We have had several calls and appointments for dogs that have noise induced anxiety. Most often results from storms but can also be fireworks and other noises. Below are some tips to deal with this behavior.
Tips to deal with Noise Anxiety in Dogs
- Restrict or minimize exposure to noises that cause your dog to be afraid.
- Play music to mask noises that scare your dog. Classical music has been shown to be calming for some dogs.
- During fireworks, close the curtains and keep the room brightly lit to limit visual stimulation.
- Encourage your dog to go to a soundproof area such as a basement, closet or bathroom. These areas can be safe havens for your dog; once the noise begins, your dog can retreat to this area and feel relatively safe. Talk with your veterinarian on how to set up a safe haven for your dog.
- Be present: your presence itself is comforting to your dog.
- Act normal: for example, play with your dog, read a book or watch TV, regardless of the noise.
Actions to Avoid in Dogs with Noise Anxiety
- Never punish your dog for having accidents indoors or damaging property during noise events. It makes your dog even more afraid of the noise. And remember, dogs are acting out of fear, not misbehaving.
- Avoid telling your dog that “It’s OK” or petting your dog during noise events. For example:
- When you say, “It’s OK,” your dog hears that it is “OK” to pace, pant or bark during the noise event.
- Petting your dog sends a similar message as saying “It’s OK”.