The boom of fireworks or the crash of thunder could create a wave of excitement for you. However, for many dogs, these loud noises trigger fear and anxiety similar to a panic attack. We have two dogs at home, and they are not fans of fireworks. Boomer just gets nervous for the most part, but Ella heads under our bed when the neighbors crank up the excitement. This anxiety is a progressive medical condition called canine noise aversion. You might know it as noise phobia or noise anxiety. At least one in three dogs suffer from noise aversion, which can leave dog owners and their families feeling helpless during summer fireworks celebrations and rolls of thunder. But what to do about it?
One solution is medication. Some vets prescribe “Sileo”, a gel applied to the lining of the mouth that puts the dog to sleep. It’s the first and only U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment for canine noise aversion and works for two to three hours. For more information on this method, visit sileodogus.com.
Not ready to medicate? Here are a few other ideas:
• Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise earlier in the day, writes Lisa Spector on positively.com. This helps tire them out and makes them less wired.
• Stay close by, because pets find it soothing to have their people next to them, according to peta.com.
• Keep them inside and windows and doors closed, Spector writes. Dogs prefer small and closed-in areas when they are frightened. If they sleep in a crate, this is a good option.
• Give them something fun to do during the main event, suggests purina.com, like play with a treat-filled Kong ball or their favorite toy.
• Use sound therapy, like the “Through a Dog’s Ear” CDs, recommends peta.com. It’s specifically designed to reduce canine anxiety. Play the music before fireworks starts to get them in a calm frame of reference.