Noise Phobia in Dogs - Signs, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment


TreatmentPage 10 of 13


While there are currently no approved drugs for the management of noise phobias, veterinary behaviorists frequently recommend the following medications for dogs with noise phobias. Before prescribing, veterinarians should review Plumb’s Therapeutics Brief for complete information on the following drug’s side effects, contraindications and drug interactions. DO NOT use acepromazine- it can increase reactivity to sound and may be particularly inappropriate for anxiety induced by sounds.

Short term or event associated medications

  • Best if given on an as needed basis – potent for panic-type responses, although the duration of the effect may only be a couple hours but it may last longer depending on the pet.
  • Ideally given 1 hour prior to event.
  • Drugs can be used to alter a dog’s emotional response and memory of the frightening event which can make the dog more manageable and help prevent the problem from getting worse.
  • Benzodiazepines
    • Provides anxiolytic effects but relatively less sedation.
    • Alprazolam 0.02-0.05 mg/kg orally 2-4 times daily as needed, should be given 1 hour prior to event.
    • Practitioners should have owners give a trial dose to determine response prior to use during a noise event.
    • Some dogs experience a paradoxical response including causing excitement or exacerbating aggressive behaviors.
  • Serotonin antagonist/reuptake inhibitor
    • Provides anxiolytic effects and relatively more sedation than alprazolam.
    • Trazodone 3-5 mg/kg orally prior to the event but may used twice daily to start, may increase to 3 times daily if needed. May also increase dose, if needed.
    • May cause sedation.

Long term medication

  • Long term medication can be useful adjunct treatment to behavioral therapy, when used appropriately and for a sufficient duration.
  • These medications may take 4-8 weeks to become effective.
  • These medications may be more important when the dog has other co-morbid fears or other behavioral related problems associated with noise phobia.
  • Also if thunderstorms or other noises occur more frequently and/or less predictably in the dog’s environment and/or the owners are gone a lot when the noises may occur.
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
    • Fluoxetine 1-2 mg/kg orally once daily. Base starting dose on
      individual patient history and severity of clinical signs.
    • May cause decrease in appetite.
  • Tricyclic antidepressant
    • Clomipramine 1–2 mg/kg PO twice daily initially and eventually
      up to 3 mg/kg PO once to twice daily.
    • May cause decrease in appetite, irritability.

Combining long term and short term medication

  • Short term medication may be combined with long term medication to increase anxiolytic effects, if the patient requires it for management.