Not all dogs are afraid of noises, but if your dog has a noise phobia, it can be stressful for you both. A dog’s ears are much more sensitive to sound than ours, making loud noises even more disturbing to many canines.
Thunder, fireworks, and loud vehicles are some of the sounds that send jumpy dogs into a panic. Often, even changes in barometric pressure can send your dog running before you ever hear the first clap of thunder.
Signs of Noise Phobia in Dogs
Sometimes it’s easy to identify your dog’s specific fear. Hiding whenever you start the vacuum or trembling when it storms are fairly obvious symptoms. But all dogs don’t respond to their fear in the same way. For example, they might…
- Urinate or defecate indoors even though they are well housebroken
- Bark or howl
- Seek you out
- Pant and/or drool
- Try to get out of the house
- Chew on household items
Sometimes they associate other sights or smells with the noise, leading to additional triggers that cause anxiety. Any time your dog exhibits unusual behavioural or physical changes, schedule a visit with your vet. Keep notes on when these changes happened and what is going on at the time. This can help your vet determine the cause of your dog’s phobia.
Treating Noise Phobia in Dogs
The most important thing you can do for your dog is to reassure him that everything is okay. The best way to do this is by acting as though nothing is wrong. Instead of over comforting him, spend some time doing things he enjoys. Play a game with him to help distract him from his fear.
If your dog’s noise anxiety is a little more severe, try getting a pheromone collar that helps dogs feel safe. An ‘anxiety wrap’ is another option that makes dogs feel more secure.
If these options don’t work, a vet can prescribe some anti-anxiety medications that may help. Although you should treat medications as a last option, some drugs help lower anxiety so their noise triggers don’t have as big an impact.