Noise Phobia: How to help your pup through the fireworks this NYE
After the craziness of 2020, it’s safe to say that we are all pretty excited to be ringing in a new year. Your pupper on the other hand, may not be quite as stoked.
Our furry friends hear a lot better than we do (4 to 5 times better!) and they can detect high and low levels of sound that are not audible to us, so it’s no surprise that a fireworks display or a summer thunderstorm may inject a sense of fear into their usually peaceful routine.
“A dog has the cognitive ability of an 18-24 month old child and as such, will never understand its external environment in the same way we do. Noise and movement are the two main stimulants for dogs, and these can very easily overwhelm dogs, resulting in reactivity and anxiety.”
Ian Shivers from Bondi Behaviourist
Noise phobia is a serious issue, because whilst some puppers may just hide under the bed or bark, some will do anything to escape the noise, including breaking windows or jumping the fence to try and get away.
So, what can you do to help your furry friend feel and stay safe around loud noises this New Year’s Eve?
- Set up a cosy spot: whether it’s under the table or desk, inside a wardrobe or just in a quiet corner of your home, creating a safe dark space that is filled with your pupper’s favourite toys, blankets and a few treats will help them to feel secure. If your furry friend is crate trained, they may find this small space very comforting with a blanket draped over the top. Depending on your pupper’s behaviour, you can leave them here to self-soothe or just sit quietly beside them. It might also be worth investing in some Mutt Muffs to help with noise reduction and lowering your pup’s stress levels.
- Play calming music: play some soothing tunes or download a meditation or white noise app and use these sounds to distract your pupper from the scary noises outside.
- Apply pressure to your pupper: just like a baby feels content when swaddled, dogs are the same. Without patting or stroking, try gently leaning on your pup and applying continuous pressure – not too much of course, but you should start to feel their muscles relax if this method is working.
- Distract with toys and treats: depending on your pupper’s behaviour, you may be able to distract them with some of their favourite treats or toys and play around with them until the noise subsides. Just be careful not to encourage or reinforce anxious behaviours.
- Consult your vet: your vet may be able to advise of some natural remedies to keep your pupper calm and anxiety-free this fireworks season.
In addition, try to make sure your pupper is microchipped and your doors, gates and fences are locked.
Here’s to you and your pupper safely and calmly enjoying those long-awaited fireworks – Happy New Year!
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