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Dog Noise Anxiety

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Dog Noise Anxiety

What is Dog Noise Anxiety?

Dog noise anxiety describes dogs who have a significant stress response to loud noises. This can present itself in many different ways.

There is a big difference between dogs that get startled momentarily by noise and noise sensitive dogs. In reality noise anxiety in dogs can be debilitating and can affect your dogs everyday life and happiness.

What causes Noise Anxiety in Dogs?

Sensitivity to noises usually stems from when your dog is a puppy.

From a young age you should be socialising your puppy. During this time, your dog will be getting used to other dogs and people. In the process, they also get used to different environments and everyday sounds.

If not exposed to these different sounds and environments at a young age your dog may be cautious of them and develop fears. A puppy who grows up in a noisy household will be less likely to develop a fear of noise.

Is my Dog Sensitive to Sound?

There are many signs that tell if your dog is distressed. Symptoms of dog noise phobia include:

  • Urinating
  • Hiding
  • Breathing heavily
  • Pacing
  • Drooling
  • Barking 
  • Trembling
  • Dilated pupils

Milder symptoms of dog anxiety become more pronounced if your dog is continually exposed to the stimulus of their anxiety.

What Noises are Dogs Scared of?

Any loud noise can be a stimulus for your dog’s anxiety. Common noises that dogs are sensitive to include:

  • Thunderstorms
  • Fireworks
  • Vaccum cleaners
  • Sirens

Some dogs without noise anxiety may become suddenly scared because of a loud noise. In this case your dog should return to normal once the noise has subsided.

Dogs with a noise anxiety may associate other sounds or smells with their fear and become anxious before even hearing the loud noise. In some cases a dog will hear light rain and associate it with thunder and become anxious.

Treatment for Dogs with Noise Anxiety

Noise anxiety can negatively affect your dog’s life. Your dog may become progressively worse if continually exposed to the stimulus of their anxiety. Thus, treating the situation sooner rather than later is the best approach.

The best approach is to speak to your vet about getting a referral to a qualified pet behaviourist. They will assess the severity of your dogs anxiety and advise you on the best approach for the situation. 

For noise anxiety, a pet behaviorist will generally run a desensitisation program where they slowly introduce the particular noise that your dog is reacting negatively to. They pair this with positive reinforcement.

This can be a very long process and should not be attempted in the absence of a professional. If done incorrectly it could have the opposite affect on your dog.

How to Calm a Dog with Noise Anxiety

There are a number of things you can do at home to calm a dog with anxiety. Hiding is a dog’s natural reaction to hearing a sound that triggers their anxiety.

Make a safe hiding place for your dog – Dogs with sound anxiety will hide under the stairs or behind the sofa. A dark place away from windows makes your anxious dog feel safer. Make a designated hiding place for your dog to feel safe. Find a quiet area in your house and set up a cardboard box or crate with a duvet or blanket over it. The box will be dark and the blanket covering it will help muffle external noises.

Dog Noise Anxiety Medication

Dogs with severe cases of anxiety can be prescribed SSRIs and antidepressants. These medications help your dog cope with the stressful situation. These medications may include fluoxetine and clomipramine or even benzodiazepine.

CBD Oil for Dog Noise Anxiety

CBD oil can be very effective in treating noise anxiety in dogs. Although, it is always best to speak to your vet who can help determine what is the best treatment for your pet.

Essential Oils for Dog Noise Anxiety

Some essential oils can be toxic for dogs so you must tread carefully when turning to essential oil to help with your dogs noise anxiety. In saying that there are some essential oils that are both safe and effective for relieving your dogs anxiety.

Lavender oil is a common essential oil for treating anxiety in both dogs and humans.

Chamomile oil doesn’t directly target anxiety in dogs but it has calming and relaxation effects so it can help your dog calm down during or after a noise anxiety episode.