Storm & sound phobias

DUE TO THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF OVER-THE-COUNTER PRODUCTS AND SUPPOSED THERAPIES TO ADDRESS STORM AND SOUND PHOBIAS I FEEL OBLIGED TO MAKE THIS STATEMENT: Anyone selling a product or treatment who downplays the importance of speaking to a vet or considering medications, or makes excuses for not seeing a vet (the cost, the side effects), to hype their product, is behaving in an unethical manner given that veterinary behaviorists consider sound phobias to be medical emergencies, and delaying appropriate treatment may exacerbate the problem. Given that sound phobias are also commonly found to occur along with other behavior issues; separation anxiety, generalized anxiety in particular locations, etc., the most prudent advice anyone can give someone in regard to sound phobias or sensitivities is to “Talk to a vet about ways to alleviate your dog’s anxiety asap,” it is not, “Buy my product instead.”

Common fears owners have to deal with are those of storms and fireworks. As a kid I remember when my beloved dog went missing one 4th of July and was not found for two weeks. He had run off during the fireworks, and ended up miles and miles away. I’ve known other dogs that were inconsolable during storms and wish I had known how to help them. One of the saddest things is that people believe that by comforting a dog that is afraid it will ‘reinforce’ their fear. What trainers understand now is that while comforting may not necessarily help them, it will not cause them to be more afraid when the next storm rolls through.

Listen to this podcast presented by the AVMA about sound phobiasAVMA sound phobias.

A Sileo is a new product is available through vets to help sound phobias in some dogs.

The protocol available to us to address storm phobias is fairly straight-forward but not without its challenges. Check out this blog What Happened To Summer’s Thunderstorm Phobia? to help you understand what you can do.

John Visconti describes a way to create a safe bunker for dogs during noise events.

It is worth discussing the use of anti-anxiety medications with your vet before you begin to see an increase in your dog’s sensitivity to sounds or storms. This problem can easily become worse and then more challenging to address successfully.

Storm Phobias by Karen Overall, DVM

I contributed to a downloadable ebook you can find at Help Your Dog Cope with Fireworks

Why you shouldn’t use Acepromazine a video of Dr. Karen Overall

Through A Dog’s Ear-CDs with music that is being claimed to calm dogs

Clean Run-sound desensitization CDs (may be of limited use)

It’s important to do what you can to help your dog however you can. There can be negative effects to a dog’s health when they suffer through these scary events. Start with a consult with a vet or vet behaviorist.

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