What is Noise Phobia?
It is very hard to watch your well-behaved dog start to pace, become restless, lip licking and panting, immobile, chew on clothes, trap themselves under furniture, flee, get abnormally clingy or unintentionally break stuff in the state of fear. And this happened just because of a series of clapping thunder, fireworks, construction noise or any loud booming noises.
Apparently, your dog has noise phobia. It is common. But you should not ignore it. Some dogs grow out of this phobia. Others get worse. And during this state of panic, dogs may accidentally hurt other animals, their owners and themselves.
Some dogs may have been through bad experience in their younger years which may have developed this phobia. Earlier accounts of injury, punishments or other traumatic experiences may have led to this trauma subsequently relating violent or loud sounds to that account leading to panic.
This may also be due to physiological factors like ear infection which can alter recognition of sound. In rare cases, tumors may also cause incomprehensible response to loud noises.
What should you do?
Treating noise phobia is no easy fix. The first thing you should do when you notice your dog with this condition is to contact your veterinarian, have your dog examined for physiological of psychological disorders and work with the doctor on the best way to get rid of the phobia.
In case of a psychological issue, the first thing an owner should do is to calm down your dog. There are many ways to do this but you have to work with your dog. Try practicing watching or listening to certain loud shows together. At the moment that you know your dog will react wildly, distract him gently, tell him to keep still and give him a treat for keeping still. Do this repeatedly with different TV sounds or loud music on a regular basis until he naturally becomes calm knowing he is rewarded for that behavior.
Give your dog a safe place where he can go to in a storm. This may be a kennel or a crate where he cannot hear or see what’s happening. Observe where he goes to when he’s scared and locate his safe place there. And while he’s there, don’t forget to reward him with a treat for good, calm behavior.
Consider giving him a snug, compressed clothing. It can provide a calming tucked-in effect similar to swaddling a baby.
Consult your veterinarian. There are anti-anxiety medications that the doctor may prescribe after a careful investigation of your dog’s behavior. There is also SILEO gel that is specifically prescribed for noise aversion in dogs. Just make sure to follow the doctor’s instructions on the usage as it is not suitable for every dog and every situation.
There are also natural fragrances that you may spread on his sleeping area that helps replaces his anxiety with calm. A diffuser with drops of pheromones may be successful too. Just turn it on before a loud, noisy event that you know will have your dog cowering.