Does your dog shake, shiver, crawl under the bed at the first sign of a thunderstorm or start howling when the New Year’s or Australia Day fireworks begin? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Did you know that approximately 23% of dogs show some fearfulness to noise? And, that those dogs fearful of noise are more likely to show other behavioural problems including separation anxiety? On top of all this, the fear response to noise tends to get worse as dogs age.
So how can you help your dog overcome its fear of fireworks and thunder?
Here are some ways to help soothe your furry best bud so you can both stay calm and enjoy this summer.
As with most illnesses and conditions, prevention is better than cure. Recognising early on that your dog is displaying fearful behaviour and knowing how to address it is key. It is also vital to make sure your dog doesn’t see you responding to negative behaviour with a reward that would inadvertently encourage and reinforce their negative behaviour (including, patting, treats, holding, etc.).
At the same time, definitely don’t punish them for their fearful behaviour as this will increase their anxiety. Instead you can work with them to engage in confidence-building behaviours they enjoy that you can then reward them for, such as playing with them and their favourite toy, brushing them, walking them around the house, or any other activities that they enjoy.
Anti-anxiety shirts, costumes and wraps
A new trend emerging is the use of anti-anxiety wraps, costumes and shirts, which have been advocated to help alleviate the anxiety associated with thunderstorms and fireworks. The underlying theory is that the constant pressure applied by these garments is thought to comfort the dogs via the swaddling effect and acupressure. Trials have shown that after a period of 5 uses 89% of owners have reported an increase in the effective treatment of anxiety.
Just watch how this duck suit helped this blind rescue goat.
Changing the environment
Some dogs can respond well to a change of environment to help reduce their anxiety. You could place them in an area that reduces or minimises the sounds, sights and smells of storms and fireworks. Alternatively, if your dog is crate trained, placing them in the small confines of their crate where they feel safe, can also help ease their stress.
There are many natural pet products that have been clinically proven as safe and effective to reduce anxiety and calm pets during times of high stress, even when used with conventional medication. Liquid delivery systems mean that it’s easy to administer before or during the anxious time and are neither sedating, or habit-forming and they have no side effects.
In extreme conditions a Veterinarian may administer medication to your dog that provides a sedative effect or anti-anxiety effect, however, ideally these would always be used as a last resort.
Noise can be very scary for your dog, but with the right actions and activities you and your fur baby can make it through anything together.
Dog Anxiety Treatments – Trembling, fear, hiding, panting and destructive behaviours are common physical and psychological symptoms associated with thunderstorms, loud noises, lightning, wind and rain. Our natural dog anxiety treatments promote a sense of calm and relieves stress.
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Video Credit: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCINb0wqPz-A0dV9nARjJlOQ The Dodo