New Years is a great time to party and make resolutions but just like July 4th your dog may hate the holiday. As the ball drops in Time Square and firework shows launch into the lengthy finale, your dog might hate the holiday as much as July 4th. Pet safety experts from the Veterinary Clinics of North America estimate that as many as 40 percent of dogs experience noise anxiety from thunderstorms, fireworks, and other loud like construction or music.
Put yourself into a dog\’s perspective. There are inexplicable lights and explosions erupting from the sky. Many dogs pace, cower, scratch at the door, or even defecate inside because of the overstimulation of noise. Many dogs behave erratically and will crash through windows and run out into traffic due to their flight response to deal with their anxiety. July 5th is the reported to be the busiest time for shelters rushing to accommodate dogs that bolted on the 4th.
Animal behaviorists describe anxiety caused by noise as a very serious panic disorder complete with a flight response. As firework shows get louder, longer, and more extravagant, responsible pet parents will want to know helpful pet safety tips to ensure their dog\’s comfort during the New Year festivities.
Remain Calm and Consistent
Not only does your body behavior need to be calm, but your dog\’s environment does too—positive conditioning. This is important for pet safety. When a dog begins to show symptoms of noise anxiety strategize how you can behave calmly and take proactive steps to ease their discomfort.
Shouting or locking your dog away makes their anxiety intensify. Shouting raises their stress level and so does locking them in a room by themselves. Comfort your dog, but not in an overwhelming manner. If you over coddle them, this trains a dog to believe that they are in danger, and will seek comfort out every time they feel nervous. This makes pet parents lose sleep during fireworks or thunderstorms.
Dogs will cower next to you, hide, or incessantly bark. You need to show your dog how to cope with the loud noises. They need to know that their home is compatible with the external threat they\’re sensing. Veterinarians advise trying to play with your dogs during stressful times. This shows your dog that there is no danger and will reduce their anxiety. If they are unwilling, or too nervous, don\’t force them.
Your reassuring body language will express to your dog that everything will be okay.
Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique are big fans of Relax My Dog—a pet safety YouTube channel that composes music designed to calm anxiety-ridden dogs. The music is designed with sweep technology that emits a high-pitch noise that only a dog\’s hearing can detect. This noise works the same way a dog whistle does, it holds a dog\’s attention.
A dog\’s hearing range is both above and below the human auditory range. Fireworks are much more intense sounding to dogs and the music suppresses the intensity away from the fireworks by refocusing their attention on the music.
Whether your dog has owner-separation anxiety or is triggered by fireworks, this music works on many levels. For firework playlists, play at a low volume near the area your dog is getting comfortable.
\”Nesting\” dogs will often stay close to their crate or dog bed and use this as a comforting area. Set up speakers close to wherever your dog feels the most comfortable to induce a therapeutic environment.
For more pet safety information about Relax My Dog therapy music click here.
Pawsitively Pampered: Splash and Dash Aromatherapy
Many noise-aversion tactics don\’t address the underlying problem. For years various remedies have sought to help curb the triggers of noise anxiety like sedatives and swaddling jackets.
These can be effective if used properly. In order for clinical or holistic methods to work, a dog must be conditioned to naturally relax and relate their environment to one conducive to pet safety.
A way to do this without medication is aromatherapy. Dogs explore the world through their noise. Formulate botanical scents have been found to promote a calming state and can indeed be relaxing. Dog\’s associate the scent with feeling secure. Once dogs are conditioned to relate a scent with security, smelling this scent will act as a neurological trigger to help ease anxiety.
(If Pavlov\’s dog could be trained to salivate, your dog can be trained to calm down with a psychosomatic tool).
This is why Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique released their own aromatherapy line. It helps get anxious dogs to calm down during bath time. Aromatherapy can also be useful for other stressful times like firework shows, being left alone, and a new house.
The line features shampoos and body mists formulated with botanicals and plants that have been used since 3,500 B.C. for their calming properties. The Relax shampoo\’s ingredients include lavender which delivers a euphoric scent and chamomile which has a soothing aroma. Both plants have aromas that work as natural sedatives.
Use Pet Safety First Aid Kit
One of the best proactive pet safety methods of keeping dogs safe during New Years is by having a microchip. This is definitely something worth looking into, but in the meantime, use a dog collar with an I.D. tag, and contact information. If your dog is prone to noise anxiety and bolts this will help you find them much easier. Shelters also scan for microchips when they first pick up lost dogs to contact owners.
The Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique first aid kit includes an emergency I.D. collar, emergency dog tag with split ring, a pet safety guide, and just about anything else you would ever need in the event of an emergency.
Having a pet safety first aid kit in your car and your house is always a good idea. If you bring your pet with you to a party and need pet safety supplies like an inflatable water bowl, waste bags, or a flashlight, all these things will be at your disposal with the first aid kit.
Noise Aversion Medication
Dogs that have been diagnosed with severe noise anxiety may possibly need a clinical prescription to ease distress. Last summer an FDA-approved medication called Sileo became available.
The drug inhibits norepinephrine—the chemical associated with anxiety and fear. Sileo is a flavorless gel that is administered through a syringe squeezed between the gum and teeth which takes about 30 minutes to absorb.
There are also doggie equivalents of Prozac and Valium.
The best and most effective way of treating noise-anxiety as a dog phobia is to desensitize a dog early on before fears become established mentally. If you notice your dog becoming overly sensitive to fireworks, or any other event that gives them severe anxiety contact your veterinarian first before making any decisions.
Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique wishes you and your dog a happy and safe New Years!