As you celebrated the Fourth of July, you may have noticed your dog panicking over the fireworks booms or running scared at the loud summer storms rolling through. This is a common phenomenon for many dogs, but for some, it’s a bit deeper.

Noise phobia is the excessive fear of a sound that causes a dog to react negatively or seek escape from the source of the sound.

What are common sources of noise phobia?
The most common causes of noise-phobic reactions in dogs are fireworks, fire alarms, and thunder. However, noise phobia can develop over any sound – even the most mundane or minute. This can include beeping, buzzing, crying infants, gasping, and much more.

After you notice a pattern or common trait in the noises your dog reacts to, you can take steps to help mitigate the situation.

How can I tell my dog is noise-phobic?
Dogs with noise phobias are easy to spot due to their erratic or strange behavior when the noise is emitted. This includes:

·       Barking at the noise

·       Excessive panting and heavy breathing

·       Pacing or running around the home

·       Hiding or seeking a source of shelter

·       Trembling

·       Drooling

·       Seeking out comfort in humans

Ways to help treat noise phobia
Treating noise phobia can be tricky, as it heavily depends on your dog. With each case being unique, you will likely need to try several approaches before finding one that works for you and your dog.

·       Desensitization: Sometimes the best way to get over a phobia is by going through it. Playing the sound that causes your dog to react can help desensitize her to it, lessening her fear and reactions. If you choose this method, be sure you are prepared to offer your dog comfort and a safe space that still allows her to hear the noise. This method will require a lot of repetition but is shown to work on many dogs.

·       Medication: A consultation with your vet can open up the medicinal treatment route. Depending on your dog’s needs, your vet may prescribe anti-anxiety or calming medication to help reduce the impact of the noise and subsequent reactions.

·       Control the environment: If possible, your best option may be to avoid the noise trigger whenever possible. This could mean playing white noise during fireworks or storms, or potentially leaving the house altogether during big nights of celebration.

If you’re unsure which method is best for you and your dog, always consult your veterinarian. They will be able to give your dog an exam to rule out any physical reasons for the change in behavior. After that, they can guide you on the next best option that feels right for you and your dog.