Most of us are familiar with anxiety in dogs. It is not uncommon for dogs to fear people, other pets, separation from their owners, and, of course, noises. Many dogs cower in reaction to loud sounds like those made by fireworks on the 4th of July, or thunderstorms all summer long. This fear is known as canine noise aversion, noise anxiety, or noise sensitivity. Some dogs have mild cases that are no real cause for concern. Others, however, can develop more severe versions of this phobia. Unfortunately, because it’s so common to see the occasional dog hide under the picnic table at Independence Day parties, many dogs go untreated. Now, however, owners and veterinarians who are concerned about the level of anxiety have a medical treatment option that may help.
SILEO® (dexmedetomidine oromucosal gel) is a new treatment for canine noise aversion, and the first and only one to be approved by the FDA. The medication includes a mild sedative to help keep your dog calm. However, the sedative should not make a dog drowsy, he should still be able to function normally and, of course, be less concerned with the loud pops and cracks of firework celebrations, thunderstorms, or other problematic noises.
In fact, SILEO studies were conducted utilizing a specific sound as the stimulating noise: fireworks. Dose amounts and frequency, timing, and reactions were all monitored and recorded over time. The dogs’ owners monitored any changes in their pets’ anxiety. These studies revealed that SILEO had an overall positive outcome for dogs with noise aversion.
The prescription drug is a gel and at-home administration is a very simple process; the owner rubs the gel on the dog’s gums. SILEO is designed to be given by the owner after learning how to do so from a vet. If possible, it should be given before the dog shows signs of anxiety—about a half-hour or hour—or immediately after the dog becomes anxious. Extra doses are possible, but there is a limit, and, as with any drug, there are risks; a vet can go through these with the owner.
If you believe your dog suffers from noise-related anxiety and may have a difficult time during the coming 4th of July celebrations, call us at Pet Vet Animal Hospitals and talk to us about SILEO. We can discuss the treatment with you in detail, and help you determine if this is the right choice for you and your friend so you both can have the happiest holiday.