Noise Anxiety In Dogs
“Anybody who doesn’t know what soap tastes like never washed a dog.” – Franklin P. Jones (humourist)
“My dog is half pit-bull, half poodle. Not much of a watchdog, but a vicious gossip.” – Craig Shoemaker (comedian)
What are the symptoms of noise anxiety?
Noise Anxiety is a very common problem for dogs across the country. The estimates vary, but somewhere between 5 million and 15 million dogs suffer from noise anxiety severe enough for their owners to seek help. Noise anxiety can be caused by anything from a storm coming to a clocking ticking. It also depends on what the dog has been through in his life. I have a friend who adopted a dog from a shelter and the ding of email coming through on his cell phone sends the dog running to safety in his crate. They literally have to put their cell phones on vibrate to avoid the dog from being scared and upset.
Noise anxiety can exhibit many symptoms and severity levels. On the less extreme end of the spectrum, a fear of thunder may just cause some shaking and clinging to her owner. On the other extreme, thunder may cause panicked running, destructive chewing, defecating indoors, or even jumping through a plate glass window! Some owners aren’t even aware that a negative behavior they are seeing is actually caused by noise anxiety. For example, does your dog get upset when you take photographs using a flash? That may be noise anxiety! The flash may remind your dog of lightning and she becomes frightened that a storm may be coming.
What are the causes of noise anxiety?
Sometimes we can determine the cause of the anxiety such as being to close to fireworks going off and your associating the bright flickers of light and loud noises to his experience with being to close and being scared. Your dog may have a genetic predisposition for noise anxiety. Studies have shown that some breeds, such as Collies, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds, have a higher incidence of noise anxiety. For some dogs, noise anxiety gradually appears and worsens as they age for no apparent reason. For other dogs, it appears as a puppy and stays with them.
It also seems that Thomas is correct when he says to leave the dogs alone and not make a big deal out of something. Studies show that when a dog’s owner reacts to a negative situation, the dog will tend to fear it more. Everyone around the dog should act as they normally would and go on about their business.
What are the treatments for noise anxiety?
Some can be time consuming and costly but we will do whatever it takes to make our pets feel safe!!
- Change the dogs environment:
Try creating a safe haven for your dog by changing his crate and making it more comfortable or covering it with a blanket making it a safe haven for it to go.
Try turning on music or the TV to muffle the sounds of the noise that is causing his anxiety.
- Pressure Wraps:
A “pressure wrap” is anything that wraps around the dog’s torso and chest to provide a constant, gentle pressure.
- Behavior Modification:
Desensitization is the most common behavior modification tried for noise anxiety. In a nutshell, in a controlled environment, you begin by exposing your dog to a low level of the noise that bothers her. As she gets accustomed to it, you increase the levels louder and louder over time until she learns to tolerate the real deal. If you want to give it a try, several books are available on the subject.
If your dog’s anxiety is serious enough, there are a variety of prescription medications that your veterinarian may suggest. Some are administered on a regular basis for the life of the dog. Some are given only at the time of an anxiety event. Sometimes a combination of drugs are used. If you go this route, make sure you ask your vet about any potential risks and side effects with the drug(s) you’re considering.
- Pheromone Replication:
Talk to your vet about the products on the market that captures and replicates the pheromones a mother dog uses to calm her pups.
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