Video: Fear Of Thunderstorms And Other Loud Noises In Dogs And Cats
2023 Author: Molly Page | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 22:49
It is not known why some animals are afraid of noise. It is common in dogs and slightly less common in cats. Gradually, fear can develop into a phobia, which is defined as obsessive, irrational, uncontrollable fear.
Animals that are afraid of thunderstorms often cause fear and what is associated with it - lightning, changes in atmospheric pressure, electrostatic interference, even odors. In addition to thunderstorms, many animals are also afraid of shots, Christmas firecrackers and fireworks, even sharp bird calls.
According to recent studies, some dog breeds have a higher risk of developing a noise phobia than others. Such breeds include, for example, Collie, German Shepherd, Beagle and Basset Hound. Also, according to these studies, dogs with separation phobia have an increased likelihood of fear of thunderstorms and loud noise. On the whole, this topic has not been sufficiently studied yet.
Perhaps a negative experience was the prerequisite for the occurrence of a phobia of noise, but more often there is no initiating event. In almost every case, the phobia of noise and thunderstorms gets worse with every event. For example, a dog that is afraid of thunder begins to feel fear at the sight of rain, and a dog that is afraid of shots becomes afraid of a gun.
The manifestations of fear in an animal also depend on the behavior of the owner. For example, if the owners themselves are nervous during a thunderstorm, then the dog's fear manifests itself more often and more strongly. If the owner tries to calm the animal, then it interprets his actions as confirmation that, in fact, there is something to be afraid of. Affection and comfort in this case is a reinforcement of unwanted behavior.
Signs of noise phobia. Animals that are afraid of noise, try to hide (this is especially common in cats), can make a "puddle" or "heap". Sometimes breathing becomes heavy, pupils dilate, they begin to rush around the apartment, try to jump out of the window or go through the wall, salivation begins, they are looking for the owner in panic, refuse to eat, do not obey commands, tremble, start whining, barking, and cats - mew.
Check with an animal behavior professional if your animal has any signs of a noise phobia. They can help you develop a treatment plan for your pet.
How is noise phobia treated? There is no cure for phobia, but there are ways to reduce fear. First, do not reward or punish the animal. This is extremely important. Caress, consolation and even just the words "everything is in order" can be perceived by the animal as a reward for his reaction. If you pet your dog during a thunderstorm, he may conclude that you really should be afraid of a thunderstorm. You can’t punish a dog if it is afraid of something. This will only increase her nervousness. Typically, treatment involves three aspects - medication, environmental change, and behavior modification.
Medicines prescribed for noise phobia. It can be one drug or a combination. Some medications should be given throughout the thunderstorm season (amitriptyline), others (Valium) when a thunderstorm or some noise-related event such as fireworks is expected.
Valium and other fast-acting medications should be given before the animal becomes nervous. If a thunderstorm is expected during the day, give him medicine in the morning. If the animal also has a fear of separation, then they may need several different drugs. You may need to try several different combinations before deciding which one works best for your pet. Some medicines, for example, amitriptyline, Prozac, buspirone, must be given within 3-4 weeks for the result to become noticeable.
List of medications used in the treatment of phobia:
- Amitriptyline (Elavil);
- Buspirone (Buspar, or Spitomin);
- Clomipramine (Clomikalm, or Anafranil);
- Clorazepat (Tranxen);
- Diazepam (Valium);
- Fluoxetine (Prozac, or Prodep);
- Inderal (Obzidan, or Propranolol, or Stobetin);
- Paroxetine (Paxil);
Alternative treatments with melatonin and flower essences have also been successfully used in some cases. These drugs work within an hour, so they should be given just before a thunderstorm or other fearful event.
Change of environment. Changing the environment to the animal during a thunderstorm can help reduce anxiety. Also, when the environment changes, the noise level may decrease or the animal will pay less attention to it.
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