Dear Daisy Dog: My dog Riley is afraid of loud noises. My neighborhood celebrates the New Year with fireworks and gunshots. How can I help Riley tolerate this noisy day?
Daisy Responds: Dogs with noise phobia not only panic, but they may become destructive and even escape from the yard.
Offer Riley a safe space, such as his crate covered by a blanket, in a room with the curtains closed, so he won’t be startled by the flash of the fireworks. Play music with a regular beat to distract him for the outdoor sounds. Soften the noise by inserting cotton balls in Riley’s ears or having him wear Mutt Muffs hearing protection.
To calm Riley without sedating him, your veterinarian can prescribe a medication to be given an hour or so before the noise begins. Commonly used drugs are alprazolam, trazodone and Sileo, a liquid squirted between the gums and cheek.
Non-drug options are effective for some dogs, particularly those with mild noise phobia. Adaptil, available as a collar or diffuser, releases a pheromone that induces relaxation. Composure, a calming supplement available as chews or a liquid, also helps. The ThunderShirt, Anxiety Wrap and similar garments provide gentle, constant pressure that promotes relaxation.
The Vet’s Pets wish you and Riley a healthy and peaceful New Year.