Dogs are Scared of Fireworks and Thunderstorms!

Dogs are Scared of Fireworks and Thunderstorms!

Thunderstorm dog Dogs (and cats) are scared of Fireworks and Thunderstorms — in fact some are so frightened of these noises they become almost paralyzed with fear…

Dogs are scared of fireworks and thunderstorms. It’s only natural. Loud noises trigger a powerful flight or fight response in both dogs and cats. A loud clap of thunder is likely to send them helter-skelter in search of a good hiding place. That is as it should be. After all, an animal in the wild will naturally seek refuge during stormy times or if danger is approaching.

Unfortunately, more dogs escape from their homes and yards during storms and fireworks than at any other time. On the day after the Fourth of July county animal shelters fill up with “stray” dogs. Cats, on the other hand, are far less prone to run away from their home base. Instead, they choose to burrow into a good hiding spot inside the house or yard area. Also, it appears that suburban and country dogs are more prone to this form of noise phobia than their city cousins.

Noise phobia is not breed specific so even sporting dogs can display anxiety during fireworks or thunderstorms. Dogs that are scared of fireworks (or thunderstorms) often have their own coping strategy such as seeking refuge in a windowless room or a bathroom or under a table. Others go into an all-out panic attack with displays of whining, howling, barking, shaking, trembling, urinating, or defecating. Some resort to chewing on furniture while others try to escape by jumping out a window or scratching their way through the door.

How can a pet parent help their dog overcome this type of anxiety? Most of the time dogs will ride out the storm and return to their normal selves again. However, do not overcompensate by feeling sorry for your dog or comforting him excessively. Comforting your dog will only give him temporary relief and it will further the anxiety the next time. Your body language and your confidence will do far more to stabilize your dog than words of sympathy.

Fortunately, there are several methods you can use to help keep your pooch comfortable. If your dog has a coping strategy such as hiding, by all means accommodate him by allowing him access to that area. If your dog does not have a preferred hiding place, then place him in a windowless room or a room with darkened blinds. This will alleviate the visual clues of lightning. (Keep in mind that small spaces, like a bathroom, are preferred over large ones.) If your dog is crate trained he can be placed in the crate and you can drape a blanket or other cover over it. In addition, background noise from a television or a radio can also help mask the noise of thunder

For more extreme cases, some animal behaviorists recommend reducing sensory overload created by static electricity and barometric pressure. This can be achieved by dressing your pup in a “thundershirt”, or a tightly bound T-shirt and massaging his ears. If that doesn’t work there are many products on the market designed to keep Fido calm. One behaviorist recommends buying an “appeasing pheromone” that plugs into a wall outlet, such as Comfort Zone. It emits the chemical simulation of a lactating dog and helps the dog feel safe and secure.

Afraid cat There are also homeopathic products for anxiety such as Rescue Remedy made by Bach Flower Essences. Also, Calms Forte works well. Both are safe for dogs and there is no danger of overdosing. For Calms Forte` use the dosage recommendations for children on the product label. Give these to the dog right before a thunderstorm.

The hormone Melatonin can also reduce anxiety levels in dogs and has health benefits for both dogs and humans. But, please check with your veterinarian before administering, particularly if your dog is on other types of medications. A dog’s dosage for Melatonin is .5 of 1 mg for small dogs, every 8 hours. For large dogs give 3 to 9 mg when needed.

Last but not least, is a method of sound desensitization used to treat noise phobias in dogs and cats. It is a rehabilitation treatment that exposes your pet to the noises that he fears, over and over again. At first the noise levels are low, gradually increasing in intensity. Two veterinary surgeons in England have developed a highly effective program and their Sounds Scary high definition CD has produced remarkable results. The reward is a calmer more confident dog and cat.

Note: The link included in this article can provide you with free downloads to help your pooch or kitty become desensitized. For other audio tracks visit this web site Scared No More.

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