EDUCATION

August is...
Itchy Pet
Awareness Month

What's That Racket?
Getting to the bottom of noise aversion in dogs

What to do when your dog's fear of thunder or fireworks sends him running for cover.

Noise aversion includes both fear and anxiety about loud noises as well as phobias and discomfort about noises.
In our pets, it is normal to startle at loud or sudden noises, but in the case of noise aversion, the fear becomes a pathologic process that interrupts normal daily life.  In cases of noise aversion, the animal thinks he is in danger in the face of a noise that is not really dangerous.  Put yourself in your dog's shaky paws for a second:  Can you imagine thinking you were facing death on a regular basis?

Signs of anxiety or noise aversion can include vocalizing such as howling or barking, urination inappropriately around the house, hiding,  salivating and being overactive when a loud noise is occurring or they anticipate it might occur soon.  Sometimes dogs will damage items around the house, injure themselves or even escape.  This heartbreaking level of stress and anxiety must be addressed for your dog's sake and for yours.

It is vital to remember that noise aversion is a medical diagnosis.  Chemical changes in the brain contribute to severe fears, anxiety and phobieas, including the outward signs of stress. It is important to ask your veterinarian if you think your pet is suffering from any kind of anxiety or stress.  Chronic stress is not only a horrible experience for pets in the moment, but it can cause lasting changes to the brains and bodies of affected animals.  If a pet is damaging an owner's belongings or keeping them up at night, the human-animal bond is also at risk.

We recommend a visit to your vet.  There will probably need to be some diagnostic testin to rule ot other disease processes and make sure your pet is healthy enough for  atreatment plan.  The treatment plan may include environmental changes, behaviour modification protocols and even medication.  No one treatment  plan works for every affected patient and perseverance will be required to find what works best for your pet's case.