Noise phobia is an actual medical condition diagnosed by vets and animal behaviourists, and develops in dogs and cats of all ages. It is usually triggered by loud noises such as thunder, fireworks, and even gunshots. This condition, however, is more likely to affect dogs more than cats (puppies just over a year old in age are most prone to this).
Although your furkid’s genetic trait might be the underlying cause of this condition, there are other causes behind it. Some furkids actually learn by association – they start to fear certain sounds by linking an unpleasant event to the sound.
• Excessive salivation
• Destructiveness (chewing and scratching)
• Frantic attempts to escape
• Self-inflicted trauma
• Fecal incontinence
If Fido seems agitated or restless, try to create a safe location within your home for him to hide in, especially if no one is at home during a thunderstorm. Exposure to overwhelming and fear-evoking sounds can be significantly reduced by closing doors and windows.
Try to distract your furkid with calming music or a television show with bright colours. Obedience and agility exercises, as well as food puzzle toys, serve as a welcome distraction for your furkid.
For serious cases of noise phobia, medical interventions like room diffusers and premise sprays should be used to calm your pet down. Pets with severe anxiety might be prescribed long-term medications that have to be administered daily by your veterinarian.
More Than, an insurance company in the United Kingdom that prides itself on its extensive pet insurance plans, worked with animal behaviourists and vets to make films for both Fido and Puss. The main aim of such films is to calm them down and counter the effects of noise phobia.
The films were cheekily named Woofering Heights and Peer Window for dogs and cats respectively. These were titled based on the classic Wuthering Heights novel and the Alfred Hitchcock classic, Rear Window.
Both movies are filled with content that will capture and arouse your furkid’s attention, before gradually inducing feelings of relaxation and sleep to calm them down. Peer Window is set entirely within the perspective of a window frame to reflect Puss’s habitual behaviour of staring out from the windows, whereas Woofering Heights incorporates slow-moving scenery and a cast of dogs that are relaxing by the picturesque landscapes.
You can expect to hear melodic sounds that are in a cat and dog-friendly frequencies as well.
British actor David Tennant, best known for his role in Doctor Who, is featured in the film as the narrator to calm Fido and Puss with specific words and phrases. Additionally, Woofering Heights was also shot entirely in the colour spectrum of blue and yellow, the only shades Fido can see, to heighten the viewing experience for him.
According to the animal experts, More Than (the insurance company) worked with, it would be best to show Fido or Puss the films a few times a day to help them familiarise and to understand the content shown to them. You can watch Woofering Heights here, and Peer Window here.
*Do visit your vet if your furkids show extreme anxiety during events with loud noises. Do not try to drag them out if they run to hide, but instead, try to create a safe area with blankets or duvets and their favourite foods and toys – complete with food and water to calm them down.
*This article was updated on 25 Jul 2020. It first appeared in PetsMagazine.com on 18 Jan 2017.