patriotic Chinese Crested Hairless dogFor many of us, fireworks and summertime go together like peanut butter and jelly. However, for our pets, this thunderous celebration can cause stress, anxiety, and increases the risk of escape.

The reasons behind noise anxiety in pets are varied. For some, it’s an extension of fear or separation anxiety in relation to new situations. Dogs also hear at higher frequencies, making them more sensitive to noise. In other cases, poor socialization and lack of training can lead to noise anxiety in pets.

No matter the cause, noise aversion should be addressed to keep your pet both healthy and happy.

Tips to Combat Noise Anxiety in Pets

  • There are several ways to reduce fear and minimize the impact of noise anxiety in pets, including:
  • Find a quiet, secure room in your home for your pet to relax in during the festivities.
  • If your pet is crate-trained, place the crate/carrier in this secure area along with blankets and other cozy items.
  • Pheromone sprays can be an effective way to reduce stress for cats and dogs.
  • Turn on a radio, television, or white noise machine to help muffle all the other sounds.
  • Products, such as the Thundershirt, can help sooth pets who suffer from noise aversion.
  • Purchase a CD created specifically to address noise anxiety in pets.
  • Whenever possible, stay with your pet throughout the noisy event or recruit a family member for assistance.
  • Sleeping with guardians or loved ones soothes many anxious dogs, and this instinct to “huddle with the pack” can help alleviate some fear.
  • Try distracting your best friend with challenging games or a Kong filled with peanut butter.
  • Avoid overreacting to your pet’s fear. Instead, be a calming influence and employ diversion tactics to help redirect your pet’s attention.

When Fear Turns Problematic

There are times when noise anxiety in pets becomes a phobia that can lead to destructive behaviors. Clinical symptoms of phobia include:

  • Attempts to escape
  • Chewing
  • Digging
  • Consistent vocalization
  • Pacing
  • Hiding
  • Urination/defecation

While a phobia may seem like just a simple fear, it actually creates undue suffering and can damage nerve cells if left untreated.  

If your pet experiences ongoing noise anxiety, please contact the team at Animal Internal Medicine and Specialty Services. There are many options that can help, including medications, gentle desensitization techniques, and other behavioral interventions.