My cats tend to hide under the bed if a loud noise scares them. Fireworks used to terrify them but over the years it seems they have adjusted to the booms. Thunderstorms do not bother them at all. I know several dogs who do not respond well to any loud noises they hear. Trucks, garbage collection, fireworks, and thunder all seem to trigger a reaction in them. Some of the dogs just pant heavily and want to be near their owners, while other dogs I know will have a panic attack and try to get out of the house or hide somewhere to get away from the noise.
The Thundershirt seems to work well for dogs who have a greater fear-based response to loud noise. Crating also sometimes works. I know of some dogs who need to be given a sedative because their anxiety is so great it overwhelms them and their owner.
If you have a pup who suffers from anxiety that is induced by loud noises, there are a few things you can try to give them a sense of calm and retrain them.
1. Try counteracting the noise
Distractions with other noises that are more common and normal such as a TV or radio can work to combat the thunder or fireworks. You may have to turn the volume up a little.
2. Provide a safe space for your pup
A crate or even a closet where you dog can safely feel relaxed can ease the anxiety. A blanket and some toys can help distract your dog as well. Some dogs like finding a spot that feels like a den to them. It can make them feel safe.
3. Desensitizing them to the noise
There are CDs and music downloads available that have thunderstorms, fireworks, and other loud noises on them geared for desensitizing your dog. Playing these sounds at a low volume and playing with your dog at the same time can slowly decrease the anxiety. As the days and weeks pass, play the sounds during play times and other times. Even if your dog never tolerates the real volume of these sounds, they may not be as nervous when the real storms and fireworks are heard.
4. Natural therapy
Lavender oil in a diffuser as well as other remedies can help ease your dog’s anxiety. It can also help ease yours. There are several types of natural oils and extracts available that can help create a calmer environment and a calmer pet. Some are aroma therapy based and others are liquid drops that you can give your pet a little before the noises begin.
A tired dog is often a well-behaved dog. If you know there will be a thunderstorm approaching or if fireworks are scheduled, a long walk or run helps. Physically tiring out your dog can also make their mind relax. The loud noises might still scare your dog but from being worn out, hiding in a crate or sitting very close to you might be enough.
Remember, always talk to your vet if your dog seems to suffer from high anxiety and these methods have not worked.
photo by dennis