Noise And Dog Anxiety - How To Help Them Overcome The Fear
Does your dog freak out over fireworks, thunder, sirens or other loud noises? Well, there's hope. The following explores the condition of noise anxiety in dogs; signs to look for if your dog suffers from it; which breeds are more prone to it; and five ways to help calm dog anxiety stemming from noise.
If your dog dislikes loud noises, you’re not the only pet parent struggling with a noise-anxious pet. In fact, an estimated 1/3 of dogs have an aversion to loud noises.
According to VCA Animal Hospitals, “Single traumatic experiences or repeated exposure to frightening stimuli can cause reactions ranging from mild fear to extreme phobic reactions. Mild fear responses may include panting, pacing, and attempts to hide, whereas phobic responses may include panic, extreme agitation, attempts to escape and/or destructive behavior.”
As noise aversion or fear can result in a number of behaviors, it is important to learn more about your pet’s specific fears and anxieties in order to best support them. As a pet product company with the mission of Less Damage, More Love, our goal is to help support pet parents while also helping to support each pet’s special needs.
What Your Dog’s Noise Anxiety May Look Like
Triggering sounds can range from loud noises such as thunder and fireworks to unfamiliar noises like the swish of a washing machine or dishwasher. According to Assisi Animal Health, “When triggered by a specific sound, a dog with noise anxiety may display one or more of these behaviors:
Ears pinned back
Look of panic in their eyes
Whining or barking
Panting, yawning or drooling
Chewing or licking themselves
Destructive chewing, digging and scratching
Trying to escape their environment
Urinating or defecating
If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms, switch up their environment. If the noise is coming from the room they're in, move them to a room further from the noise.
If the dog cannot be removed from the noise (fireworks, sirens, etc.), move them to a place where the noise is minimal. Here you can give them a safe space where they feel comfortable.
Bring along lots of toys and high-reward treats to help distract them. The toys and treats can also help your dog reassociate a scary noise with something fun.
Why Some Dogs Are Afraid Of Loud Noises
Dogs can be noise averse for a number of reasons. The most common reason for noise aversion is a negative association with the noise. If your dog has had a negative experience with a noise, they may continue to associate that noise with negativity. Your dog may also be noise averse if they are under socialized.
New sounds, places, people, and things can scare a dog of any age or history, especially if they are under socialized when it comes to those things. If your dog has never seen a vacuum cleaner run before, they may be wary of it. Imagine seeing and hearing a vacuum for the very first time. No thanks!
Lastly, your dog may be noise averse because of a medical condition or simply due to aging. If you have concerns about your dog’s health, we recommend taking them to visit their veterinarian.
Are Some Breeds More Sound Sensitive Than Others?
Did you know that dogs have much more sensitive hearing than humans? Just imagine how loud thunder or fireworks sound to you, then multiply that times two!
According to Hearing Sense, “Dogs have much more sensitive hearing than humans, hearing sounds four times farther away than we can. They can hear higher frequency sounds, can more easily differentiate sounds (e.g. they may recognize the sound of your car) and they can pinpoint the exact location of the sound.”
Not only are dogs more sensitive to sound than humans, some breeds are extra good at sensing sounds. These breeds can include German shepherds, collies, and golden retrievers. If you own a dog with extra sensitive hearing, chances are they may be noise averse or noise anxious.
5 Easy Ways To Help Calm Your Dog’s Noise Anxiety
At Clawguard, we make pet-friendly products meant to deter and even eliminate scratching, clawing, slobbering, and pawing. If your dog suffers from mild noise anxiety, especially if they use scratching or clawing as an outlet for their anxiety, we can help!
Our wide range of products including, but not limited to, Door Shields, Window Sill Protectors, and Scratch Shields will keep your home free from destruction while you work to find other outlets for your anxious pup.
After protecting your home with Clawguard products, give the following a try:
- A Thundershirt or any product that will apply a slight physical pressure.
- Play calming music during a triggering noise episode.
- Give them a safe space, such as their crate, far from the noise. Additionally, covering their crate with a heavy blanket can act as a partial sound barrier. As mentioned earlier, remove your dog from the room with the noise. If the noise is inescapable, move them to a space where the noise isn't as loud. Bring along their favorite toys and some high reward treats.
- Some owners of anxious pets even recommend massages or acupuncture.
- In serious cases, medication.
If you have serious concerns about your dog’s noise aversion or anxiety, we recommend speaking with your veterinarian to discuss treatment options, such as medication.
We always recommend pairing our products with positive reinforcement training, and we would like to note that dogs should never be disciplined for their anxious behaviors, as this is unfair and will only cause more stress and anxiety.
Supporting Your Noise Anxious Pup
Just as all people are different, so are all dogs. Learning about your dog’s specific needs can take time. As you explore the root cause of your dog’s noise anxiety,
Clawguard’s pet-safe, home-protection products are here to help. If your dog is doing damage to your home even without loud noises being the trigger, learn more about the top six reasons your pet scratches.