You’re probably aware that dogs generally are scared when they hear loud noises. Three of the worst noises are: thunderstorms, vacuum cleaners and fireworks. There are logical reasons for their fears which we’ll examine to determine their validity and how you can best help them cope.
Lightning and Thunder!
Dogs have legitimate reasons for reacting badly whenever there’s a thunderstorm because there are five distinct events that can be involved, often all at the same time.
Lightning flashes. When your dog sees lightning flash in the windows or across the sky, it can make him feel insecure and that he has lost control over his usual environment.
Thunder crashes. Dogs have much greater hearing than humans and the thunderclaps can completely overwhelm him for this very reason.
Powerful winds. People hear in the 20-20,000Hz range. Dogs hear on the 40-60,000 Hz frequency so sounds made by the powerful winds may make them react badly because they hear a lot more than we do.
Rain. When rain continuously hits the roof, it can be very irritating, especially to dogs.
Changes in the static electricity field and air pressure can affect the way dogs behave because they have the ability to sense static electricity field changes and drops in the barometric pressure. These two events happen during storms and increase a dog’s discomfort.
If your Pomeranian is upset by effects of a storm, you may notice him doing one or more of these things: He may find a safe place to hide (under a staircase or in a closet. He may pace up and down, bark, whine, howl, drool a lot, shake all over, lick his lips, chew on items that are NOT toys and, in extreme cases, he may ram into walls because he loses control completely.
How you can help him – a compression vest.
You may or may not have come across this before. Perhaps you have tried it and it worked. Maybe you know somebody who did but it didn’t work. It’s known by a few names including: compression wrap, thunder shirt, thunder vest, anxiety wrap, and so on.
Now to understand what a compression vest really is. It’s a structured, form-fitting “vest” loosely based on the idea of swaddling (i.e. light pressure). Research has revealed that gentle pressure will release endorphins (a “feel good” calming chemical in the body. It has similarities to the way a baby is calmed when held in a swaddling blanket. You would feel good, comforted and safe if somebody gave you a loving hug.
The vest or shirt is put on and secured in place with Velcro flaps to ensure it’s snug but not too tight. When a dog experiences a stressful and/or intense situation, trigger points on his body are pressed and they create a feeling of security and calm. The vest might also be great when dealing with a variety of events that cause stress. E.g. frightened by fireworks, when travelling in a car or other vehicle, and so on.
Are they effective?
In a lot of cases, the high-quality vests are incredibly effective and have been proven to help more than 70% of canines. Here are a few tips to help you boost their effectiveness even more:
Give your Pomeranian plenty of time to get used to the vest. The worst thing you could do is put it on him during a thunderstorm for the very first time as that will often only increase his agitation. He needs to be familiar with his vest prior to needing it the first time. Slowly introduce your dog to the vest and take all the time he needs. Begin with 5 minute sessions and build up to 30 minute periods where he’s happy to wear it.
If you don’t have any storms for a while, put his vest on at least once each month so he doesn’t forget what it’s for. It’s common for the first two times to be difficult but the third time to be the lightbulb moment so never quit until you have at least tried it three times.
After you’re confident that your Pom is used to the vest, always have it within easy reach so you can put him in it the moment you know a storm is on the way. Dogs will sense storms while they’re still many miles away and will get fidgety before you even see a cloud in the sky. It can be worn for hours so putting it on him early won’t hurt. Better to be safe than sorry.
Buy the correct size. If it’s too lose it won’t work and if it’s too tight, he won’t want to wear it due to discomfort. The majority of stores will provide a range of sizes that rely on chest measurements or the weight of your Pom. If you don’t know these figures, measure and weigh and get the right answers. The measurements don’t need to be precise because vests can be adjusted.
Although the vests work quite well on most canines, it never hurts to learn extra tips you can integrate.
Compression wraps that are highly recommended.
With regards to effectiveness, quality, size and comfort, there are several vests that come highly recommended:
The jacket possesses airflow technology, making it quite breathable…a huge bonus for Pomeranians and other similar breeds. It has two different adjustable points, perfect for a Pom. A piece of Velcro wraps around under his belly and the second point is at the top of his chest.
You can choose red, pink, camo and blue so he can look great and it’s washable in your machine. Sizes range from xx -small and is suitable for puppies and dogs at, or under, 7 lbs. and rises from there.
