Those Scary Sounds!
Did you know that 50% of all dogs have a noise aversion? That is a lot of dogs! Did you know that noise aversions tend to get worse as your dog ages? The good news is that management, medication, and behavior modification are up to 70% effective when used correctly.
Fourth of July is quickly approaching and it can be a very scary day for our canine companions, as well as many other animals. Believe it or not, there are places in Europe that have quiet fireworks. These fireworks have lots of visual effects without all the noise.
Unfortunately, it is not just fireworks that many dogs are afraid of. They can be afraid of thunder, the vacuum, or even the wind blowing against windows, among many other noises. Dogs, in general, hear higher frequency and softer sounds better than humans do. Eileen Anderson wrote an article on How Does Dog's Hearing Compare to Humans if you want to learn more.
For the upcoming fireworks, we suggest that you start to plan ahead to ensure your animals are as comfortable as possible. To start, find a comfortable place for your canine companion on the interior of the home where he may naturally go to feel safe and secure. Play music with lots of bass to muffle some of the noise. Practice taking your dog to this place and perhaps feed him his meals there so he starts to get used to the area. A quiet place such as an interior room, basement, or even a shower with a non-slip surface.
Get your pup outside for a potty break before the noise begins. Especially with fireworks, they can be so afraid of the noise that they may refuse to go outside which could lead to an accidental elimination in the house.
Consider giving your dog a long lasting food puzzle toy with extra special food in this "safe space" every now and then, to practice, prior to the noise starting. We recommend a Kong filled with canned dog food and then frozen or you can make a homemade food puzzle toy to give your dog something positive to do. However, some dogs are so scared they will not eat even their favorite treat.
For those really phobic dogs, ask your veterinarian if a pharmaceutical intervention is appropriate. You may want to try the medication out prior to July 4th to make sure it works and there are no negative side effects. There are medications specifically for sound phobias.
The most important part is to prepare and plan ahead of time. Let us know how we can help you and your pets have a peaceful 4th of July.
Lots of Woofs!