In this blog post from our “From the Vet” series, Dr. Eileen addresses noise phobia in dogs. She covers talking points to discuss with your vet and possible treatment options available to make it a better experience for your pup.
A Time for Celebration
When you are preparing for the 4th of July you are probably trying to decide which picnic you are going to attend, what you are going to make, and which park you are going to set up at to get the best view of the fireworks.
You might even be thinking of taking your BFF along with you because he enjoys the park so much! But if you have a pet you know is fearful of loud noises (fireworks, thunderstorm, backfire from a car, etc.) this season might fill you with as much or more fear as your pet experiences. It may also mean that instead of spending time with family and friends you stay home to comfort your pet through this difficult time.
Approximately 40% of dogs in the United States suffer from some form of Noise Phobia and only ~20% of owners seek care or treatment. The other 20% either do not feel the problem is bad enough to seek care or do not recognize the size of fear, anxiety, and stress from their pets.
Speak up during your yearly vaccine appointments, this is your time to ask the Veterinarian about anything that concerns you about your pet. We will often ask if there are any specific medical concerns you have, however, behavior isn’t often brought up. If you have noticed changes in behavior you are worried about let your Veterinarian know.
Treatment depends on the severity of the signs you are seeing at home. It may range from Thundershirts, Supplements (Composure Pro, Zylkene, or Solliquin), and white noise machines. The addition of prescription medications may be required to control all clinical signs and keep your pet as calm as possible. The recommendation may also be a combination of all the above (thundershirt, supplements, and medication). Some common medications include Trazadone, Sileo, or Alprazolam/ Lorazepam. Medications can have a wide dosage range and can work slightly differently in each patient so your if these are medications your pet has not needed in the past you may be asked to preform a test dose with the medication at home on a normal day to ensure your pet responds well to the medication. Remember, on a normal day the effects of the medication (sedation usually) may seem pronounced but when given when your pet is fearful or anxious your pet will override some of the effects of the medication. Discuss any concerns you have during the trial period with your Veterinarian ASAP so doses can be changed or different medications can be considered.
Stay safe and stress free friends!