We receive a lot of questions about dog noise anxiety. Because of this we thought we’d provide you with responses to our client’s top questions about their dog’s noise phobia. Some dogs can be distressed, even frightened, when they hear the sounds associated with fire trucks, police sirens, electronic beeps, thunder, and fireworks. Something even as simple as a household appliance can result in your dog shaking and even hiding. What are you to do if you have a dog with noise anxiety – let’s find out.
Q: How Large Is The Dog Noise Anxiety Problem?
A: You might be surprised by the answer. It’s estimated that approximately 50% of dogs exhibit signs of anxiety when exposed to certain sounds. Not only that, if your dog is in that percentile, they are nearly three times more likely to suffer from separation anxiety. These numbers were reported prior to the Covid pandemic – which has resulted in an increase in dogs who suffer from generalized anxiety (e.g. fearful of their human leaving, hearing more noises than normal, etc.).
Q: What Are The Signs My Dog Has Noise Anxiety?
A: It is important to know if your dog is exhibiting signs of anxiety, including noise anxiety. Dogs show a variety of signs when anxious, these including exhibiting passive or aggressive behavior. Dogs can show only one sign of anxiety or a combination of signs. Here are some behaviors to look for (and for more information, read this):
Q: What Causes Noise Anxiety For Dogs?
A: If you have a puppy that shows no signs of noise anxiety does not mean that when an adult dog they will outgrow such feelings. Same is true of the opposite set of facts, a dog can grow out of noise anxiety; however, it is not typical and does require a great deal of assistance on the human’s part. Below are some of the things that can lead to dog noise anxiety:
- Negative Association
- Lack of Socialization/Exposure
- Underlying Medical Condition
Q: How Can I Solve My Dog’s Noise Anxiety?
A: There are a variety of solutions available. Some work, some don’t, some have side affects, some are natural – and sometimes one thing works for an anxious dogs, while other dogs require a combination of solutions. Each dog, just like each human, is unique. Explore options and consult with your veterinarian, or a veterinary behaviorist or certified canine behaviorist. Here are some of the most often used dog noise anxiety solutions:
Often turned to at the first sign of anxiety, medication should actually be treated as a last resource approach reserved for the most severe cases. Dog owners should have an informative discussion with their veterinarian if considering medication as an anxiety solution. The most prescribed medications for dog noise anxiety includes:
Q: Is medication an easy, fast fix for my dog’s anxiety?
A: No. These medications are a serious business with a number of side effects. Dogs typically require about four (4) weeks of treatment before the effectiveness will become evident (each medication may or may not work for your dog’s specific issue), and two (2) months to gauge true long-range effectiveness.
Q: Will my dog always need to take the medication if it works?
A: It is likely. However, some dogs can be weaned off of anti-anxiety medications with a lot of behavioral training.
Q: What are the side effects of canine anti-anxiety medications?
A: Lethargy, heart rate irregularities, increased levels of anxiety, bowels and urinary changes, vomiting, loss of muscle control lowered blood pressure, overall weakness.
Desensitization and Counter Conditioning
We highly recommend this approach, behavioral modification, particular in combination with our dog earplugs! Discuss this approach with a certified canine behaviorist.
- Counter Conditioning will help your dog understand that good things (e.g. yummy treats, beloved toy, etc.,) happen whenever they experience the anxiety-inducing noises. Counter conditioning must be intentionally trained in order to help your dog to stop/self-manage their anxiety due to the positive association.
- Desensitization approaches anxiety management by exposing your dog to the offending noise at a very low volume. Careful attention allows you to very, very slowly increase the sounds until your dog becomes desensitized to it.
Over Ear Protection (e.g. Mutt Muffs)
While we applaud noise buffering solutions, we did try over ear protection prior to creating CrittEar. On Amazon, the reviews of over ear protection has a 20% dissatisfaction rating. Chief among the complaints:
- Poor quality
- Allows noise through
- Not small enough
- Shaken off
- Slide around
- Tangles fur
In-Ear Dog Earplugs
After a lot of trial and error, research and development, and collaboration with veterinarians and canine behaviorists, we developed the first in-ear dog earplugs. Our dog hearing protection technology and design proved to be so novel that we are being granted a patent. Our in-ear design custom molds to a dog’s unique outer ear canal to provide true hearing protection.
Options Help Solve Dog Noise Anxiety
It’s always good to have options. And, like we mention above – a combination approach to solving your dog’s noise anxiety is a great way to go. We recommend our lightweight, in-ear earplugs for dogs and positive behavior modification training. It’s a win-win combo filled with tasty treats, lots of love, and a less anxious dog!