Does your dog act afraid when there is a thunderstorm or loud noises such as fireworks?
Thunderstorm phobia, as it is more commonly known, is a concern for many pet parents who dogs act extremely terrified when there is loud noises such as thunder and fireworks. Dogs who experience fear/anxiety during thunderstorms or loud noises can exhibit a variety of behaviors from being whining to being destructive. This is not a problem that can be treated with just medication in most cases. Dogs with thunderstorm/noise phobia tend to get worse over time, so it is important to also help your pet cope with the "scary noises"
To get started, please read our Fears and Phobias in Dogs - Storms and Fireworks - Treatment fact sheet. We will also be happy to arrange a behavior consultation to help you help your pet with this difficult problem. Nobody should have to live in fear
Symptoms of thunderstorm phobia or loud noise aversion:
- Whining, Pacing, or Panting
- Anxious or Hyperactive
- Destructive Behavior - chewing the furniture, scratching the walls, etc.
- Reclusive during storms - hiding, frozen with fear
- Clingy or seek attention
There is no way to determine why your dog has thunderstorm phobia. Some dogs are afraid of the loud noise while others maybe affected by the changes in barometric pressure, such as arthritic dogs. One thing you can try is to provide a comfortable hiding place in the quietest part of your home. A crate with a soft bed inside and covered with a sheet might make your dog or cat feel safer. Try playing music or white noise to drown out the noise. Consider trying a CD like "Through a Dog's Ear" or "Through a Cat's Ear". (sometimes there is one of these available to borrow at the clinic to see if it helps before you purchase your own CD). In addition, using Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) in the "safe place" might also help dogs, and Feliway may help cats in the same way. Some dogs (and a few cats) benefit from a type of wrap, like the Thundershirt, that is believed to provide some comfort during times of anxiety, stress and fear. DAP collars and Thundershirts are available at many pet stores.
Another effective tool: SILEO is the only FDA-approved treatment for dogs that suffer from noise aversion. Sileo is prescribed by your veterinarian to help calm your dog when frightened by loud noises (noise aversion). To learn more about Sileo, please visit HERE.
If your dog does calm down and stops reacting to the storm, respond with calm praise and rewards. Consider distracting your dog from the remainder of the storm by practicing basic commands or playing a game of tug-of-war.
"Dogs and Thunderstorm Phobia - Handling Thunderstorm Phobia and Anxiety in Dogs"
By Jenna Stregowski, RVT
For the original article please visit http://dogs.about.com/od/dogbehaviorproblems/qt/thunderstorms.htm
To browse the behavior fact sheets for additional information, please visit our Lifelearn library.