Help your dog cope with loud noises

Loud noises can cause stress and anxiety in your dog. Here are five tips on how to help calm your pet during events like Guy Fawkes or a storm...

The noises created at events like Guy Fawkes or New Year's Eve can stress your dog. Here are five tips to help reduce your pet’s anxiety at loud noises.

Setting off fireworks and watching the sparkles burst in the sky can be a lot of fun for adults and kids alike. However, the loud noises and bursts of light aren’t as much fun for our pets, and they can be quite distressing for them.

While every year calls are made in New Zealand to ban the public sale of fireworks and limit Guy Fawkes to public displays, for the time being, pet parents have to take a few extra steps to keep their pets safe and relaxed.

Here are five tips on what you can do to help keep your dog calmer when it’s noisy outside – whether it’s fireworks or thunderstorms or construction noise...

1. Check their details are up to date

If your dog is a bit of an escape artist, make sure their details are up to date with the Companion Animals NZ Register, your vet, and your local council. Are they registered to your current address and are the right contact details associated with their microchip? This way, if the worst-case scenario does occur and your pet does escape, it’s much more likely you’ll be reunited.

2. Keep your pet inside

The best way to help your pet when there’s loud noises or a thunderstorm, is to keep them inside to help filter out some of it out. If flashes of light accompany the noise, close your curtains to help block them out.

3. Act normally

Dogs are very good at picking up on their human’s emotions, so if you’re stressed or worried about what’s going to happen once the fireworks start going off, this can heighten your pet’s anxiety. The best thing to do is to ignore the noise and act like it’s any other night; you can put on a favourite movie or play some music to provide a more soothing background noise. You could also try playing games with your dog to try and distract them from the noise.

4. Give them somewhere safe to hide

A natural reaction to loud noises is for your dog to find somewhere safe to hide. Sometimes they’ll retreat to their bed or crate, even if it’s in a different room from you, or they may hide under your bed. Some dogs may even want to jump into bed with you, as being close to you makes them feel safer.

While letting them up on the couch or bed may not be a solution you’re comfortable with, moving their bed closer to you can help them feel a bit safer. Or they may prefer to hide in a dark room where it may be a bit quieter than the rest of the house.

5. Talk to your vet

If your pet is usually very stressed by loud noises it’s worth having a chat with your vet. They’ll be able to provide some additional tips for helping keep your pet’s stress levels lower and may even suggest supplements or medication to help calm your pet down during the worst of it.

By following the tips above, you may be able to go some way to alleviate the stress and keep your pet happy, even when it’s scary outside...