If your dog is scared of noises — especially very loud or sudden ones — you're not alone. Plenty of pup owners discover this fear their pets have relatively quickly — especially if they're like us and regularly drop household items on the floor by accident. But as soon as you learn about your doggo's fear, it's a good time to figure out a game plan in terms of going to the vet, according to a new study.
The March 2018 research, published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science, found that dogs that show fear or anxiety when faced with loud or sudden noises should be routinely assessed for pain by veterinarians. Animal behavioral scientists examined cases of canines that had developed a noise sensitivity — to loudness, different pitches, or sudden sounds — and found that pups who also had associated musculoskeletal pain formed a greater noise sensitivity. In other words, the study suggested that that a dog's anxiety about noise could possibly be linked to underlying pain.
Researchers said that all vets should be sure that pups with fear or anxiety related to noise get a thorough pain assessment exam to see if pain is playing a role in their fear. That way, any undiagnosed pain can be properly diagnosed — and treated, of course. All the pups in the study with pain who got the proper treatment later showed an improvement of their behavior in regard to noises.
"We think that dogs with this sort of chronic pain may experience the noise quite differently, because if the noise makes them startle," said researcher Ana Luisa Lopes Fagundes, a veterinary medicine student, in a release. "It may cause them to tense their muscles, and as consequence, they feel pain associated with the noise."
She added, "We found that these dogs which had pain do indeed show different signs. In particular, they seem to form much wider associations with the noise; for example, they would often tend to avoid not just the place where they had the bad experience but much larger areas too. These dogs also tended to avoid other dogs as well."
Wow! Who knew your dog getting spooked by certain sounds might be a sign of something darker happening beneath the surface? Whether your pup gets scared or not, though, this is a great reminder to take your canine in for regular vet visits. Be sure to let your vet know if your dog has been acting differently lately, especially in response to noise.
Next, learn why dogs are so good for your health in the video below: