Noise Phobia

By August 24, 2018Uncategorized

The​ ​baritone​ ​rumble​ ​of​ ​an​ ​afternoon​ ​thunderstorm,​ ​the​ ​flash​ ​and​ ​bang​ ​of​ ​a​ ​fireworks​ ​display… aren’t​ ​the​ ​sights​ ​and​ ​sounds​ ​of​ ​summer​ ​great?​ ​​ ​Not​ ​if​ ​you’re​ ​a​ ​pet​ ​with​ ​noise​ ​phobia!​ ​​ ​It​ ​is​ ​a​ ​sad fact​ ​that​ ​approximately​ ​20%​ ​of​ ​dogs,​ ​and​ ​a​ ​smaller​ ​percentage​ ​of​ ​cats,​ ​develop​ ​a​ ​genuine​ ​fear​ ​of loud​ ​noises.​ ​​ ​Pets​ ​with​ ​noise​ ​phobia​ ​become​ ​terrified​ ​by​ ​approaching​ ​storms,​ ​and​ ​can​ ​make summer​ ​afternoons​ ​quite​ ​the​ ​ordeal​ ​for​ ​pet​ ​owners.​ ​​ ​Here​ ​are​ ​some​ ​tips​ ​on​ ​how​ ​to​ ​deal​ ​with​ ​this common​ ​issue.

1. Have​ ​a​ ​safe,​ ​secure​ ​place​ ​for​ ​your​ ​pet.​​ ​​ ​Pets​ ​with​ ​noise​ ​phobia​ ​should​ ​have​ ​a​ ​small,​ ​secure, “den”​ ​like​ ​area​ ​in​ ​which​ ​to​ ​stay​ ​during​ ​storms​ ​or​ ​fireworks​ ​displays.​ ​​ ​This​ ​area​ ​ideally​ ​should​ ​be an​ ​indoor​ ​room​ ​away​ ​from​ ​windows​ ​if​ ​possible.​ ​​ ​If​ ​the​ ​room​ ​does​ ​have​ ​windows,​ ​be​ ​sure​ ​they are​ ​completely​ ​covered​ ​to​ ​minimize​ ​the​ ​anxiety-inducing​ ​effects​ ​of​ ​lightning​ ​flashes.

2. Diminish​ ​the​ ​outside​ ​noise.​​ ​​ ​This​ ​can​ ​be​ ​done​ ​through​ ​the​ ​use​ ​of​ ​classical​ ​music​ ​played​ ​over a​ ​stereo​ ​or​ ​a​ ​white-noise​ ​machine.​ ​If​ ​your​ ​pet​ ​will​ ​tolerate​ ​it,​ ​you​ ​can​ ​also​ ​place​ ​cotton​ ​balls​ ​in​ ​its ears​ ​–​ ​just​ ​remember​ ​to​ ​remove​ ​the​ ​cotton​ ​balls​ ​after​ ​the​ ​noise​ ​has​ ​diminished.​ ​​ ​Certain companies​ ​even​ ​make​ ​ear​ ​muffs​ ​for​ ​dogs​ ​–​ ​​Mutt​ ​Muffs​​ ​is​ ​one​ ​such​ ​example.

3. Try​ ​to​ ​divert​ ​your​ ​pet’s​ ​attention.​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​Fill​ ​a​ ​​Kong​ ​toy​​ ​with​ ​a​ ​tasty​ ​snack​ ​that​ ​will​ ​take​ ​some time​ ​and​ ​effort​ ​for​ ​your​ ​pet​ ​to​ ​get​ ​out​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Kong.​ ​​ ​Banana,​ ​dry​ ​kibble,​ ​and​ ​peanut​ ​butter​ ​are good​ ​options.

4. Try​ ​over-the-counter​ ​calming​ ​agents.​​ ​​ ​No​ ​agent​ ​is​ ​100%​ ​effective​ ​at​ ​calming​ ​pets​ ​with noise​ ​phobia.​ ​​ ​Nonetheless,​ ​some​ ​pets​ ​do​ ​seem​ ​to​ ​feel​ ​better​ ​with​ ​the​ ​use​ ​of​ ​the​ ​following:

