When Noise Scares Your Pet – We’re Here to Help

By December 20, 2019Blog

New Year’s Eve and 2020 are just around the corner!

Are you ready to celebrate and ring-in the roaring twenties?

What about your pets? Do your pets enjoy noisy celebrations or do they show signs of noise aversion?

Noise aversion or noise phobias can manifest in many different F.A.S. symptoms (FAS: fear, anxiety, stress) and can originate from a variety of sources – some of which you may not have considered.

  • Fireworks (particularly stressful on New Year’s Eve and 4th of July)
  • Thunder
  • Construction/Heavy equipment (vibrations can be scary even when the sound is not loud)
  • Air traffic – helicopters, jets, planes
  • Street traffic – big trucks, sirens, honking horns, backup beeps
  • Noise makers (particularly obnoxious on New Year’s Eve)
  • Loud voices – including happy celebratory sounds – cheering – Happy New Year!
  • High-pitched voices – including happy children
  • Smoke alarm beeps
  • Clapping – including celebratory clapping

Here is a link to an interactive web page from the makers of SILEO. Be sure to turn on the sound button on this page and turn up the volume on your speakers.

When dogs are feeling scared, fearful, anxious, or stressed - you may notice one or more of the following:

  • Running away from the noise (the natural flight response)
  • Changes in Vocalization such as whining, howling, high-pitched yipping, or unusual silence
  • Panting
  • Drooling
  • Lip licking
  • Yawning
  • Needy behavior (wanting to be very close to you)
  • Cowering/Crouching/Hiding behind or underneath larger items
  • Trembling/Shaking
  • Ears positioned back or flat against the head
  • Mooneyes or a furrowed brow
  • Immobilized (the natural freeze response)
  • Refusal to take high-value treats

In cats, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Attempt to escape – to get away from the noise (natural flight response)
  • Changes in vocalization including low growling or chirping
  • Hissing/Spitting
  • Hiding/Cowering/Crouching
  • Wide-eyes/Dilated pupils
  • Ears pinned back – flattened against the head
  • Twitching or swishing tail (not to be confused with a dog’s wagging tail)
  • Swatting/Batting/Scratching
  • Puffed-up tail fur – sometimes entire body looks puffed-up (to appear larger)
  • Arched back (to appear larger)
  • Immobilized (natural freeze response)
  • Refusal to take high-value treats

Here are a few tips we hope will help keep your pets feeling calm and safe during noisy situations, events, or celebrations:

Allow your pet access to a safe space such as a crate or quiet room. For cats, in addition to a quiet room, provide high perching areas (if possible), or small spaces within which to hide such as cardboard boxes, large paper sacks.

Be sure the windows and curtains are closed.

Leave the lights on.

Play calming music (Through a Dog’s Ear or Through a Cat’s Ear for example) which can soothe your pet. You might also try classical music, white noise, or even the television or radio – in a pinch – to help mask outside noise.

Consider a compression garment for dogs. Compression garments don’t work for all dogs, but when they do, the results are profound.

Prepare food puzzles to keep pets distracted with positive rewards. You can find many different types of food puzzles with varying degrees of difficulty for both dogs and cats.

Tips to Create a Safe Space

If your pet is not accustomed to food puzzles, crates, or compression garments it is important to introduce these when the pet is feeling calm and secure. Otherwise, you’ll risk the chance that the item intended to calm is instead associated with feeling fear, anxiety, or stress. With pets, it’s ALL about association.

There are some pets who will be fearful or anxious no matter how many of the above tips we employ. Please know, for these pets, there are additional pharmaceutical and nutraceutical options available on a case-by-case basis.

Once pets have been evaluated by a licensed veterinarian, the next step is to discuss the options for the proper use of:

  • Feliway – calming pheromones for cats
  • Adaptil – calming pheromones for dogs
  • Calming Care Probiotics
  • Bach Flower Infused Tincture such as Rescue Remedy
  • Benadryl
  • SILEO (prescription only – FDA approved for use in dogs)
  • Trazodone (prescription only)
  • Gabapentin (prescription only)
  • Sedatives (prescription only)

If you think your pet may benefit from any of the above, please don’t wait to have your pet evaluated by your vet. Every pet is an individual. Some pets can have adverse reactions while other pets easily tolerate the medication.

It is best to conduct trial medications and trial doses at home – when you will be there to monitor your pet for reactions and to assess the effectiveness.

Trials are best conducted during times when the pet is already feeling safe and calm.

No matter the reason for celebration, we hope to help make these events as enjoyable as possible for all of your pets.

From our family to yours, Happy New Year!

And as always, please feel free to reach out to the staff here at CoastView Vet if you have any questions or concerns about your pet. We’re here to help.

For dogs, we’ve seen positive results with a new medication called SILEO.

SILEO is intended to calm but NOT sedate. It takes only about 30-60 minutes to take effect. It lasts about 2 to 3 hours. And it comes in a handy prefilled injector. No pills. No needles. The medication is in gel form and is meant to be absorbed through your dog’s gum tissue – in between their cheek and gum.

The first dose can be given approximately 30 to 60 minutes before the noisy event or as soon as your dog shows signs of noise aversion – fear, anxiety or stress related to noise.

Leave a Reply