Summer Sounds and Noise Anxiety in Pets
Many pet owners know the rumble of an approaching summer storm or the loud crack of a nearby fireworks display is all it takes to send a pet spiraling into fear and anxiety. The panting, pacing, and trembling begins, and, if you’re lucky, your pet merely runs and hides somewhere nearby. For the rest of us, there’s barking, howling, or frantic (and destructive) attempts to escape.
Noise anxiety in pets is more than just annoying – prolonged periods of anxiety or stress can take a toll on your pet’s mental and physical health. Your friends at Huntington Veterinary Hospital are here to help you develop a plan to support your pet during the summer and all year long.
It’s not uncommon for a pet to find a way to escape their home during a noisy event. In fact, July 5th tends to be a busy day for shelters as they attempt to reunite pets who have gone missing during the chaos of July 4th celebrations.
The best thing you can do is to have your pet microchipped and ensure the chip is updated with your current contact information. A well-fitting collar with up-to-date ID tags (worn at all times) is another must-have, along with a current photo of your pet.
Managing Noise Anxiety in Pets
Unfortunately, we can’t explain to our pets that things like thunder and fireworks are loud but harmless. Instead, it’s up to pet owners to provide their pets with the reassurance they need in order to feel safe.
- Security – If possible, don’t leave your pet home alone during a noisy event. Enlist the help of a friend or family member to stay and comfort your pet or arrange for doggie daycare or boarding services. It’s important that your pet is able to feel safe & secure inside WITH someone there to comfort and keep safe.
- Distraction – A favorite game or fun new toy (try a puzzle feeder for a good challenge) may be distracting enough to take the edge off your pet’s anxiety. You could also use this time to groom your pet or to practice obedience commands. Close all windows and doors, and utilize background sounds, such as a fan, TV, or radio, to help muffle outside noise.
- Safety – You know your pet the best, and you know where they feel most at home. Crate-trained pets may benefit from the comfort of their crate or carrier; some pets may prefer to sleep with or near you when they’re scared. If you know your pet will want to hide, a prearranged hiding spot can be outfitted with your pet’s bedding, toys, and water.
For pets with severe noise anxiety, a combination of behavioral techniques and medication can be helpful. For dogs, we recommend Sileo Gel for noise anxiety and we strongly advise that you get it in the weeks prior to the holiday/event to ensure availability. Remember to give it in advance of the impending firework displays as once they are already worked up it will not be as effective.
Please don’t hesitate to contact our staff for more information or to schedule an appointment for your pet.