Combatting dog noise fears with Northwich Vets
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 Northwich Vets 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, Patrick Murphy, who will be able to decide if your dog may benefit from taking sedatives if none of the following advice seems to be working.
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:
- Urinating or defecating
- Trying to run away
- Seeking comfort
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, if you start early in the year. 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. The earlier you start this process, 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, Patrick Murphy may prescribe sedatives, so if you are really concerned about your dog’s noise fear, do call us on 01606 359789 to make an appointment or for more advice.
Please find a survey created by Jon Bowen and Jaume Fatjo (Vet specialists in behaviour) for you to complete before you attend the vets for a firework consultation.