Practical Advice If Your Pet Is Sensitive To Sound

Practical Advice If Your Pet Is Sensitive To Sound

Many dogs like to make a racket, barking at anything that moves, but what if your dog hates noise? Some pets suffer from sound-phobias and are filled with anxiety by the slightest hint of a particular noise. If this sounds worryingly familiar, treatment is available and your pet insurance policy may cover the cost.

Dogs are especially sensitive to sound, so it is unsurprising that some canines may suffer from sound-phobias. Dogs are generally able to detect sounds far lower and higher than the human range; humans can hear sounds up to about 20,000 Hz, whilst dogs have a range of 70,000 to 100,000 Hz. Dogs not only hear a wider range of sounds, they can also tell where it’s coming from; using eighteen or more muscles, dogs can move, tilt and rotate their ears, which enables them to pinpoint the exact location of a sound.

Common canine sound phobias include a fear of fireworks, thunder, trains and even rain. Pet owners are usually aware that on bonfire night you need to take special care of your pet; keep them close by, or better yet, safe indoors in a quiet room. Whilst adults and children alike huddle under smoke-filled skies trying to write their names in the trail of a sparkler, pet dogs are probably huddled under tables with their tails between their legs.

A fear of fireworks is easy to understand and predict, but what if your dog has a phobia towards a naturally occurring sound? If your dog fears an unpredictable and uncontrollable sound, such as thunder, your day-to-day living may be severely affected. As phobias escalate, your dog may start to fear things he associates with thunder. In time, even light rain could cause excessive levels of anxiety. Dogs that suffer acutely may also respond badly to increased wind, air pressure or humidity.

Symptoms of a phobia range in severity from panting and trembling, to hiding, whining, digging and home soiling. In exceptional cases, dogs have been known to jump through glass windows due to the intensity of their fear.

If the problem is especially severe, and nothing seems to improve it, you should speak to your vet, as there are treatments available. Most treatments for sound phobia involve a range of techniques including desensitisation and counter conditioning techniques. This is where your dog is played very low levels of the f
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ear-inducing sound; slowly the level of sound is increased, and the dog is rewarded for not responding to the noise.

Your pet insurance could pay up to £250 per period of insurance towards your dog’s treatment for sound phobia, if it is recommended by your vet. Before you know it, your dog should be back to exploring – rather than fearing – the world at large. However, it’s worth noting that the symptoms and phobia will only be covered if they began after the insurance was taken out and any pre-existing phobias will not be covered.

By: Josie Anderson

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