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Turning Scaredy-Cats into Brave Paws: Tips for Noise Fear!

Fear of loud noises is very common with both cats and dogs. With the fourth of July right around the corner, it’s a good idea to start thinking about ways to calm your pet through the fireworks. There are many ways to help your pet through this sometimes stressful time; including behavior modification exercises, medications, and pheromones. Keep reading to see which one is the best fit for your pet.

Tackling Pet Fear with Behavior Modification

If you’re ready to help your pet overcome their fear of fireworks or thunderstorms, now is the time to start. A great method involves using videos of fireworks or thunderstorms. Begin by playing the sounds at a very low volume while engaging your pet with play or high-value treats stuffed inside a toy. Keep the pet far from the speaker initially, then gradually move them closer or increase the volume. Continue the play and treats throughout this process. The goal is for your pet not just to get used to the noise, but to associate these sounds with positive experiences.

If your pet seems too distressed, it means you’re moving too fast. Back off by reducing the volume and moving your pet away from the noise source. This technique is effective but requires patience. Don’t wait until July 3rd to start; it takes several weeks to see progress.

Wearable Anxiety Aids

Consider using anxiety wraps such as:

  • Thundershirt
  • Storm Defender
  • Anxiety Wrap
The Calmer Canine:

The Calmer Canine is a new device designed to help dogs with separation anxiety and can also be used for fear of fireworks. Shaped like a halo, it can be held above your dog’s head or attached to a vest. This device delivers targeted pulsed electromagnetic field signals to the brain, reducing anxiety without known side effects. Noticeable improvement typically takes about a month.

Pheromones, Nutraceuticals, and Probiotics

Here are some additional options that might help your anxious pet:

  • Zylkene: A hydrolyzed milk protein that works on the principle of “if you’re upset, drink a glass of warm milk.”
  • Anxitane: Contains L-Theanine, an amino acid from green tea leaves.
  • Solliquin: Another version of L-Theanine.
  • Calming Care: Probiotics that help maintain calmness.
  • Feliway – Cats: a pheromone that is proven to reduce anxiety in cats. Available at most pet stores and on Amazon.
  • Adaptil – Dogs: A pheromone that is proven to reduce anxiety in dogs. Available at most pet stores and on Amazon.
  • Lavender: An essential oil that is said to calm both cats and dogs.

Always consult your vet before starting any new treatments.

CBD Products

The effectiveness of CBD products is still under debate. Like other solutions, it works for some pets and not for others. To see if it helps your pet, do a trial run or two before fireworks or a thunderstorm and see if you notice a change in behavior. Of course, make sure you consult with your veterinarian first before giving them any CBD. 

The Myth of Fear Reinforcement

The old belief that consoling a terrified pet reinforces their fear is not true. You can’t reinforce a powerful emotion. Comforting your pet with attention and soothing words can help them feel more at ease in the moment, even though it doesn’t solve the root of the problem.

Simple Solutions to Try at Home

There are some easy steps you can take that might help your pet feel more at ease:

  • Close windows and draw the shades.
  • Play relaxing music. There are various apps specifically designed to relax dogs and cats.
  • Distract your pet with food puzzles or interactive play.
  • Set up a safe space – for dogs it could be their crate with blankets that smell like you and high value toys to distract them.

Most importantly, if your pet is fearful of fireworks and storms, do not leave them home alone. This heightens their stress even more. In addition, avoid allowing your pets outdoors during these high stress situations. More pets go missing around the fourth of July than any other time of the year!

While we always try our best, sometimes your pet will accidentally get loose. Make sure your pet always has a collar with ID tag on, and up to date information on their microchip. Pet not chipped? You can give us a call and have your pet chipped any time for only $25!

Helping your pet overcome their fears takes time and patience, but with the right approach and tools, you can make significant progress.


Written By Lynne Schaeffer, ECCHA Education Committee Volunteer

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