An innovative product designed specifically to help dogs deal with fear—especially noise phobias—employs a natural pheromone that dogs recognize on an instinctive level. Pheromones are chemical substances made by the animal’s body that act as a form of communication that, when inhaled by your pet, talks directly to his brain.
The product Comfort Zone with D.A.P. (dog appeasing pheromone) is an analogue of the pheromone mom-dogs produce to calm nursing puppies. It calms the fears of dogs of any age, from puppy to aging oldster. Cats benefit from Comfort Zone with Feliway, an analogue of the cheek pheromone that tells cats their environment and territory is “safe.”
Both products come as plug-ins from pet products stores, but it won’t “drug” your dog or cat into a magic cure. It instead helps put a damper on fear long enough to “think” so that your behavior modification/training techniques can work. You’ll need to have these plugged in for several days in advance for it to offer your dog or cat the best benefits.
You can also find help for dogs from Earth Heart products that use aromatherapy to sooth doggy angst. Canine Calm is designed to sooth dogs prone to distress due to thunderstorms, fireworks and other noisy or anxiety-producing situations. It contains pure essential oils of bergamot, tangerine, lavender, geranium, marjoram, and ylang ylang, all known to have a calming or even natural sedative properties. Earth Guard mists can be sprayed directly onto cloth, skin or fur without staining or leaving sticky residue and are said to be safe for puppies as young as 8 weeks old.
The company also has a “Share the Calm” promotion through June 30th to provide firework phobic, dog loving families with a buy one get one free offer with their Canine Calm purchase, so that they may have one bottle for their dog and share a second bottle with another dog loving family with a firework-phobic dog, or have an additional bottle to take with them on their holiday. Use the code ShareTheCalm at the time of purchase. Earth Heart also offers Travel Calm mist for dogs restless during travel. Luckily, that’s one that Magic won’t ever need–he thinks HE should drive!
GIVE DOGS A JOB
Dogs can’t panic when using their brain for something else such as “work.” Drill him on obedience commands and special tricks, or ask him to play fetch and carry around a favorite toy. That engages his brain into productive activity rather than thinking about the scary noises. Giving him treats and positive rewards for remaining calm also reinforces the benefits of controlling his emotions. For instance, puzzle toys stuffed with fun treats the dog–or the cat–must manipulate to get at the goodies can go a long way toward keeping their mind off the fireworks.
Ideally, pets can be counter-conditioned to the scary noises by exposing the fearful dog to recorded sounds of fireworks played at a very low volume, and rewarding him for staying calm. Gradually, you increase the noise level, to help the cat or dog “get used” to the noise and learn to tolerate it. Desensitization programs can take weeks and sometimes months to work, though.
Are your pets fearful of loud noises? What do they do? Have they ever damaged your house–or injured themselves or others during a panic attack? Is there a special way you handle the kitty or doggy panic attacks? Please share! Here are 12 more tips on relieving noise anxieties.
Being scared kills the fun. Help your pets turn the fearful whimpers and scaredy-cat hisses into joyful purrs and wags, so your whole family (furry and otherwise) enjoy the howliday.
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