Canine Noise Aversion
Canine noise aversion and noise anxiety comes in all forms and severity levels and affects over 1/3 of dogs. When trying to recognize canine noise aversion, first recognized the trigger and sounds that trigger a fear response.
A list of common triggers: fireworks, loud voices of children, cheering, vacuum cleaners, construction, etc. With holiday festivities, doorbells as a trigger is common.
Notice how your dog reacts to noise. Signs of canine noise aversion include: lip licking, holding one foreleg up, yawning, moderate panting, pacing, barking, hiding, running away, hurting themselves, causing property damage as they try to escape. If you're not sure about the symptoms and if they fall into the category of noise aversion symptoms, click here
to take a simple, online quiz and find out.
Some dogs may even have a genetic predisposition for noise anxiety. Breeds such as Collies, Golden Retrievers, and German shepherds have a higher incidence of noise anxiety. Some dogs gradually develop worsened symptoms as they age. It is also possible for noise anxiety to appear when the dog is a puppy and stay throughout it's lifetime. If you keep close attention on your dog's behavior, you maybe able to link your dog's anxiety back to a traumatic event or incident. This will greatly help in the treatment for noise anxiety.
The worst thing to do is to pet, baby or console your dog when it is exhibiting symptoms of noise anxiety. The dog will then relate their behavior to something that they should be worried about. Therefore, it is critical for dog owners to remain normal during events that may trigger the dog's anxiety. Dogs may also sense the owner's emotions, so it is also important to remain stable and show no fear yourself should loud events occur such as a thunderstorm.
Keep in mind that when your dog is showing noise aversion symptoms, your dog is experiencing what a person experiences during an anxiety attack.
Some things to keep in mind about canine noise aversion:
- Dogs do not outgrow noise aversion
- If left untreated, canine noise aversion can progress in severity, frequency, and duration
- Dogs with noise aversion can develop other anxieties
- If you have more than one dog, the dog without noise aversion can learn fear of noises from the dog with noise aversion
Because of these reasons, it's important to treat your dog and noise aversion as soon as you notice it and speak with your veterinarian about it to get an appropriate treatment started.
So remember that canine noise aversion is an anxiety and fear-based response that requires timely and appropriate treatment. Alleviating your dog’s fear and anxiety of noise not only benefits your dog but also benefits you and your family by allowing all of you to enjoy your life together during the holiday season and throughout the year.
There are many treatments for noise anxiety, however there is no single best treatment since different treatments work for different dogs. There may be some things to consider for treating your dog's anxiety. Effectiveness, time, cost, side effects should all be weighed on. It is also not uncommon for some owners to choose a combination of treatments that may be more effective for a particular dog.
1. Provide a Safe Environment
There are a few things to try yourself at home before resorting to medication or other treatment that may need to be prescribed by your veterinarian. Firstly, create a safe quiet place for your dog such as a blanket covered crate in a location that will reduce the noise level. Put some of your dog's favorite toys and bed in a quiet place such as a room away from the noise, a bathroom, large closet or basement so your dog has somewhere to go during the noise even. Having a safe quiet place in a separate room away from the noise will allow your pet an area of safety to retreat to. You can also try turning on music or the television to help blend in the problem noise with background noise. If you know about an event that will be happening such as fireworks, you could tire out your dog by giving your dog a lot of exercise right before the event. These suggestions may reduce symptoms for less extreme cases of noise-aversion.
2. Pressure Wraps
This is a simple, effective, and low cost treatment that can be done with an old t-shirt. a pressure wrap is wrapped around the dog's torso and chest to provide constant gentle pressure. This pressure helps distract the dog as well as help them feel comforted and more secure. This is a surprisingly simple and effective treatment for many dogs. A “pressure wrap” is anything that wraps around the dog’s torso and chest to provide a constant, gentle pressure. A wrap can be made yourself from a used appropriately sized t-shirt, our purchase a Thundershirt
. Wraps sometimes often take 2-3 usages before reduced or eliminated symptoms are seen.
3. Behavior Modification
Dog noise aversion often needs various treatments. One more is desensitization or behavior
modification. We suggest purchasing books and resourcing professional advice from a specialist before you being self-treating your dog this way. In short, you being by exposing your dog to low levels of noise that bothers your dog. As your dog gets accustomed to it, you begin to expose your dog to higher levels of noise until your dog learns to tolerate the amount of sound tolerance necessary.
4. Prescription Medications
For severe cases in dogs and noise aversion, your pet may need medication. Some medications will need prescriptions If your dog’s anxiety is serious enough, there are a variety of prescription medications that your veterinarian may suggest. A gel that is prescribed here called SILEO
is an FDA approved oral gel that has helped many cases of canine noise aversion. Sileo calms without sedating and can be uses as necessary for each noise event. Some medications administered on a regular basis for the life of the dog. Others like SILEO
are given only at the time of a noise event. There are some cases where a combination of drugs are used. Since noise aversion is caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain, treatment can help rebalance these chemicals. Be sure to ask your vet about potential risks and side effects with any drug treatment you may be considering for canine noise aversion.
5. Pheromone Replication
Some veterinarians may suggest looking into natural phermones for your dog. There are several products on the market
that have replicated the natural pheromones a mother dog releases naturally that has a calming affect on her puppies. This may be another option for you to discuss with your veterinarian.