In today’s world of modern technology various beeps, rings and other noises conveniently notify us of various happenings in our lives. They tell us when we have a text message or voicemail, when our food is done in the microwave, when our smoke detector batteries are low or even when our clothes are done in the dryer. We’ve probably all learned to adopt these into our everyday lives without even thinking twice about how they may be affecting our pets.

Surprisingly, what may be a modern convenience to us can be a frightening sound to dogs and cats. Some sounds can actually harm them also. For example, the piercing sound of a smoke detector beep when its batteries are low can hurt a dog’s sensitive ears and cause stress.

Common signs of stress include shaking, excessive drooling, barking or howling. Some pets may also hide and can lose bladder control. If your pet is showing any of these symptoms, the first thing you should do is to try and identify the cause. Watch your pet and keep notes on when and where his frightened behavior takes place. You’ll more than likely start to notice some patterns and commonalities.

Pets also thrive on regular routines so anything out of the ordinary in your house could be the culprit. Have you installed a new appliance like a dishwasher, microwave or refrigerator? Any of these can make new and different noises that cause stress to your pet. Even some of the new electronic washers and dryers play what seems like a harmless little tune when they have finished a cycle.

Stressful noises can happen when you are away too. Your pet could be calmly napping when the phone rings or the answering machine starts beeping. If you’re not home to help calm the pet, they may become destructive or even try to escape. Take measures to try to eliminate these noises (for example, you can turn the ringer off your phone before you leave) when you’re away or play relaxation CDs that can help calm your pet.

It may be impossible to eliminate some noises in your household so in those cases anticipate them as much as possible and try to be near your pet when they occur. Talk in a soothing voice and pet them. Try not to overdo the attention though as this can reinforce bad behavior. Find a middle ground and distract your pet with a new game or a walk outside. You can also try putting your pet in a safe area with toys and a favorite blanket.

Also make sure your pet has an implanted chip and/or wears an identification tag. If he does take off when frightened you’ll have a much easier time recovering him.

Most of the time we all appreciate modern technology and the conveniences it brings but if it’s causing undue stress to your pet try to reduce the impact as much as possible. Pets do an amazing job of relaxing their owners and in some cases even lowering their owner’s blood pressure. Do the same for your pet and provide as much of a calming environment for them as possible. Your pet will thank you!

Dr. Patrick L. Paradis is a veterinarian and the owner of Woodburn Pet Hospital now offering advanced laser therapy. He has been practicing in Woodburn for more than 26 years and specializes in small animal general medicine and surgery, canine dentistry and orthopedic surgery. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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