Have you ever been startled by a loud noise? Maybe an unexpected knock at the door, random fireworks going off, or thunder crashing close by? Our furry friends can experience the same startled feelings when these types of situations occur. While we can quickly anticipate and identify where loud noises are coming from and if they’re harmful or not, our dogs can’t.
So, instead they react by jumping to their feet and barking or running to hide and tremble in an attempt to alert you that something is happening.
Many dogs are afraid of loud noises -- and figuring out where noise fear stems from can be difficult. In fact, for many dogs, this root cause of this fear is unknown or simply a part of their genetics as a breed. Other dogs may experience a traumatic or stressful incident such as being too close to fireworks, encountering a strange person or animal, or a loud car that has created a long-lasting bad memory for them, re-triggering them each time they hear a similar sound.
Dogs can also also be sensitive to environmental changes in the weather. Technically speaking, this is due to the changes in the barometric pressure. As the pressure changes, your dog’s senses are heightened and odors travel differently through the air, allowing them to pick up on these environmental changes quicker than we can!
So, Fido might become a bit antsy, agitated, or frantic if the wind picks up or if a storm starts to roll through. On the contrary, he might become overly excited and ready to explore all the different scents drifting through the air. In addition, if the weather is warmer than usual, you might notice your pup not eating as much or taking more naps throughout the day!
While you most likely cannot predict when loud noises and environmental changes will occur, you can always keep an eye on the weather and the holiday schedule to know when your bestie might be on high alert.
In addition, we have a few simple ways to help your pet feel safe during these situations:
Distract Your Dog
This one might be obvious, but one of the easiest ways to help them is to distract them! Play an interactive game (tug or fetch anyone?) or even fill up a fun treat dispenser or chew toy. If they can’t seem to focus on the games and toys, don’t force it. It’s important to not associate negative feelings with things they normally like. Instead, try turning on the TV or playing some music.
Create a Safe Spot for Fido
You’ve probably heard other pawrents talk about their dog running into the closets or under the bed during storms or fireworks. It might feel safe there! If possible, create a safe, comforting spot for your own dog with a bed, blankets, and maybe their favorite plush toy so they have a place to retreat to when they’re feeling scared or anxious.
Try a Calming Supplement
If you are able to predict when these loud noises or environmental changes might occur, there’s another option, too. You can choose to offer your pet a calming supplement in advance so he will have an easier time relaxing.
Desensitize the Noise
It is possible to work with your dog on desensitizing triggering noises for them. You can expose your dog to these noises in a controlled environment at a low level a little bit at a time. As your fur bestie gets used to these noises, you can increase the sound in small doses, allowing your dog to become accustomed to it and eventually tolerate it. Don’t forget to always reward them for their calm behavior!
Just like us, dogs will experience loud noises and environmental changes many times throughout their lives that might make them fearful or anxious. We hope these tips to put your furry family member at ease will be helpful.