A Guide to Assist in the Management of Noise Fears.
1) Prepare a den for the dog before the expected event. Research shows that animals tend to run away from danger. You need to provide an area within your property boundaries that can attract the pet to seek it out rather than try to madly scale the fences or walls. Giving the dog some meals, treats, chews and toys in the den over the period running up to firework night will make the den a safer, more relaxing place that the dog chooses to go to when feeling afraid.
1b) This sense of security can be further enhanced by moving the dog’s bed inside the den and installing an Adaptil® plug in Diffuser nearby. The longer the dog is exposed to the pheromone prior to the fireworks or thunderstorms, the better prepared he will be to cope with the challenge. Consider using an Adaptil® low stress calming collar on your dog only if prescribed by your Vet as some dogs are not suited to the collar.
Note: The den must be available to the dog at all times, especially when the pet is alone.
2) Severely anxious pets may need additional anti- anxiety oral medication prescribed for them. Any deliberate exposure to a fear should only be done under the guidance of a trusted confidant person and sometimes second dog. The exposure must be graded and only when the animal is on appropriate medication so that it can respond in a calmer way to the fear point. This therapy below should only be undertaken if prescribed by and under the guidance of your vet.
For a good example of how to consider using noise therapy- first use Calming sounds ;https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UI3OgSo6agg
then consider controlled exposure to Thunder;https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdhqzEAc80E
Remember to start the use of your pet’s emergency anti-anxiety tablets 36hrs before any anticipated problem (ie New Year’s Eve, Australia Day fireworks etc).
Note: If your animal has not been seen by a vet in for some months, you will need to book an appointment to have the pet re-checked before any S4 medication for thunderstorm/fireworks phobia can be dispensed.
3) Dogs should be taken for a calming walk when exposure to fireworks is less likely, such as before nightfall.
4) If your dog does not get diarrhoea when scared consider feeding a calming carbohydrate meal a couple of hours before the fireworks.If they are used to such ingredients, a small bland good carbohydrate dense meal,such as potato or rice and some turkey (full of tryptophan need to make serotonin calming brain hormone) or chicken, (cooked, no skin or bones). Add Vit B to the meal. Avoid raw food, red meats or bones at this time as these can make the pet more agitated and harder to calm.
5) Owners should ensure that pets are safely inside and that doors, windows and all dog and cat flaps are secured.
6)Draw the curtains and have the TV on to mask the outside noise.
6b)Playing calming music can also help – dogs have been shown to be soothed by classical music, especially Moonlight Sonata. Consider a calming music for dogs session which can be found on ‘3 Hours of Calming Music for stressed or ill dogs-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joe-ePqCqWc
7)If dog tends to run around wildly inside, put in dog harness and use short lead to keep the pet close to you to calm down.
8)If your dog experiences noise phobia during thunderstorms, you can also run the shower or an ioniser changer to change the ions in air.
9) Never punish or get cross with a fearful dog, because this will simply make the dog more afraid. Remain calm and relaxed and behave as normal to your pet.
Don’t overly soothe it or be anxious and worried around it.
Interact no more or no less than you would normally
9b)For thunder and other noise anxiety, consider having a favourite toy/treat that only appears with the thunder. This can then help change their association with the noise – ie nice treat appearing as opposed to upsetting noise. This Counter-conditions the dog to the noise
10) Train your dog with positive rewards to wear pet specific ear-plugs or noise cancelling headphones, such as Mutt Muffs (www.safeandsoundpets.com).
11)Whilst the ‘Thundershirt’ is anecdotally reported to help calm noise anxious dogs, you need to be aware that in an Australian summer heat, such garments can be a heat concern. If your dog is wearing such a shirt then you need to be around to assist if the dog becomes entangled or over heated. Reports of sheets wrapped so as to swaddle dog tightly to mimic the shirt are now appearing as well.
12)Other older suggestions were;
1)Put cotton wool plugs soaked with Vaseline in both ears
2)Add 50mg of Vit B1 as part of a B complex to the diet
3)Add 4 drops of Rescue Remedy to crown of head during a storm or attack and repeat up to 4 times every 20mins.
4)Camomile tea- 3 sachets to 1 litre of water. Add 1/4 litre of this brew to normal drinking water. Use 50:50 mix during a storm.