Noise Phobia – Preparing for the Fourth of July

Did you know July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters across the country?

Since July 4th is celebrated with fireworks, the loud noises trigger a fear response in some dogs, as can thunderstorms. Some dogs become so fearful of the noise that they try to get away from it, even if it includes escaping and running away from what they would normally consider a safe place. This is why shelters are, unfortunately, so busy on July 5th! 

Many dogs (and some cats, although not as commonly) experience a fear of loud noises (“noise phobia”). There are a number of factors that determine a pet’s reaction to certain noises, such as their age, socialization, and experience. Depending on the type of animal you have and the severity of their fear, signs of pet noise phobia may include:  

  • Hiding
  • Trembling or shaking 
  • Seeking out the owner
  • Urinating or defecating
  • Pacing/Panting
  • Chewing
  • Digging
  • Barking or howling

How can you calm your dog’s fear of loud noises?

Your pet may be comforted by being in a smaller, confined space such as a crate (if they are accustomed to a crate), a bedroom, closet, or bathroom. Play soothing music or turn on the TV. Human company helps, but try not to over-indulge your pet with sympathy. Give your pet attention and act like everything is normal! 

Never Use Punishment

Under NO circumstances should punishment be used when you are helping your pet overcome noise or storm phobias, especially if there has been physical damage that occurred while you were away. Punishment only serves to increase the pet’s anxiety and fear. Keeping your pet calm and relaxed is a requisite part of treatment.

Wraps & Shirts

Some dogs respond well to the various capes and wraps available, including the ThunderShirt ( The ThunderShirt is designed to apply gentle pressure to the dog’s torso, resulting in fear reduction by maintaining “swaddling” pressure and applying acupressure. 

Pheromone Products

Pheromone products can help dogs with noise and storm anxiety.

ThunderEase ( contains a synthetic analogue of dog appeasing pheromone (DAP), which reportedly helps provide reassurance and comfort to puppies and dogs of all ages. One study showed that desensitization (white noise machine or gentle music) in combination with DAP helped dogs handle their fear of fireworks. ThunderEase for dogs is available in 3 forms:

  1. Diffuser that covers approximately 600 square feet
  2. Collar that (when fitted snugly) constantly diffuses DAP
  3. Spray for use on bedding and other surfaces, but NOT on the dog

Feliway pheromone for cats ( aids in curbing unwanted cat behaviors such as spraying, scratching, and general fearfulness. Feliway for cats is available in 3 forms:

  1. Spray for use on bedding and other surfaces (including the carrier) but NOT on the cat
  2. Diffuser that covers approximately 600 square feet
  3. Wipes for use on surfaces, and in cat carrier but NOT on the cat


Some medications have proven useful in calming the pet during stressful noise events. If you would like to further discuss these options, please give us a call. If your pet normally takes prescription medication for noise phobia and you need a refill, please allow 72 hours advance notice for us to prepare the medication refill for you. 

Please let us know if you have any questions. We wish you and your pets a happy and safe 4th of July!

In order for our staff to enjoy the holiday with their families, our offices are closed on July 4th. If you have an after-hours canine or feline emergency, please contact one of our emergency partners listed here: