The summer time in Gauteng is well known for thunderstorms producing some amazing lightning shows and loud thunder claps. In addition to this New Year celebrations and Diwali with the accompanying fireworks, may be an extremely stressful time for noise phobic pets and their owners.
Dogs and cats have far better developed sense of smell and hearing than us humans and will sense the development of a thunderstorm long before we do, they can sense the drop in barometric pressure.
Short term measures to help noise phobic pets:
- Give them a safe place to hide
- Block out lighting flashes or fireworks with curtains or blankets. (heavy blankets over their hiding place can help deaden the noise as well)
- Play music with a repetitive drumbeat. It does not have to be loud.
- Distract your pet with something fun or nice, a toy, food, a friend to play with.
- Keep calm and relaxed yourself and do not fuss over the pet
There are many over the counter and prescription items to help the noise phobic pet. These are all aimed at reducing anxiety:
- Thunder Jackets; tight fitting jacket that works on TTouch principles
- Nuturecalm Collars; pheromone collars mimic Mom’s calming reassuring pheromones
- DAP collars and plugins; Probably the best pheromone option to use for dogs.
- Calmeze tablets or liquid; natural anti-anxiety medication
- Anxiolytic medications; these must be dispensed by your vet and they will need to see your pet.
- Drugs that sedate pets are not advised as sedated pets will be aware of the noise but less able to react to it, so in fact become more scared.
Anything used will be less effective if pet has already become anxious before treatment started.
Long term solutions aim to desensitise the pet. These are best tackled with a behaviourist.