For our animal companions, up to 40% of them would say thunder and fireworks. Noise phobias are common and with Guy Fawkes next weekend get organised now.
What is a phobia? Listen on RadioLive.
A phobia is an excessive fear which is disproportionate to the circumstance.Physiological, emotional and behavioural responses are similar to ‘fear’, but become exaggerated so they turn into ‘panic’. Fear may persist for a period afterward the stimulus and injury or self-harm may occur as they try to ‘escape’ the experience. With time, they become more sensitive to the noise and need less stimulus intensity to trigger the phobia so any loud bang might cause an escalated response.
What can we do?
Anxiolytic medications can facilitate the behaviour modification that must take place when treating a fearful patient. An anxious, reactive dog or cat will have difficulty learning new things. With noise phobia, a short treatment at this time of year can be successful but you need to act now.
- Dog-appeasing pheromone (Adaptil) and Feliway can be beneficial when treating anxious dog and cats, respectively.
- Rescue remedy and Calmex both work naturally to reduce anxiety
- Burning essential oil of lavender or applying it to a bandana or bedding can help decrease anxiety, particularly during car rides.
- Acupuncture can be an effective primary or adjunctive therapy depending on the severity of clinical signs, although there are no published studies to date.
- Wraps such as the Thundershirt, can help dogs with storm phobias and separation anxiety.
For Big Bang nights make sure your pet is in before nightfall. Close the curtains or put them in the car in an inside garage. Give them somewhere to hide – in a wardrobe or in their crate so they feel safe. Put on some music with a bit of drum and base do drown out the noise of the fireworks and feed them a hearty dinner. All these things will help them relax.
Use Adaptil on a bandana or Feliway diffuser in a room to help calm them down. Calmex will also help if given prior to the fireworks. If you are worried this won’t be enough make an appointment to come and see us for a prescription to help them through.