaking, trembling.
  • Excessive drooling.
  • Barking, howling.
  • Trying to hide or get into/out of the house, fence, or other enclosure where they are being kept.
  • Refusing to eat food (this is usually a very large and first indicator of how your pooch is feeling).
  • Some animals may loose bladder or bowel control or experience temporary diarrhea from prolonged stress.

Please note that these signs can also be from other conditions – if they persist long after the loud noises have disappeared, or have been there for a while even before the noises, consult your vet.  Also please note that it is never recommended to scold your pet for having these adverse reactions – this will only intensify the fears that your pet is feeling and is not an effective way to handle the situation.

Above all else – please practice safety when dealing with an animal that has a noise phobia!

You can do the following to ensure that your pet is safe from harm an injury;

  • Use a leash or carrier – if you have a dog that tends to attempt to run away, a flat collar or x-harness is a poor choice.  Most dogs will easily slip out of these.  Also note that chasing a frightened dog will only result in the dog running away faster – usually it is best to keep the dog at home rather then take them to a parade or other noisy events before they are desensitized to the noises.
  • Keep your pet at home – rather then taking Fido to the parade where there will be lots of people, noises and possibly very LOUD noises, leave them at home where they feel safe and secure.
  • Give them a safe place to retreat to – Dogs are den creatures, they feel safe in an enclosed space that is all theirs.  Most owners crate train their dogs for this reason.  Have their crate in a relatively quiet and free area of activity so that they can escape if they feel the need to do so.
  • Play some music! – Most animals, believe it or not, actually like the calm soothing sounds of music – along with this the music provides a welcoming distraction to an already nervous or anxious animal.
  • Sometimes anxiety or nervousness can be exercised out (in dogs specifically) – there are some breeds that if not given the proper amount of mental and physical stimulation, can cause them to be nervous or anxious due to having no outlet for said energy.  Walk them before you leave, make sure that they get ample exercise throughout the day.
  • Above all else – make sure that the ID on your pet is current in the event that they do escape or get away from you, that way you and your loved one can be reunited quickly.

Most of all – have FUN with your pet and enjoy the moments when they are happy!

*Resources – ASPCA articles on safety with pets and fireworks or noise phobias