5 Steps to Reduce Your Pet’s Stress

April is National Stress Awareness Month. As humans we have a multitude of choices regarding ways to reduce our overall stress level, including taking yoga classes, drinking green tea, meditating, keeping a gratitude journal, etc. But, how about our pets? We love them and bring them into our human environment, with all of its crazy sounds and sights, and we say “adjust.” Some do, many don’t.

Sound researcher Joshua Leeds and veterinary neurologist Susan Wagner co-authored Through a Dog’s Ear, the first book to examine the powerful effect of the human soundscape on canines. They suggest taking a “sonic inventory” of your environment. Sound is like air. We rarely notice these two common elements unless the air suddenly becomes polluted or the sound becomes chaotic. This sonic inventory is one way of becoming aware of the noise in your pet’s environment:

  • Sit quietly for 30 minutes, pen and pad in hand.
  • Tune into the sounds you hear inside your home and outside on the street – the hum of the fridge, the cycle prompt of the dishwasher, the beat of a dryer, the alarm clock, hair dryer, vacuum, television, computer sounds, text alerts, traffic, car alarms, children playing, music, etc.
  • Notice your pet’s behavior. Does he actively respond to the sounds? Note that his reactions may be very subtle, such has just a raising of an eyebrow or ear twitch. When sounds from the stereo or tv are present, does he move closer or farther away from the sound source?
  • Rate the sounds from one to ten, ten being the most disturbing and one the least noticeable. Use two columns – one for your pet and one for yourself. The goal is to have the lowest numbers you can.
  • Ask yourself how you can make your home a calmer, more peaceful place, for yourself and for your pets. Often, just by listening, we become more sonically aware, an important first step.† Small changes made in your sound environment can often make a big difference in your pet’s behavior.

Personally, I consider it my responsibility to be considerate of Sanchez and Gina‘s sound environment. I play music for them daily that is designed to calm the canine nervous system. When I occasionally want to blast my Zumba playlist, I make sure they are outside. I put them in a quiet room with a treat when I vacuum, and I don’t take them to public places with loud music playing.

Those of us who love our pets often assume that our environment is the best for our pets. However, sometimes it requires a different way of thinking, to assess whether what works for us, works for our beloved pets as well.

Are you committed to becoming a sound aware pet lover? Thanks for posting a comment below telling Care2 readers some ways that you can improve your household sound environment for your pets, and ultimately the 2-leggeds in your household will also benefit.

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Andr? Vosloo
Andre Vosloo2 years ago

I am very tuned into my cats for stress have even planted some lavender for them..

Adrienne L.
Adrienne L2 years ago


Glennis Whitney
Glennis W2 years ago

Great article Saff gets cheesed off if I stay on the computer too long, gives me the message to get off by laying on the keyboard.

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R2 years ago

Good info. TY for sharing.

Monika Ka
Monika K2 years ago


Roslyn McBride
Roslyn M2 years ago

All animals have problems with loud noises, and I wish more people would realise it.

Glennis Whitney
Glennis W2 years ago

Great article, thank you for sharing, I always put Saff in a safe place when I vacuum as he is terrified of it, only cat I have had that is frightened.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Debbie Bemister
Debbie Bemister2 years ago

Thank you for this very interesting article. I make sure I place my dogs in a quiet room when I vacuum, as it bothers them a great deal.

Christina S.
Christina S.2 years ago

All very interesting tips. I shall have to try what you suggest. However, the problem I have with the vaccing, is that my youngest who doesn't like the vacuum, if I were to lock him in another room he will cry and want to be with me even though I have that big bad noise out there. He still has to be in the same room and likes to check the vacuum out to see where it is and what it's doing but the moment it comes near him he scarpers. But he is always back at the door watching to come back near me.
Any suggestions then?