Animal House: Loud Noises Produce Anxiety

Jun 30, 2016

A thundershirt might be the solution for a dog that is fearful of loud noises.
Credit sailn1 / Flickr via Creative Commons

The 4th of July holiday brings a lot of fun -- from parades, to barbecues, to fireworks displays.  But while the fireworks may be thrilling to you, they can produce an entirely different reaction in your dog.

  • Some dogs are sensitive to loud noise, such as fireworks or thunder.  Noise can produce stress and anxiety in your pooch.
  • Dr. Matt Fraker from the Prairie Oak Veterinary Center in Normal said that some dogs are triggered to be alarmed by loud sounds, while others take it in their stride.  No one knows why certain dogs can't handle the noise.
  • Repeated exposure to loud noises can make the phobia worse.
  • Dogs will pant, shiver, even try to dig their way out of the house to escape from the noise and their fear.
  • It's not just thunder and fireworks -- smoke alarms can trigger a fearful dog.
  • Thundershirts can be used to help.  It wraps around the body and gives the animal comfort.
  • Trying to reassure your pet during noise can reinforce the fear.  Try distract the pet and just act normal.  Give treats, play, and hang out in the basement.  Your behavior will cue your pet on how to behave.  Never use disciple against the dog, you'll only make it work.
  • Drugs are tricky.  Check with your vet to see if your pet is a good candidate.