Bitsy is a fairly excitable dog, which most of the time is great because she’s always looking forward to new adventures. However, with her excitable nature also comes a bit of an anxiousness, especially when it comes to loud or strange noises. Noise anxiety is a big problem for dogs throughout the country.
According to http://www.dogtime.com, 5 to 15 million dogs are affected by noise anxiety. It is difficult to console a dog because we cannot simply explain that the noises will pass and everything will be all right. Through research and bit of my own experience, I’ve come up with ways to ease Bitsy’s anxiety and try to make her feel a bit more comfortable and relaxed.
1.) Safe, Quiet Space
If you know that there are going to be loud noises like fireworks, noise makers, or thunder you can plan ahead by offering then a safe, quiet space. When dogs feel threatened by sounds they don’t recognize or can’t place, they often retreat to small, enclosed spaces to feel safer. You can help by placing your dog’s crate in a quiet place in the house where she feels comfortable.
2.) Get Moving!
Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise because the less pent up energy your dog has, the more likely she is able to relax. A stressed dog can easily become destructive if a noise triggers their anxiety or fear.
3.) Keep Safely Inside
If a storm is brewing or if there is a fireworks show or other loud celebrations happening, it’s a good idea to keep your pup inside. Even if your dog has never tried to escape before, her fear of the noises may be strong enough for her to flee.
4.) Proper ID
Protect your dog by ensuring that your pet is wearing proper identification and that her microchip information is up to date.
5.) Occupy Their Time
A dog with a task is less likely to give in to noise anxiety because she is focused. A high-value bully stick or a Kong filled with a frozen treat may prove helpful in keeping your dog’s anxiety in check.
6.) Remove Visual Stimulation
It may help to close doors, windows, and blinds to calm your dog down and keep them from anxious behavior like searching every window for the cause of the noise. Covering your pup’s crate can also be helpful.
7.) Noise Desensitization
If the other tips don’t seem to be working or aren’t as effective as you would like them to be, noise desensitization could be a good supplement or alternative. You play sets of sounds that would normally trigger your dog but at a lower volume. Start by playing the recording at a volume level that does not trigger a fearful response. You can then begin to increase the sound slightly. When your dog is calm, feed her some of her favorite treats. You want them to associate those noises with something positive! If you continue with this process, over time anxiety should decrease.
8.) Keep Calm and Carry On
Some other viable options are calming sprays, collars, and diffusers. Adaptil collars are known to be quite effective. These products are formulated to mimic the appeasement pheromones that comfort nursing puppies. The use of the spray or diffuser can be additionally helpful in events that usually cause stress.
9.) Anxiety Wrap
The anxiety wrap is a pressure wrap available for dogs (and cats!) of all sizes. It uses a scientifically balanced combination of acupressure and gentle, maintained pressure to help ease anxiety. It retails for $34.95 and can be purchased at www.anxietywrap.com.
10.) The Thundershirt
Very similar to the anxiety wrap, although I think it is a bit more stylish looking. (Especially if you add the custom embroidery!) It sells for $39.95 and can be purchased at www.thundershirt.com.
I hope these tips were helpful but if you have any other suggestions please comment below. I know it’s a priority for all of us to keep our pets happy and feeling secure!