Loud noises, such as fireworks and thunder, can be fun for humans. However, these loud noises can be a scary situation for our pets! Many dogs and cats are fearful of loud noises (commonly referred to as noise aversion), especially thunder and fireworks. With summer storms and the 4th of July looming, what can pet owners do to comfort their companions?
Let’s First Discuss Why They’re Afraid
Our pets are often fearful of noises such as thunder and lightning as they are a threat they cannot see or understand, therefore it is scary to them. In their minds, there is a threat that they cannot protect themselves from because they cannot find the source, so their next instinct is to become afraid.
How Do I Know My Pet is Afraid?
Not all pets will display being fearful in the same way. Some pets may only indicate that they are not-so-happy with their body language. Other symptoms of noise aversion may include: tucking ears back, shaking, vocalizing, cowering, hiding, excessive panting, or shaking. Learning to recognize how your individual pet displays their discomfort will be a key in helping to ease their stress.
How Do I Help My Pet?
We’re so glad you asked! If you recognize your pet has noise aversion tendencies there are several actions you can take to help them feel more comfortable. If your pet is known to have certain triggers, do you best to try to minimize those triggers as much as possible. If your pet will inevitably hear the noises they are afraid of, such as thunder, you can try some other tactics as well. Try playing calming music, such as classical music, to help muffle the noises they are afraid of. Keeping your pet in an interior room away from windows will help to minimize the volume of the scary noise as well.
Distractions are another great remedy to noise aversion! Try giving your pet a food game or playing with them while loud noises are occurring. The less they pay attention to the noise, the less afraid they are likely to be. Many pet owners also find success in using products such as a Thunder Shirt, which is like a wearable hug, to help their pets to feel more secure during a scary event.
If your pet is inconsolable by other methods, a chat with your veterinarian about the possibility of calming or sedative medications intended to help during these events is the next step. By being proactive you are improving your pet’s well-being!