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Sound Aversion

Hunting is now upon us and we all know what that means … gun shots heard from all around.  Not only can some dogs be sensitive to hearing to sound of a gun shot, other loud noises such as fireworks or thunder can cause dogs to worry, panic and in some cases, to tear apart things in your house.  If your four legged, furry friend is not a fan of these loud noises take a few minutes to read this blog and find out some things that can be done to help them!
The retrieving and setter breeds are probably best known for their hunting skills (along with being loyal companions of course!).  Some of you may be wondering why some dogs freak out at the slightest loud noise while others, such as the hunting breeds, can sit next to their owner while a gun shot goes off right next to them.  A lot of this has to do with the correct training.  One big part of this training is to show the dog that the sound of a gun shot comes with a reward – they are able to retrieve what has been brought down and bring back to the owner.  When they do this correctly they are rewarded with treats or a favorite toy that they are able to play with for a short amount of time.  Starting out slowly is key when training your dog to be a hunting dog.  Start out by using a small caliber gun and being about 75-100 meters away when starting to fire.  If the dog shows any signs of being shy when the gun goes off, wait a week and try again.  The better the dog gets, the closer you can move until you can be right beside the dog and shoot the gun with no adverse effects.  Keep doing this until you get the caliber gun you will use in the field.
For the pets that aren’t going to be used for hunting and that aren’t acclimated to life with loud sounds, there are options out there that you can try if you know a thunderstorm is coming or if there are going to fireworks.  The following are some options that you could try:
     – Thundershirts – a thundershirt works like swaddling a baby.  It’s a shirt that velcros around the dogs chest and abdomen and helps to make them feel more secure and safe.  They work well for thunderstorms (as the name implies) but can also help with fireworks or other loud noises that may make your dog feel anxious or nervous.
     – Sileo – this is the newest product that is on the market that is labeled for sound aversion.  Sileo has a type of sedative that helps to keep your pet in a relaxed state of mind when those loud noises occur.  It is given orally and it needs to come into contact transmucousally (which is the gums) to be absorbed into the body.  It does take 30-60 minutes to effect and works best if it can be given before the animal gets too worked up.  If you know fireworks are going to be going off or if there is a storm coming, give the medication about an hour before so it has plenty of time to work and hopefully help the animal stay relaxed during these stressful events.
There are other medications that can be used to help your noise conscience pet but talking to one of our veterinarians before starting your pet on any medication is always the safest plan!  Please call our office to schedule an appointment to discuss your pets sound aversion today!

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