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Ask Nancy: Boom! Noise Phobias

June 25, 2010

The Fourth of July is coming and summer thunderstorms are already being heard. Does your dog fear loud noises? Does your pet frantically try to get away or hide? Is your dog at risk for being one of the many missing pets after 4th of July weekend celebrations that include fireworks?

You might want to discuss with your vet considering what melatonin may do for reducing or eliminating your dog’s fears. It can work for noise phobic dogs to help them be calmer and you can then work on training to gain a more appropriate response to the scary loud noises.

Dr.’s Dodman and Aronson at the Tufts behavior clinic have found melatonin works in better than 80% of dogs with serious noise phobias including thunder, fireworks and even dogs that are overly reactive to other noises such as birds or machinery.  You can read about use of this hormone for noise phobias in dogs here

On this site they discuss melatonin and other therapies that may work for some dogs.  While some people just try melatonin it is advisable to make sure your vet is in agreement that this is safe for your special dog. With the other remedies on this  site I’d be very careful to not try any of them without making sure your vet agrees. Wrap therapy could be dangerous for a dog in warm weather for example and could be dangerous for a dog with a heart or breathing issue.

I’d also not trust a dog loose and unleashed outside no matter what remedy you are trying (many dogs escape from fenced yards when terrified by loud noises), and not totally rely on any of them to make up for the presence of a trusted human to help reduce the dog’s fears.

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