It’s everybody’s favorite time of year… Summertime! The kids are on summer break from school, the weather is warm, and there are vacations, celebrations, and family activities planned every day. This is also the time of year when we start getting questions from clients who’s pets experience noise phobias. Thunderstorms and fireworks are also a big part of summer in the Midwest, and sadly many dogs and cats are quite fearful of the loud noise produced by these occurrences. Thankfully, there is a lot we can do to help our pets and provide them with some comfort during times of loud summer events.
The first step in finding ways to help your noise phobia pet is to know the signs of distress. A dog may cower or hide in a corner or under a table or bed, they may shake and tremble, or you may see them begin panting, drooling, pacing, or even barking. Cats may do similar things, but most often they will respond to the loud noises by retreating to their favorite hiding places. Occasionally the stress these noise phobia pets experience can cause ongoing problems, such as diarrhea, inappetence, depression, and anxiety.
The good news is, once you know the signs of distress caused by noise phobia, there are a number of things you can do to keep your pet comfy during times of loud noise like during thunderstorms and fireworks displays.
1. Try to create a “Sound Safe Place” for your pet. If you know there will be fireworks near your home or if a thunderstorm is coming your way, try moving your pet to a comfy location in the house. Close windows to block out as much of the noise as possible, and try turning on some music, or the TV. Ideally, this noise that your dog or cat is used to hearing will cover up or drown out the startling loud explosions of the fireworks or sudden bursts of thunder. If possible, pick a room that you know is the most protected from outside sounds where you and your pet can relax during the noisy event.
2. Offer food distraction. Does your dog or cat LOVE a specific treat or pet food? Is there something your dog or cat will eat that you can’t distract them from eating no matter how hard you try? Perhaps that will be enough to distract them from the loud booming outside?
3. Try anti-anxiety products. There are a number of products that offer relief from anxiety without the use of medications. We recommend trying Feliway products for cats and Adaptil products for dogs. These products are synthetic pheromones that mimic the calming pheromones provided by their mother when they are babies. They come in a spray or diffuser, and for dogs, you can also purchase a collar version of this product. We have used these products in our veterinary clinic and have had great success relieving the stress our patients experience when coming to the vet clinic. You can purchase most of these products at Colonial Terrace Animal Hospital or on our website’s online pharmacy.
4. Consider anti-anxiety medication. If you feel that the above options may not quite cut it for your pet, we recommend calling us to request medication to help keep your pet comfy during these loud events. We have numerous options and will be happy to help you find the right medication for your pet.
If you feel that your pet has a noise phobia, know that you are not alone. Don’t hesitate to call us at 563-556-2667. Your pet may benefit from some of the suggestions listed above, and we are always happy to assist you in finding the best options to keep your pet relaxed, comfy, and happy during times of fear and stress. All of us at Colonial Terrace Animal Hospital wish you and your pet a memorable, safe, and fun summer!