Phonophobia In DogsBy Morgan | July 17, 2019
Ever met anyone afraid of fireworks, thunder or loud noises? This is Phonophobia and is the fear of loud noises, very similar to Astraphobia which is the fear of lightning and thunder, and it probably won’t surprise you to learn that dogs can suffer from this just the same as people.
Fireworks and thunder are both loud, unpredictable noises that often bring with them unexpected flashes of light. To a dog that doesn’t understand what is happening, this can be absolutely terrifying and there are too many heartbreaking stories of dogs being lost or running away because they’re so frightened of all the noise.
We don’t want this to be you, so we’ve put together a list of the most common triggers of Phonophobia and some recommendations to help your pet cope and ensure their safety.
Thunderstorms:Do you love sitting inside during a thunderstorm and listening to the rain fall down onto the roof? Your dog may not, as the loud banging of the rain can be enough to have your dog hiding under the couch. Some dogs can sense the changes in air pressure or may hear the low-frequency rumblings of thunder long before humans can. This can cause anxiety before the storm even hits as they begin to pre-empt the oncoming noise. According to some veterinarians, dogs may experience shocks from the build-up of static electricity that accompanies thunderstorms.
Fireworks: The light and sound caused by fireworks is a celebratory event for humans, however for some dogs these events can be terrifying. These loud sounds trigger the fight or flight response from their nervous system and they will become agitated and may try to flee from the noise. Other displays of fear can be hiding, whining, barking, pawing or even urination.
So, what can you do when your dog is stressing out? Unfortunately, cuddling or comforting your dog too may reinforce the anxious behaviour. Luckily,there are several things you can do to help keep them calm.
- Create a Safe Place for Them: Give your dog a safe indoor space to go when they’re scared. Fill it with familiar items like their bed, favourite toys and water bowl. Close the blinds or curtains of any windows so your dog can’t see outside.
- Turn on Some White Noise: If your dog is afraid of thunder, turn the TV on or play music to nullify noise.
- Desensitise Them: Try exposing your dog to the sounds of thunder. Play thunder sounds quietly in the background as you play games or feed them. This will help them associate these sounds with pleasure.
- Buy a Comfort Vest: A comfort vest can be a saviour for pets suffering from Phonophobia. It comforts the dog by holding the pet firmly around the torso which helps makes them feel safe.
Every pet is different and will respond differently to loud noises, so it can require varying approaches to soothe their anxieties. If you’re unsure about any of this or need help getting started, have one of our vets come to your home to provide a consultation. In the comfort of your own home, we will monitor your pet’s behaviour and guide you on the best way to help your pet get through those scary stormy nights!