  • Thundershirt​.​ ​​ ​This​ ​wraps​ ​snugly​ ​around​ ​your​ ​pet’s​ ​body​ ​and provides​ ​a​ ​swaddling sensation​ ​that​ ​some​ ​pets​ ​find​ ​comforting.​ ​​ ​A Thundercap​​ ​also​ ​exists​ ​to​ ​minimize​ ​visual​ ​stressors like​ ​lightning flashes.
  • Adaptil​​ ​for​ ​dogs,​ ​or​ ​​Feliway​​ ​for​ ​cats.​ ​​ ​These​ ​products​ ​are appeasing pheromones​ ​that​ ​can​ ​help​ ​alleviate​ ​your​ ​pet’s​ ​stress​ ​in​ ​a number​ ​of​ ​situations.​ ​​ ​The​ ​products come​ ​in​ ​a​ ​variety​ ​of​ ​forms: plug-in​ ​wall​ ​diffusers,​ ​sprays​ ​and​ ​collars​ ​are​ ​available.
  • ​​Zylkene​.​ ​​ ​This​ ​is​ ​a​ ​natural​ ​calming​ ​agent​ ​that​ ​can​ ​help​ ​with​ ​pet anxiety​ ​in​ ​general.​ ​​ ​It does​ ​not​ ​work​ ​immediately,​ ​so​ ​must​ ​be​ ​given on​ ​a​ ​daily​ ​basis.

5. Desensitize​ ​your​ ​pet​ ​to​ ​loud​ ​noises.​​ ​​ ​Purchase​ ​a​ ​CD​ ​of​ ​storm​ ​noises,​ ​and​ ​play​ ​it​ ​on good-weather​ ​days.​ ​​ ​Play​ ​it​ ​quietly​ ​at​ ​first,​ ​then​ ​gradually​ ​turn​ ​up​ ​the​ ​volume.​ ​​ ​Do​ ​not​ ​play​ ​the CD​ ​on​ ​days​ ​of​ ​potential​ ​stormy​ ​weather.

6. Do​ ​not​ ​reward​ ​your​ ​pet’s​ ​anxiety.​​ ​​ ​It​ ​is​ ​natural​ ​to​ ​try​ ​to​ ​comfort​ ​your​ ​pet​ ​when​ ​it​ ​is​ ​stressed. However,​ ​our​ ​efforts​ ​to​ ​alleviate​ ​the​ ​situation​ ​by​ ​giving​ ​attention,​ ​food,​ ​kind​ ​words​ ​and​ ​petting only​ ​serve​ ​to​ ​reward​ ​our​ ​pets​ ​for​ ​being​ ​anxious.​ ​​ ​Similarly,​ ​do​ ​not​ ​try​ ​to​ ​reprimand,​ ​correct​ ​or punish​ ​your​ ​pet​ ​for​ ​its​ ​anxiety.​ ​​ ​Treat​ ​loud​ ​noises​ ​as​ ​no​ ​big​ ​deal.

7. Medications.​ ​​ ​​We​ ​do​ ​sometimes​ ​use​ ​​prescription​ ​medications​​ ​to​ ​help​ ​with​ ​noise​ ​phobia.​ ​​ ​It​ ​is important​ ​to​ ​note​ ​that​ ​medications​ ​alone​ ​are​ ​not​ ​the​ ​answer,​ ​and​ ​also​ ​have​ ​the​ ​potential​ ​for adverse​ ​side​ ​effects.​ ​​ ​Nonetheless,​ ​some​ ​pets​ ​may​ ​receive​ ​an​ ​additional​ ​benefit​ ​from​ ​medications such​ ​as​ ​the​ ​following:

  • Clomipramine​:​ ​an​ ​anti-depressant​ ​medication​ ​that​ ​can​ ​be​ ​given​ ​daily​ ​during​ ​the​ ​storm season​ ​to​ ​help​ ​with​ ​noise​ ​phobia.
  • Alprazolam​​ ​(generic​ ​for​ ​Xanax):​ ​an​ ​anti-anxiety​ ​medication​ ​that​ ​can​ ​be​ ​given​ ​as needed.​ ​​ ​However,​ ​it​ ​will​ ​be​ ​of​ ​no​ ​use​ ​unless​ ​it​ ​can​ ​be​ ​given​ ​well​ ​before​ ​your​ ​pet​ ​becomes​ ​aware of​ ​an​ ​approaching​ ​storm​ ​or​ ​the​ ​sound​ ​of​ ​fireworks.​ ​​ ​It​ ​also​ ​has​ ​the​ ​potential​ ​to​ ​cause​ ​certain​ ​pets to​ ​act​ ​out​ ​in​ ​ways​ ​they​ ​ordinarily​ ​would​ ​not​ ​do.

Working​ ​together​,​ ​we​ ​can​ ​help​ ​minimize​ ​the​ ​stress​ ​your​ ​pet​ ​experiences​ ​from​ ​loud​ ​noises,​ ​and make​ ​the​ ​summer​ ​a​ ​better​ ​season​ ​for​ ​all​ ​of​ ​us.

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