1. Change the Dog’s Environment. These are the “common sense” simple things to try, if feasible for your circumstances. Try creating a safe haven for your dog such as a blanket-covered crate or finding a location that will reduce the noise level. Try turning on music or the television to help mask the sound of the problem noise. If you know an event is coming (e.g. thunderstorm or fireworks), try giving your dog a lot of exercise beforehand. None of the above typically shows dramatic results, but they can help to reduce symptoms. 2. Pressure Wraps. This is a surprisingly simple and effective treatment for many dogs. A “pressure wrap” is anything that wraps around the dog’s torso and chest to provide a constant, gentle pressure. Why does it work? No one knows for sure, but it’s likely a combination of making the dog feel comforted and secure and distracting the dog from concentrating on whatever it fears. You can try to make one yourself out of an appropriately sized t-shirt, our purchase a Thundershirt. Pressure wraps often show good results with the first usage, however some dogs require two, three, or more usages before you see reduced or eliminated symptoms. 3. Behavior Modification. Desensitization is the most common behavior modification tried for noise anxiety. In a nutshell, in a controlled environment, you begin by exposing your dog to a low level of the noise that bothers her. As she gets accustomed to it, you increase the levels louder and louder over time until she learns to tolerate the real deal. If you want to give it a try, several books are available on the subject. 4. Medications. If your dog’s anxiety is serious enough, there are a variety of prescription medications that your veterinarian may suggest. Some are administered on a regular basis for the life of the dog. Some are given only at the time of an anxiety event. Sometimes a combination of drugs is used. If you go this route, make sure you ask your vet about any potential risks and side effects with the drug(s) you’re considering.
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