Bang! As dog lovers, we have all seen it. A loud noise causing a dog to bark and cower, sometimes shaking and shivering in a corner. Noise anxiety in dogs is the dog’s irrational response to non-dangerous noises occurring in their environment such as thunderstorms, fireworks, blow dryers, lawn mowers, vacuum cleaners, etc. Seeing this kind of fear is difficult for all dog lovers. Let’s explore some ways to solve noise anxiety.
Signs Your Dog May Have Noise Anxiety
Is your dog suffering from noise anxiety? Before we can solve noise anxiety, we first must identify it in our dogs. There are several physical symptoms that go along with noise anxiety. Your dog may experience one or more of the following (source):
Your dog does NOT have to experience all the symptoms above to be suffering from noise anxiety. Some dogs will only have one symptom. Noise anxiety can develop at any age in any breed of dog.
The Impact That Noise Anxiety Has On Your Dog
Noise anxiety is not just an annoyance, but a deep and true fear of noises in the dog’s environment. Some call it a noise phobia in dogs. The noise causes your dog to experience a fight or flight response. This fight or flight response is designed to help your dog to survive dangerous situations. The body prepares itself for this by increasing breathing, raising blood pressure, increasing muscle tension, blood clotting, heightening the senses, and increasing blood sugar levels.
There are some very good reasons to solve noise anxiety in dogs. It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to see that experiencing noise anxiety over long spans of time (recurring fireworks, thunderstorms, etc.) can lead to some nasty physical and mental consequences for the dog. Just like humans, dogs that experience prolonged stress are at risk of developing high blood pressure, lowered immunity, and a host of other illnesses.
Three Ways To Solve Noise Anxiety For Dogs
If you believe that your dog suffers from noise anxiety, check first with your veterinarian to make sure there are no underlying illnesses present that can be causing the symptoms. If your veterinarian determines that your dog is indeed suffering from noise anxiety, try the following. There are 3 different ways to solve noise anxiety in dogs. Each helps with part of the problem.
- Behavior Modification
Behavior modification entails training your dog to respond differently to the problematic environmental noise. This may also include making sure that you are NOT giving positive reinforcement to the fearful behaviors. Saying “good dog” and petting your dog while they are fearful can reinforce those behaviors. Crate training is a better option so that your dog can have a safe place to go when fearful situations arise.
- Drug Therapy
Your veterinarian may recommend some drugs that could ease your dog’s anxiety. These include anti-anxiety medications, anti-depressants, and tranquilizers. These must be used with caution, however, because they can have unpleasant side effects.
- Environmental Controls
You may not have control over all noises, but you do have control over your dog’s environment to solve noise anxiety. When you know there will be loud environmental noises (such as fireworks), you can keep your dog indoors. Crate train your dog or create a safe place for your dog to seek comfort. Turn on some soft music and use CrittEar Calm dog earplugs to help dampen down the sounds.
To solve noise anxiety, we recommend a combination of behavior modification and environmental control techniques. Giving your dog a safe place that they can call their own is a must during fearful situations. Our CrittEar Calm dog earplugs will buffer noises down to 31 dB and are easy to carry in a car or purse in case of noises on the go. Some dogs will need to try drug therapy as well. If that is a must, start with some all natural CBD oil (and some long walks before the noises begin if possible). Your dog can find relief from noise anxiety with these simple solutions!