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St Anne's Veterinary Group Blog

» Aeroplane Anxiety

Every August Eastbourne gets descended on by a lot of people and a lot of aeroplane noise. This usually leads to some very distressed animals, but there is something you can do to help your pet get through it. I remember when I started at St. Anne’s 14 years ago, getting numerous calls from upset owners whose dogs had been literally chewing doorframes to pieces from fear.

At St. Anne’s we run free nurse consults where we work on noise phobias, if started now you will definitely see some benefit in time. There are some important basic things to remember, Airbourne usually starts later in the day so try walking your dog earlier. Close windows and draw curtains to muffle the sound, and turn up the TV or radio too. Make sure you have a safe place for your dog to hide in, where he can feel safe. Thunder shirts, which are tight fitting shirts worn to make the dog feel safer and secure and work really well, those of you who have purchased a post op jacket from us, can use those too. You should remain calm because if you’re feeling anxious about the way your pet is going to react, then they will pick up on that and become anxious themselves.


There are lots of things you can purchase over the counter such as Adaptil which is a synthetic copy of the pheromone released by a mother dog naturally to calm and reassure her new puppies. This comes in a diffuser, spray, collar and tablets. You should start using this product before the beginning of Airbourne, at least 24 hours before, until after it is all over. There are other products that come in tablet form such as Zylkene and Calmex.

Launched last year for firework noise anxiety and used by several of the staff here with very positive results, was a product which is administered orally. It is a prescription only medication and therefore will require a consultation with a vet to get it. This product works without the need for other products or training. We’re not allowed to mention the names of prescription meds online but please do give us a call and we can discuss what the best plan of action is.

In years gone by sedatives were prescribed to sedate dogs through these stressful events, this is now not deemed good practice as sedatives just make the dog unable to react to the trigger but they still remember it. This has in some cases made the animal more afraid. Noise desensitisation is the best plan but you will have to start it now to give your pet enough time to desensitise before the Red Arrows arrive!

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