What is Fear?
Fear in cats and dogs, whether it is irrational to us or not, is a serious problem that many pets have. In this article we are looking at fear related to loud noises, this can be due to thunder, fireworks, guns, cars backfiring, vacuum cleaners, lawn mower and even someone clapping.
Fear is something we all instinctually feel when we are in the situation that there is a perceived or real threat to our safety. It is one of the things that triggers our fight or flight response, and can sometimes be the difference between life and death in a dangerous situation. But sometimes our animals can become too sensitive to these loud noises and have a more than stressful reaction.
So why do animals get so scared of these loud noises, let’s take thunderstorms for instance. They can be dangerous, if you are out in them you run the risk of being hit by lightning, branches and other debris falling on you and also there can be flooding. So if you look back to an animal’s natural instinctual past, why would they not be afraid of a thunderstorm?
But why are some animals so frightened more than others and you would think that if they had been through a few and not been hurt, why would they worry anymore. It is because they develop a phobia, your pet has at some stage had a frightening experience, this becomes etched on their subconscious, and so when the event happens again or something triggers the memory of that event, they have the reaction you see to the thunderstorm.
What are the signs?
Your cat or dog will show different sign to their fears; these can be from mild to excessive. So you could see any of the following: looking uncomfortable, restless and won’t settle, their tail could be tucked between the legs, they could go and hide, shaking and trembling, crying, urinating or defecating themselves, trying to escape and running away.
What can help?
Being able to know when your pet may go in to this state will help, so if you know a thunderstorm in coming you can take action. Having the TV or radio up louder to try and drown out the noise. If you have to go out or away try and get a sitter for your pet, as the company will help. Don’t make a fuss or over sympathise with your pet, as this will only reinforce their frightened behaviour and make them think that their fear reaction is an acceptable response.
We have a remedy in the Tagiwig range that can help to support your cat or dog that is suffering from these fears:
We also offer a full consultation service, where we can develop a treatment plan individualised for your animal. If this is of interest please email or phone.