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Readers Respond: Fireworks and Thunder - Noise Phobias - Share What Works for Your Pet

Responses: 21


Fear of loud sounds - fireworks, thunder, gunshot - are called noise phobias. Some pets don't seem to notice, some get a bit stressed, and some pets are downright terrified by loud noises. My pets have "learned" this behavior from each other, and this behavior often intensifies with age.

On the Pets and Fireworks resource page, common noise phobia signs and behavior modification tips were offered. What worked with your pet for making it through fireworks and thunderstorms? Please share your tips and firework/thunderstorm stories here.

Don't miss: Summer Hazards - Readers Respond for general summer health tips.

This worked for me

I tried the cd vincent recommended from http://www.cafepress.com/dogaudio and I have been really happy with what it did for my two GSPs. Normally very sensitive dogs it has really helped.
—Guest Trina


I have a chihuahua/rat terrier mix and after reading reviews from other pet parents about The Thundershirt, I decided to buy one for her. It helps immensely. Wearing it calms her down and makes it much more bearable for her when a storm passes through.

what I've tried

a combination of shirt plus acupressure point that calms the heart rate and fears / anxiety. The dog I tried this on also had to see his vet about his anxiety and is prescribed a couple anti-anxiety meds. I tried the med one night and the shirt / acupressure the next night and the shirt seems to be working better!
—Guest Dani

Thunderstorms, etc.

My dog goes into a panic attack...hard panting, clinging, fishy breath, etc. My vet prescribed Essence of Flowers, a homeopathic concoction of a specific combination from about 38 different flowers, tailored to my dog. It certainly doesn't cure her, but it definitely helps. She seems to welcome the drops, although she normally hates getting meds.

progressive desensitisation

I gotta say i swear by the progress desensitisation method. I used it for my lab and it worked so well we used it for my moms king charles spaniel. You gotta get the CD with all the rules on what to do tho, not just noises. i used this one: http://www.cafepress.com/dogaudio I did a lot of research and it appears to be the best.
—Guest Vincent

Frighten by Thunder Storms

I have a Sheltie, who is extremely frighten during thunder storms. I have purchased "The Thunder Shirt", and my girl has experience the storms with great ease. Thank you for the Thunder Shirt!!
—Guest Betty M

Chamomile tea calms my kitty

My state (RI) just legalized some types of fireworks and it has been trauma city for Snickers my 7 year old kitty. We've had a constant string of explosions out on our street over the last week and her nerves are shot. The slam of a car door sends her skittering under the couch so haven't seen much of her lately. She enjoys taking a few laps out of whatever I'm drinking. I decided to see if she would drink cooled camomile tea. She loves it! I let her have 5 or 6 laps out of my cooled tea and she settles right down. Now we both can enjoy the Fourth of July.
—Guest ctrax

terrified Chihuahua

My chihuahua is almost 15 yrs. old and always freaks out at thunder as well as car rides. I solved part of the travel problem by using a pet carrier. Then I read about calming meds in a dog magazine at the vet's office. The rest of the travel problem and the thunder problem was solved by a natural calming med by the name of HP Anxiety TFLN that my vet has started to carry. It is a natural homeopathic remedy that has no side affects or after affects. It can be given in water or by drops directly in the dogs mouth. I'm sure it's the same as some other pet owners have found. It's the best $16 I've spent. The 15 ml bottle I bought last year still sounds half full because the dog only gets 5 drops. It's a blessing not to have to listen to her cry and whine all night along while trying to find a spot she feels safe in - which she never finds. Now as soon as I hear the slightest rumble I give her the drops and she's fine. I think it's cruel not to try to help our pets if we can.
—Guest powwowmom2003

Thunder/Lightening/loud noises

Personally, I feel the same about Stewart our Beagle as I did for my children. Try other things before going to medications. My thinking was I may not be home to give the medication at times and he would suffer. We pop in a CD of soothing music it has worked since he was a baby. He is six now. We pop one in when we leave home too.He will sleep right through a storm. Now what to do to keep me calm when storms are really bad. lol Mary in Texas

thunder shirt

many of my dog lover friends swear by Thunder Shirts.
—Guest tygerhart


My two shepherds and one lab are afraid of both thunderstorms and fireworks. I have used and currently using CONTENT- UM. I found this product online and it works. Its a natural substance and has no side affects the next day.
—Guest Maggie


If someone is with my shepard/husky during the thunder she is fine. Otherwise she finds comfort under the bed or down in the basement.
—Guest Angela


My Border Collie Jess started her fear of Thunder around the age of 6, and it didn't take long for it to incompass all loud noises. Im a tech at an animal hospital so I have resourses to draw from. Im not big on shoving meds down anyones throat dog or human. We got some samples in from Vetri-science, it's called Composure. It's mostly all natural and it's soft chews, I gave her a couple during a thunderstorm and was amazed how she calmed right down! So much better than Ace or Benadryl. She really takes these storms well now pretty much relaxed. It's best to give them before the storm hits if you can but even if you give it during it works pretty quick!
—Guest jules

Distraction from Thunderstorm

My little toy Shimoodle can sense a thunderstorm at least half an hour before it arrives. She sits frozen and starts trembling and panting. I've used Rescue Remedy and Aspen to calm her, but the best results were when I got her favorite toy out and started getting excited about it and tossing it for her to retrieve. After a few thunderstorms and playing, she no longer seems to have any adverse reaction to thunderstorms. She has never been not bothered by trains or fireworks, just thunderstorms - so it is not a loud noise issue - more like an unpleasant change in atmospheric conditions that she is sensitive to.
—Guest Djana

ear protectors

I am a music teacher and found that last year I would be expected to teach drum lessons. On the first day, I walked in with my new guide dog to a classroom which contained, among other things, a full drum set and an enthusiastic adolescent boy who hadn't learned (and apparently didn't want to) that you don't have to play fortissimo all the time. My gentle guide, normally quite adaptable, freaked. I didn't want to try medication that might have side effects or cause her to be less able to work. On the other hand, I couldn't avoid drum students. Desperate, I found online about Mutt Muffs. I'm not kidding. They were invented by a pilot who wanted to take her small dog in the cockpit of her single engine plane. They are supposed to reduce noise in the dog's environment by 30 db. They come in various sizes. There have been mixed results with thunderstorms but my dog tolerates the muffs well, they do seem to reduce ambient noise, including drums and high frequency instrument sounds

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