Cat hiding under sofaIt’s a familiar scene for many pet owners: a summer storm is rolling in, and before the noise of thunder even begins, you hear the telltale signs of your pet’s fear: panting, pacing, ID tags jingling, perhaps the sounds of him or her scratching or digging at furniture or doors.

Whether it’s a summer storm, a 4th of July fireworks display, or some other source of loud, explosive sound, pet noise anxiety is a fact of life for millions of pet owners. Prolonged periods of severe anxiety is not only bad for your pet’s mental well being, but  it can also have deleterious effects on his or her physical health as well.

Your team at Androscoggin Animal Hospital is here to help you develop a plan for supporting your pet during times of anxiety and stress.

Signs Of Pet Noise Anxiety

When a pet is frightened, he or she will generally react by either hiding or trying to escape. Other signs of anxiety include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Drooling
  • Trembling/shaking
  • Whining, yowling, barking, or other vocalizations
  • House soiling
  • Digging, chewing, and other forms of destruction

The level of anxiety experienced by a pet can range from mild to severe. Animals with severe noise related anxiety or phobia can literally panic and may pose a danger to themselves by attempting to escape in any way possible, including chewing through walls or jumping through windows or screen doors.

Managing Your Pet’s Fears

Unfortunately, pets do not “outgrow” noise related anxiety. On the contrary, repeated exposure often makes the problem worse. Try the following at-home ideas to ease your pet’s fears when the summer storms roll in and the 4th of July festivities begin:

  • Stay near your pet to cuddle, offer reassuring words, or anything else that may calm him or her.
  • Distract your pet with a favorite toy or game.
  • Keep all windows and doors closed to minimize noise and prevent escape.
  • Turn on the TV, radio, or fan to muffle the sounds outside.
  • Never leave pets alone during times of high anxiety. Bring outdoor pets inside well in advance of a thunderstorm or fireworks display.
  • Some pets respond very well to pressure-based anxiety garments such as the Thundershirt. Consider purchasing such a product for your pet.
  • Provide a safe room or hiding spot for your pet. Stock the area with water, food, bedding, toys, and other creature comforts.

For pets with severe noise anxiety, a combination of behavior modification techniques can be helpful. Your veterinarian can help you put together a plan to help your pet cope with his or her noise related fears.  In fact, we may look to incorporate certain products or prescriptions to complement these techniques.  Please contact us for more information and to help your pet enjoy a calm summer!