As a dog owner, you have probably come to dread Guy Fawkes or New Year’s Eve, or any event that involves fireworks. And thunderstorms are reminiscent of the scene in The Sound of Music when all the children run into Maria’s room, terrified of the loud bangs, except you have a fur-family-member crawling under your bed covers. Sound familiar?
Not all dogs suffer from what is known as “noise aversion”, but research tells us that approximately 40% of dogs experience it. And they will do anything to try and get away from the noise (what they perceive as a threat), often resulting in injury, or even death.
It’s never nice to see your pet go through such an acute fear, but there are ways to soothe and calm them. If there is an occasion coming up where you know there will be loud noises, be as prepared as possible:
- Plan to stay with your pet if you can. A familiar face and voice will go a long way in bringing comfort.
- Keep him inside and close the curtains. Not only are the loud sounds diminished, but there are less chances of him injuring himself or running away.
- Don’t overly coddle him. As humans, we might like a hug to calm us down, but for most dogs, this will just make them even more anxious. Depending on your dog, some like to be petted (use a firm sweeping motion down their back), and some find their ears being fondled soothing. It’s entirely up to your dog though, so test out what works for him beforehand.
- Play soothing music or turn the TV up to minimise the sound.
- Distract him. Play his favourite game and reward him with treats. He’ll start to associate the loud noises with positive experiences, rather than scary ones.
- Give him a herbal supplement. Regal Stress & Anxiety Remedy has been specifically formulated with three effective herbs known for calming stressed and anxious dogs.
- Put him in a ThunderVest. A ThunderVest works in a similar way to swaddling a baby to soothe them. It is a unique dog anxiety wrap, designed to provide gentle, constant pressure to your dog’s torso, resulting in a calming effect.
- Make sure he has identification. In the event that your dog does escape during a time of trauma, make sure he is either chipped or wearing identification, so he can be reunited with you as soon as possible.