For some pets, summer is the best time of year. For others, it's filled with frightening booms and blasts that make them run and hide, putting a damper on the season for fearful pets and their concerned owners. If your dog or cat experiences stress and anxiety during storms and fireworks, read on to learn how to ease their fears.
What Does Noise Anxiety Look Like?
Pets can express their noise anxiety, stress, and phobias in many ways. Some pets shake in place while others find a dark spot to hide. The most common symptoms include:
- Urinating and defecating
- Being startled easily
- Defensiveness towards other pets or people
What to Avoid
DON'T ignore the problem.
Anxiety doesn't go away on its own. Seek advice from your veterinarian or dog trainer and have a plan to calm your pet.
DON'T force your dog outside when they're afraid.
If your pet hasn't gone to the bathroom and is resisting heading out the door, don't drag or force them. This could result in worsening their fear and panic.
DON'T let children or other pets around a dog or cat that is fearful.
When your pet experiences noise anxiety, they may instinctively feel panicked and threatened. While you may know your pet well, these circumstances are never 100% predictable. It's better to give them privacy and space from strangers, other pets, and kids.
DON'T wait too long to give anxiety medicine.
It takes time for most medicines to be effective. Your pet may have an adverse reaction if the drug can't work like it needs to before the trauma and stress of noise begins.
What to Do Instead
DO talk to us about how we can help.
We're Fear-Free CertifiedÂ®, which means our specially-trained staff can help fearful, anxious, and stressed-out pets. We know that part of having a happy life means living fear-free and stress-free. We offer medications, supplements, and can advise you in devices and techniques.
Did you know that 40% of pets that suffer from noise fear also experience separation anxiety? If your pet starts to shake, drool, or pace when you grab your keys, let's talk about how to make them comfortable when you leave the house.
DO keep a routine
Dogs and cats thrive on routine. Aside from a little extra play and walking time to tire them out, do your best to feed your pet at their regular mealtime and let them out as usual.
DO create an environment where your pet can relax
If your dog is crate trained, this can be as simple as adding calming music (like these pet playlists), closing the blinds, and closing the door. For pets that aren't crate-trained, you can create a peaceful Zen-den with blankets, a pheromone diffuser, and dimmer lights. Prepare this space in advance, so your pet can get used to it. Remember, they like routine!
Don't leave your dog or cat alone all night. Check on them and be generous with your scratches and massages. If you're having guests, put a note on the door, letting them know that your pet is relaxing and should be left alone.
Can't spare a dedicated space? Consider boarding your dog or cat at our facility, where they'll get social interaction, stimulation, and exercise in a supervised environment.
DO praise and comfort your pet
When your cat or dog feels fearful, it's important to soothe them. Take a moment to sit and stroke them and speak to them in a calm, quiet voice. Don't worry about "babying" them – they aren't choosing to be afraid so you won't reinforce their expressions of fear.
DO be patient
Anxiety can lead to accidents and destructive behavior. Even dogs and cats that have been housebroken for years can urinate or defecate inside when scared. The same is true of chewing.
Your pet is not intentionally reacting this way, as it's part of their fight-or-flight mechanism. Be patient, and do not punish them for this behavior. Punishment can magnify the stress and create a worse reaction during the next storm or fireworks show.
DO remember that our pets hear better than we do
Your pet may hear or feel the vibrations from thunder and fireworks long before they're discernable to humans. If your pet starts displaying anxiety, there's probably a reason for it.
We Hope You Have a Blast This Summer
Summer is a great time to be a dog, cat, or pet owner. If booms, pops, and blasts are putting a damper on your pet's good time, we're here for you. Schedule an appointment today, and let's make summer more enjoyable for your entire family.
Image credit: Kevin Blanzy|Pexels