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Is your dog afraid of loud noises?

October 14, 2018

Are you one of the very many dog owners who daren’t leave the house as the legacy of Guy Fawkes looms on the horizon? The team at Vets on the Park are all too aware of the distress some dogs experience when they hear loud or strange noises.

It’s not only fireworks that can provoke noise fear in dogs, but given that the season of pyrotechnics is approaching, now seems a good time to discuss the issue.

Some dogs may exhibit extreme behaviour on hearing the sounds that disturb them. It’s worth making an appointment to see our head vet, Alison Jones, who will be able to decide if your dog may benefit from taking sedatives if none of the following advice seems to be working.

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Among the common noises that can trigger fear in dogs are fireworks, thunderstorms and household appliances such as vacuum cleaners. One of the reasons for getting young puppies out and about in the world as soon as possible is so they can get used the noises around them, but you can’t schedule a thunderstorm and there’s no telling when someone might have an impromptu firework party.

Symptoms of noise fear

Among the behaviours that may be displayed by dogs experiencing noise fear are:

  • Trembling
  • Hiding
  • Panting
  • Pacing
  • Digging
  • Urinating or defecating
  • Chewing
  • Trying to run away
  • Drooling
  • Seeking comfort
  • Barking
  • Vomiting

Don’t punish your dog for any of these behaviours as that will only reinforce their anxiety and could make the problem worse.

Prevention and treatment

Desensitisation, or ‘sensory education’, can help. CDs are available that play, for example, firework or thunderstorm noises. You can start playing them at a very low level and gradually increase the sound as your dog gets more used to them. Carry this out in an environment which makes your dog feel safe and happy by treating it with something it doesn’t get at any other time. That way it will start to associate the increasingly loud noises with something positive.

Natural calming remedies can also help, such as rescue remedy or a plug-in pheromone distributor. As a last resort, Alison Jones may prescribe sedatives, so if you are really concerned about your dog’s noise fear, do call us on 01242 517199 to make an appointment or for more advice.

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