Amelia’s Maltese Button suddenly started biting and chewing on himself. He started nuisance barking and had started hiding and growling. Button was normally a very calm and loving dog (except if she saw a squirrel) so Amelia was concerned.
A visit to the Vet didn’t uncover any physical problems and more walks didn’t help either. Amelia gave her pup a little more attention, more snuggles and petting to try and calm her, but nothing worked. Finally, Amelia realized that the problem was major noise from next door. The neighbors were renovating and contractors had been in every day with heavy equipment, tearing down walls and pulling up concrete.
Noise anxiety is a very common problem for dogs, especially small dogs.
Typically, it is triggered by thunder or fireworks, but any sudden and loud noise can trigger an anxiety that’s hard to see in your pet.
A dog with noise anxiety can have symptoms including trembling, biting, excessive barking, hiding, growling, submissive urination and more.
Petmd.com outlines 3 levels of dog anxiety and fear:
Mild fears: signs may include trembling, tail tucked, withdrawal, hiding, reduced activity, and passive escape behaviors
Panic: signs may include active escape behavior, and increased out-of-context, potentially injurious motor activity. Classic signs of sympathetic autonomic nervous system activity, including diarrhea
Anxieties: lesions secondary to anxious behavior (such as licking and biting at the self)
Treating Noise Anxiety
Changing the environment is the obvious treatment for a dog with noise anxiety; don’t take him to fireworks displays, keep him close during the thunder, and so on.
You can also talk to your Vet about a variety of prescription medications. Some are given regularly for the life of the dog, and some are used only during the anxiety event.
If you go this route, be sure to talk about side effects and long term risk any drug might pose.
Another option is behavior training therapy, which CAN work but takes time.
Pressure Wraps for dog anxiety
Pressure Wraps for dog anxiety also called a dog anxiety jacket, a pressure wrap works Much like swaddling an upset baby. Gentle pressure wraps for dogs work surprisingly well.
You can buy the popular ThunderShirt, or make your own by modifying an old t-shirt. The principal is the same: light and constant pressure is applied to the dog’s torso and chest.
ThunderShirt is the leading pressure vest for dogs, and is available in all sizes and colors
Here’s what a pressure wrap like the ThunderShirt can help:
- canine separation anxiety
- noise anxiety
- social anxiety
Questions and answers about pressure vests for dogs.
How long can you keep a ThunderShirt on a dog?
The makers of ThunderShirt advise:
When properly sized and properly put on with a comfortably snug fit, your dog should be very comfortable. If your dog will be wearing a Thunder- Shirt for more than one hour at a time, we recommend removing ThunderShirt every one to two hours during the initial periods to check for any signs of irritation points.
Once your Morkie is used to the ThunderShirt, he can wear it comfortably for extended periods, but it should be removed TWICE A DAY.
Does the ThunderShirt really work?
Although we don’t know precisely how they work, pressure wraps like the ThunderShirt do work. The wrap creates pressure points which may help release calming hormones.
A properly fitted pressure wrap is calming for your dog and can help reduce anxiety and fear, without the use of any drugs or medication.
Is ThunderShirt washable?
Yes, the manufacturer advises that the ThunderShirt can be washed in a regular cycle using regular laundry detergent and cold water. Hang to dry.
How long does it take for the ThunderShirt to work?
Put ThunderShirt onto your dog or cat, and you will likely see results with the very first usage – no training necessary. However, for some, it may take two to three usages to see maximum results. For some more serious anxiety cases, such as severe separation anxiety, you should consult a good trainer for how to integrate ThunderShirt into a training program.
How much is a ThunderShirt?
You can order one online at Amazon for about $45 or visit your local pet supply store.
A happy ending for Amelia and Button
At her wit’s end because of Button’s anxiety, Amelia heard about the ThunderShirt and decided to give it a try.
After wearing it just twice, Button was free of his sudden anxiety symptoms and life returned to normal.