This is a newer option but, thanks to several unique features, it’s high on the consideration list. It has a focus on providing extra cover on your dog’s chest to maximize the swaddling. It only has a single adjustable point, on the back. It only comes in a light gray color, but is made from a stretchy, extremely flexible fabric, offering a terrific custom fit. You choose based on measurements of the chest and x is a small fitting of 13-17 inches.
More helpful tips apart from the vest.
Don’t make your Pom stay next to you or in your lap when a storm is raging. You may think it’s ideal for offering comfort but your dog may want to run and hide in his “den.” If so, ensure it’s clean and has extra blankets, toys and treats so he can feel safe and secure.
The minute you know a storm is coming, shut all doors and windows, lower blinds and close curtains. However, don’t rush or your dog will become alarmed. Just do it room by room, without rushing around like crazy. If you rush and feel stressed, your dog will sense it and feel your anxiety, making him feel more concerned quicker.
Distractions are good. It can cause stress if you’re anticipating something. Don’t sit on the couch with your dog’s head in your lap, waiting for the rain and thunder to hit. After you have put his vest on and the house has been fully secured, find something fun you can do together. Fetch is a good game, making him use energy, or do a puzzle together. If distractions aren’t working, sit on the couch and watch TV with the volume on high.
If you’re forced to go out and your Pomeranian has to stay home on his own while a storm has been forecast, put a fest or compression shirt on him all day. It’s safe as long as it fits correctly. It won’t prevent him from doing anything that he would do normally. Shut curtains and windows before leaving home. Hopefully he has a den or playpen he can hide in comfortably.
Fireworks are a Blast.
Fireworks cause a lot of the same effects that come from thunderstorms so it’s hardly surprising that dogs hate them as well. These things may occur at the same time:
• Intensely loud booming of the fireworks is much louder for dogs, with their superior hearing.
• The odor that comes from the fireworks as they burn can cause dogs to become disoriented, making red flags go up everywhere.
• The rapid light flashes cause dogs to be scared and disturbed because there’s no pattern they can recognize.
Because fireworks cause massive problems for dogs, Guy Fawkes Day (July 4th) is the busiest bight of the year in animal shelters because dogs get spooked and jump over fences or find other ways to escape.
Ways you can help.
As with thunderstorms and the different effects that occur, fireworks have many similarities and should be taken just as seriously. Follow most of the tips mentioned earlier that related to storms and your dog will feel more comfortable.
Fireworks displays may last longer than some storms that can come and go quickly. The proximity of the fireworks to your home will also determine how your dog will react and how much care is needed.
You must NEVER take your Pomeranian to a fireworks demonstration, even if you think he’ll be ok locked in your car while you go and watch. Don’t be that cruel.
During the celebrations around the 4th of July, there are usually a number of fireworks displays of varying magnitude. Keep your dog in the house where it’s quieter, safer and more secure. If he is desperate to go to the bathroom, go with him and then bring him back into the house.
Check all available schedules to learn when and where all fireworks displays will be in your local area. Mark down start and finish times so you can plan ahead. Before they start, shut your windows and doors to keep the smell of burning fireworks out because you may not smell it but your dog will certainly get a strong whiff. Also shut curtains and blinds to block out visual aspects.
The mean vacuum cleaner.
Another typical canine fear that puts out loud noises is the use of a vacuum cleaner.
Some dogs will bark at it and then either try to attack it or run and hide.
There are several reasons for this type of behavior.
Vacuums are very loud but they can also create high-pitched whistles and “screams” that are audible to dogs but inaudible to people. It’s these noises that can be very disturbing to dogs with their acute hearing.
The bigger the machine, the bigger the threat it appears to pose. A Pomeranian is a small dog, so a vacuum can be huge by comparison, especially when you add loud noises to it. Dogs can’t understand that you control the vacuum and so it’s perceived as a threat that may attack at any moment.
How to provide help.
Give him space. There are plenty of fears that you can work on with your dog but the vacuum cleaner is one that it’s wise to simply limit his exposure to it. If you have somebody else at home, ask them to take your Pom for a walk while you do the vacuuming. Then the noise isn’t an issue. If that’s not an option, get the other person to play with your dog outside while you operate the machine inside. If it’s a portable dog playpen, move it away from the house as far as possible, as each area is cleaned.
In this case, a compression vest can also be useful. However, keeping the machine out of your dog’s way is the best course of action because you don’t need to scare him when easy alternatives are available.
Copyright Pomeranian.org. All Rights Reserved.