New Drug May Help Dogs Scared By Loud Noises

| by Katie Landoll
A dog hiding under a bedA dog hiding under a bed

A new treatment for noise aversion could reportedly help dogs stay calm during fireworks this 4th of July.

Sileo is the first drug of its kind that is FDA-approved to treat canine noise aversion. According to a May 16 statement from Zoetis, the drug’s distributor, Sileo works without a tranquilizer so that dogs can still interact with their owners normally without experiencing sedation.

According to The New York Times, as many as 40 percent of dogs may experience noise aversion, a term that encompasses a spectrum of degrees of sensitivity, anxiety or fear related to loud noises.

According to Zoetis, common triggers for noise aversion include thunder, construction or traffic noise, and outdoor celebrations. Common symptoms include trembling, hiding or cowering, pacing, and clingy behavior.

Zoetis added that these noise aversion behaviors can result in self-trauma or damaged property. Dogs have also been known to escape; animal shelters have said July 5, following the July 4 fireworks, is their busiest day, The Times notes.

“It’s very serious,” Dr. Melissa Bain told The Times. Bain, an associate professor of clinical animal behavior at the University of California, called the condition “a true panic disorder with a complete flight response.”

A wide range of clinical and behavioral remedies for noise aversion are already in use. Many dog owners use swaddling jackets, recordings of calming music, homeopathic treatments, or even human anxiety medications like Prozac. Some veterinarians have prescribed tranquilizing medications that sedate dogs for up to a few days.

Now, however, dogs can be prescribed Sileo, which inhibits the brain chemical norepinephrine which is associated with responses of fear and anxiety. According to NBC News, the drug is administered through a plastic needleless syringe used to place a small amount of medicated gel between the dog’s gum and lip.

Each prefilled syringe costs about $30 and contains two to four doses, depending on the weight of the dog. The medicine reportedly begins working within 30 to 60 minutes and should last up to three hours.

Sources:​ The New York Times, Zoetis, NBC / Photo Credit: Zoetis

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