Independence Day is less than three weeks away! Because the 4th of July falls on a Thursday this year, we are guaranteed a weekend of fireworks and loud celebrations. It's true that Holidays should be a time of celebration, but they can be terrifying for people and animals with noise phobia, also called noise aversion or noise anxiety. Read on if your dog is scared of loud noises.
This time of year - July 4th followed by Arizona Monsoon season and its powerful thunderstorms - can be traumatic for dogs with noise anxiety.
So this is the perfect time for me to share a personal case study about my own Golden Retriever, Jasmine. Jasmine has a long history of noise anxiety...before we finally found a solution that works for her.
Noise Phobia/Noise Anxiety - A Dog's Perspective
Imagine this scenario from your dog's perspective - you are laying on the couch watching tv, or taking a relaxing nap, and all of a sudden a loud explosion occurs! You can't see where it is coming from, you have no comprehension of what caused it, you don't know if it will happen again - it's terrifying, right?
This happened to Jasmine every 4th of July and throughout the Monsoon season. Fireworks and thunderstorms are some of the most common causes of noise phobias for dogs (other causes include loud parties/people, gun shots, construction work, garbage trucks/street noise). In fact, anything loud and shocking (that is outside the norm because we know dogs love routine) can cause anxiety. My poor dog would run to her crate and lay there panting, shaking, and drooling for hours, long after the noise had passed.
Tips to Help Dogs with Noise Phobia
I tried all the things you are supposed to in hopes of decreasing her discomfort. I gave her a warm safe crate, we played music or turned up the tv. We left the lights on so she would not see the explosions or lightning, we tried a thunder shirt and pheromones, and we even tried benedryl. All these common tips did nothing to calm her.
So then we took it to the next level because her fear was real. I tried sedatives, even anti-anxiety medications. They just made her sleepy and drunk...with very little help with her fear.
The next thing I tried was audio recordings of fireworks and storms, all on low volume for short times while I was with her. Jasmine did not seem to mind this, and over time I increased the volume and frequency in which I played the sounds. I even started leaving the room for short periods. This started helping, but she still needed something more.
For Dogs with Fear of Loud Noises - Is this your Answer?
A product came on the market that was made specifically for noise phobia and I thought I would try it. Low and behold, it helped my poor baby tremendously!! Jasmine did not shake and drool as she had previously; she even came out of her crate during a storm!
I have since tried this product with fireworks and loud construction, and she has done so much better! I have started recommending this product to my clients for their pets and have had relatively good reports from most of them.
The product is called Sileo and you can check out their website at www.sileodogus.com - you can even answer a questionnaire about your pet's noise anxiety. This, along with talking to your vet and even a behaviorist, can help your individual pet work through their fears.
Symptoms of Noise Anxiety/Phobia
- Lip Licking
- Excessive Vigilance
- Brow Furrowed
- Ears Back
- Owner Seeking Behavior/Clingyness
- Refusal to Eat