"There’s a storm coming!”…The sky might be blue but we know something’s in the air when our little Ollie is pacing, his ears are back and he’s looking at us frantically, as if to say “can you do something about this please!!” We reach for the Adaptil spray, a bandana and his blanket!! Often that’s enough to calm the ravages, but if we are too late look out. He wants to be close but he can’t get close enough, he climbs all over us and if he’s in our bed, that includes all over our heads and that means NOBODY gets any sleep!" …Sue
The above is a description of Sue’s dog Ollie whenever a storm is in the air. Summer brings a lot of happiness, but also anxiety for our pets. Noise phobia in the form of thunderstorms and fireworks, particularly for our dogs is a real issue for many of us. It can range from minor disturbance (pacing, restlessness etc) to full scale, eat through the wall, I need to get out of here NOW!!!
Some breeds seem to be more predisposed to noise sensitivity. German Shepherds in particular are extremely heightened to sound which can manifest in fear of loud noises. I remember when I got Koa our breeder/trainer tested the pups in our training class by banging two huge blocks of wood together, some jumped a bit, some (including Koa!) didn’t blink an eye. But I digress….
So what is noise phobia?
Dog Noise Phobia, along with Dog Noise Anxiety, are terms sometimes used by dog owners and veterinarians to describe canine fear of and the corresponding stress responses to loud noises.
Noise-related phobia are common in dogs, and may be triggered by fireworks, thunderstorms, gunshots, and even bird noises. Associated stimuli may also come to trigger the symptoms of the phobia or anxiety, such as a change in barometric pressure being associated to a thunderstorm, thus causing an anticipatory anxiety.
Signs and symptoms of dog noise phobia may include:
Urinating or defecating
Trying to jump out of windows or otherwise escape
Seeking out the owner
Milder symptoms may become exaggerated after repeated exposure to the phobia stimuli.
If your dog suffers from noise phobia, there are ways to minimize the effects:
Create a safe haven in your home:
Fill your dog's favorite space with comfortable blankets and bedding to help them feel safe and secure
Make your dog’s space comfortable by including their favorite toys or other distractions.
Keep your dog indoors, in a secure area where your dog won't get loose and run away if scared
Choose a quiet, internal room where you dog won't get loose and run away if scared
Ensure all gates and fences are secure
Check that your dog's identification is up-to-date (e.g., name tag, microchip) so you can be quickly reunited if your dog escapes
Keep the Big Bang Away:
Keep your dog safely inside during fireworks and thunderstorms
Close all curtains, windows and doors
Turn on the TV or radio to help mask the sound
Provide toys and distractions
There are more involved solutions including training, desensitization, and medication.
As above, Sue finds adaptil (https://www.adaptil.com/ca_en) a synthetic pheromone helpful, the key is to make sure you administer prior to the event.
If you’d like to discuss different medications that could help, please don’t hesitate to call us at 905-372-2721!