Summertime – and The Living is NOISY

Yes, we are in the summer months – the thunderstorm months, the time of year we are revving up our motorcycles, and when we celebrate with fireworks for the fourth of July. All noises people can easily identify, but our animals can’t. Some are able to cope with loud noises, others are terrorized by them.

Whatever the noise that frightens our pets, we want them to feel secure. How do we do this?  This post touches upon some of the things that can be done to soothe your pet and some cautions. I will refer to dogs, as I am most knowledgeable about dogs. But these options can apply to cats as well.

The most common problem behaviors associated with fear of loud noises include shaking, destruction and escaping. If your pet is accustomed to being crated, that may be the best location for them during a loud event. Some go into the closet, some in the bathtub – but they tend to find a “safe place” where they feel a little more comfortable. Allow them to have their “safe place” – and have family members leave them alone while they are there.

If your pet cannot find a place that helps them feel more secure, or if you want to add to their sense of security, a new pheromone calming spray from Sentry can help tremendously. It uses a pheromone that not only helps soothe them, but is so effective it actually lowers the elevated heart rate in dogs that are extremely anxious or nervous. Just a few sprays in your dog or cat’s crate or bed, or wherever they’ve decided they feel best, will surround them with these pheromones and help them feel better. You can pick these up at pet specialty stores like PetSmart and they are very affordable. There is a calming spray for dogs and a calming spray for cats. You really have to see them in action – you’ll see the effects clearly. There are also pheromone calming collars which are good in situations like this, but also if your pet seems stressed or exhibits anxious behavior regularly.

Some dogs respond well to calming petwear as well, which swaddles them and gives them a sense of security. Others can learn to cope with a TV or radio on – music can be very soothing to them. Condition them to the music early – let them hear it long before the thunderstorm or fireworks start. Finally there are medications that you can obtain from your veterinarian to mildly sedate your pet – yet this should be the last resort to try to help your frightened animal. With the new pheromone products and other options now available, sedation is becoming less necessary for many pets.

Remember that your dog feels the changes in atmosphere before the thunderstorm arrives at your location. Always be pro-active with the remedy you are using – that includes spraying the pheromone calming spray in their ‘safe place’ hours before festivities and putting the calming petwear on before the fireworks start or before the weather becomes threatening.

Take your dog out for a walk before the thunderstorm comes, or before the fireworks start in your area. Getting a good workout will help them reduce stress and rid them of pent up anxiety that could make matters worse later. Always keep them on a leash when outside for walks and make sure they have tags on at all times in case they decide to become a Houdini and disappear. If there is the slightest chance of fireworks at a picnic you are attending, leave your dog at home (preferably with someone there.)

What have you discovered that has helped your pet in these situations? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. I always look for new and innovative ways of helping those who adopt from our shelter. Frightened dogs are unpredictable dogs – always use extreme caution when working with them. The good news, however, is that there are some very good, proven options to help them now!


Photo Credit: Feature image from flickr by Muffet.

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