A thunderstorm or fireworks will set off most dogs and will send them into a panic, but new research has found that common household noises may be affecting your furry friends just as much.
Reports from researchers at the University of California, Davis have revealed that certain common noises could be stressing or even harming your pets. These noises may be triggering your dog and the study finds owners often underestimate their dogs anxiety and miss signs that their pet is experiencing stress.
Are you underestimating your dog's fearfulness of noises? While it’s well established that sudden loud noises commonly trigger a dog’s anxiety, a new #UCDavis study finds even common noises can be a trigger. https://t.co/xfKHmg2qU4— UC Davis Veterinary Medicine (@ucdavisvetmed) November 15, 2021
The research revealed high-frequency, intermittent noises will spark your dogs anxiety rather than low-frequency, continuous noises. Examples include the warning beep of a smoke detector when the battery is low, vacuum cleaners, or even your microwave.
Lead author Emma Grigg, a research associate and lecturer at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine said humans underestimate their dogs fear and usually can't read their body language. The study which involved a survey of 386 dog owners revealed not only did dog owners underestimate their dog's anxiety but they responded with amusement rather than concern. Grigg says:
“We know that there are a lot of dogs that have noise sensitivities, but we underestimate their fearfulness to noise we consider normal because many dog owners can’t read body language."
New paper out in @FrontVetScience: “Our data support that some owners are underestimating fearfulness in their dogs in response to household noises, and responding inappropriately to dogs' expressions of fear and anxiety” #caninescience https://t.co/r4fS6skUb9— Emma K. Grigg, PhD, CAAB (@EmmaKGrigg1) November 8, 2021
The study explains the common signs of anxiety in a dog include cringing, trembling or retreating but more subtle signs include panting, licking their lips, turning their head away, stiffening their bodies. Other subtle signs to look after are their ears turning back and having their head below their shoulders.
Grigg explains because dogs have a wider range of hearing, loud noises and high-frequency sounds may be painful to dogs because of their sensitivity.
She suggests that dog owners should take steps to help reduce their pets anxiety and ensure they are not exposed to these noises for too long. She says dog owners should take responsibility to reduce their pets anxiety by minimising exposure to those noises and says:
“Dogs use body language much more than vocalizing and we need to be aware of that. We feed them, house them, love them and we have a caretaker obligation to respond better to their anxiety.”
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