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Helping Your Dog Cope with Loud Thunder and Fireworks

Fear of loud noises, especially thunder and fireworks, is a common phobia in dogs. It's usually displayed by hiding, whining, barking, pawing or even urination. Trying to help your dog cope with loud noises is important because the anxiety usually gets progressively more pronounced ​with age. A dog suffering from a fear of thunderstorms may begin to display anxious behavior before the thunder begins. Rain on the roof of the house, bright flashes of light or even the drop in air pressure before a storm may be enough to trigger anxiety. It is important not to punish your dog for being anxious, but equally important not to cuddle too much.

  •     Punishing your dog will just create more fear and anxiety because thunder will then be associated with both fear and punishment.
  •     Cuddling or comforting your dog too much isn't a good idea because it teaches your dog that anxious behavior is appropriate.

Instead, first provide your dog with a safe place to seek refuge. Dog crates, under a bed or under a chair are common hiding places for a dog. Your dog chooses these places because she feels protected and the noise of thunder or fireworks is muffled. If your dog has not already picked out a place, provide one. Try leaving a few treats in a safe place to encourage your dog to go there.

Try desensitizing your dog to loud noises so the sound becomes normal. This is usually done by playing recorded thunder at a low volume and in short intervals while you monitor your dog's behavior. Try to distract your dog while the noise is present by playing fetch or engaging in some sort of enjoyable activity. If your dog is too frightened to participate, you need to turn down the intensity of your thunder stimulus and try again later. This process is long and requires patience, but in the end your dog will be much more comfortable during a storm or near a fireworks display.

 We may be able to relieve your dog's anxiety by using a new product called the Thundershirt. This is a non-pharmaceutical method to calm your pet and we have seen truly remarkable results using it for our patients. 

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For help with further treating your dog's anxiety, seek advice from one of the doctors at Murphy Road Animal Hospital:   (615) 383 4241

Helping Your Cat Cope with Loud Thunder and Fireworks

 It's not uncommon for a cat to be afraid of loud noises, especially thunder and fireworks. They usually display by cat_scared.JPGhiding. A cat suffering from a substantial fear of loud noises may begin to display anxious behavior before the thunder begins. Rain on the roof of the house, bright flashes of light or even the drop in air pressure before a storm may be enough to trigger anxiety. It is important to know what to do when the situation occurs:

  • Staying calm will help your cat feel safe. You might even try to play with your cat to distract from the noise of thunder of fireworks.
  •  Make sure your cat has a safe place to seek refuge. Cats typically will run under a bed or under a chair to escape loud noises. Your cat chooses these places because she feels protected and the noise of thunder or fireworks is muffled. If your cat has not already picked out a place, provide one. Try leaving a few kibbles of a favorite cat food in safe place to encourage your cat to go there.

Try desensitizing your cat to loud noises so the sound becomes normal. This is usually done by playing recorded thunder at a low volume and in short intervals while you monitor your cat's behavior. This process is long and requires patience, but in the end your cat will be much more comfortable during a storm or near a fireworks display.

For help with further treating your cat's anxiety, seek advice from one of the doctors at Murphy Road Animal Hospital:   (615) 383 4241