How To Ease Your Dog’s Noise Anxiety
As Independence Day approaches, many people are looking forward to the festive spirit and amazing fireworks, but things are much more complicated for most dog owners out there. About forty percent of dogs deal with noise anxiety, and if this is the case with your pet, you want to be sure that you’ve taken all the necessary precautions before the fireworks start blasting in the sky.
The truth is, summer is probably the worst time of the year for dogs because summer thunderstorms can wreak havoc on your dog’s mental health and scare them to the point of them becoming a danger to themselves. Most dogs, as well as humans, can be easily startled by loud sounds, and when the noise is continuous, the anxiety transforms into a full blown panic attack that can result in your dog becoming aggressive or running away from home, the options are infinite. Veterinary behaviorists suggest a few different approaches that can be used to ease your dog’s noise anxiety, and a significant number of these solutions include medication.
The first question you need to answer is to what extent your dog is affected by the outside noise and for how long they suffer the consequences of the stress. Many different types of medication have been developed in order to help your dog cope with noise anxiety – calming pheromones, Valium, and Prozac, among others. Some vets prescribe stronger sedatives, but this is not a permanent solution to the problem. Acepromazine, for example, acts like a tranquilizer but is not a sedative, meaning the dog is still completely aware of both the noise and the fear, but can’t do anything about it. Don’t use this drug, it will only deepen your dog’s fears.
If you feel like your pooch’s anxiety can only be handled with medication, there are several ways to do it gradually. Prozac is not a bad way to deal with panic attacks, but it takes up to six weeks of daily intake for it to be effective. There is a new drug that eases the noise aversion – a gel called Sileo. You should put a small dose of the gel into a syringe and inject it between your dog’s gums and teeth. The calming effects will ensue within thirty minutes. This gel is inexpensive and apparently working, so Sileo is a good option.
However, if you believe that your dog’s anxiety can be remedied by natural or less invasive means, then dedicate some time to it. The biggest problem that dogs have with thunderstorms and fireworks is that they can hear them much louder than humans can. As you well know, a dog’s hearing is far better than a human’s, which means that they don’t just hear the thunder and the blast of the fireworks in the sky, they hear the wind and the electricity. They are also frightened by the colors and the movements that look invasive to them. It’s a good idea to keep them inside while loud noises are rampant and if possible, bring them with you into a room that has no windows, so that the walls will diminish the noise, spend time with them and help them relax.
Another way to gradually get rid of noise aversion is to play the sounds that scare them in the background while they’re in the house. That way, they will get used to them, so when they hear the noises augmented in nature, they won’t be too startled by them. Chances are that your doggie will be in desperate need of your company during storms and fireworks, so don’t hesitate to give them the love and comfort they need. Pet them, sit on the floor with them, hold them until everything calms down – they have no safer harbor than their owner, so they will feel safest in your arms or in your immediate proximity.
As we often mention in our articles, dogs are much like children, and their noise anxiety is nothing to fret about, just find a solution that works for them and with time, your dog will leave the panic attacks behind.