In this blog, our McAllen veterinarian explores the surprising findings from a recent study from the University of California, led by researcher Emma Grigg. It sheds light on the everyday noises that trigger fearful behaviors in dogs. Read below how to address your pets’ anxiety.
We all want our furry friends to feel safe and secure at home, but what if seemingly ordinary sounds were causing them undue stress and anxiety? Pets can experience some level of noise anxiety. If you have ever seen your pet run away from a vacuum or hide when fireworks pop, then you know what noise anxiety can look like.
What the Study Showed
The study focused on familiar household sounds that dogs encounter daily and their sensitivity to them. The research surveyed 386 dog owners and analyzed 62 online videos, revealing that:
- Dogs displayed fear or trembling to high-frequency intermittent (HFI) sounds like smoke detector beeps.
- Dogs were more sensitive to HFI sounds than humans because they could hear high frequencies.
- Likewise, dogs responded to low-frequency constant (LFC) sounds like barking or the vacuum, but not to the extent of HFI sounds.
Everyday Sounds Causing Anxiety
There are a few everyday household items and situations that can cause anxiety in dogs, including:
- Smoke alarms
- Microwave beeping
- Regular vacuum cleaners
- Carbon monoxide test beeps
- Low-battery smoke detector chirps
- Automated vacuum cleaners (e.g., Roomba)
Be Aware of Body-Language
No matter what the sound-culprit is, be on the lookout for body language cues:
- Tail tucked
- Whale eye
- Body tensing
- Closed mouth
When you see these signs, owners can help by removing the dog from the stressor or changing the environment.
What Else Can I Do?
- Designate a quiet, comfortable space for your dog to retreat during loud noises.
- Your demeanor can influence your dog’s reaction, so remain calm and reassuring during loud events.
- Minimize visual exposure to fireworks or storms by closing curtains and blinds.
- Ensure your dog is in a secure area to prevent them from escaping due to fear.
- Discuss anxiety medications or supplements with your McAllen veterinarian for extreme cases.
- Exercise your dog earlier to help reduce anxiety and excess energy.
- Keep your dog indoors during fireworks displays or thunderstorms.
- Check that your fencing is secure to prevent your dog from escaping if frightened.
- Ensure your dog has proper identification and a microchip if they escape.
- Create positive associations with loud noises by pairing them with treats or play.
- Pinpoint the everyday sounds that cause anxiety in dogs.
- Be more attuned to your pets’ body language to stress and take proactive steps recommended by our veterinarians.
- Visit Valley Animal Hospital online to read more valuable tips to ensure your dog’s health & comfort.
Schedule an Appointment with Our McAllen Veterinarian
Valley Animal Hospital is your one-stop destination for comprehensive pet care, ensuring your furry companions receive exams, vaccinations, and surgeries. Give your pets the attention and expertise they deserve for a healthy and happy life. Contact us today.