Forums » Behavior

Fear of Loud Noises - Fireworks and Thunderstorms

  • June 27, 2017 1:23 PM EDT


    Loud noises can commonly lead to anxiety, fear and panic in dogs, and occasionally in cats. 

    For some, this is a "seasonal" problem - for example, when thunderstorms tend to develop, 
    or during fireworks season (especially around the 4th of July holiday).  The fear and panic that ensues can be significant - it can become a real source of suffering for noise sensitive pets and those with noise phobias. 


    Signs of distress associated with a noise phobia can include

    • Vocalization - whining, barking, howling
    • Pacing
    • Panting
    • Shaking
    • Drooling or Vomiting
    • Excessive yawning
    • Hiding

    What can be done?


    Although many pets can be helped by working with a trainer for counter-conditioning and desensitization to the triggers of their fear, this is something that should be worked on 
    outside of firework season. Pet owners should not try to desensitize their pets by taking them to a fireworks display to "help them get used to it." This can make things much worse!

    7 tips to help pets that are fearful or anxious in response to loud noises
     
    1) Keep the pet indoors during thunderstorms and fireworks - and make sure they can't get out
    2) Prepare a comfortable and cozy "safe haven" for them - a place to hide within the home
    3) Pheromones may be helpful - such as Adaptil collars or diffusers for dogs and Feliway for cats
    4) Supplements - such as Harmonease has been shown to decrease agitation; ProQuiet and melatonin may also be helpful
    5) Pressure wrap - such as the Thundershirt®Storm Defender, or Anxiety Wrap may help reduce anxiety
    5) Food puzzles - toys such as KongBuster Food Cube, or Kibble Nibble
    6) Provide some type of noise canceling - a fan, white noise machine, or soft music
    7) Veterinarians can prescribe anti-anxiety medications to help them get through the times of distress