It’s no secret that dogs aren’t the biggest fans of 4th of July – because of the excessive amounts of fireworks. However, a new drug has been approved that can help calm dogs without the sedating effect other drugs might have.
Experts estimate that nearly one third of dogs suffer from noise aversion, something that makes the 4th of July especially unpleasant for both the canines and their owners. Symptoms include panting, hiding, running around, trembling, running away, and even injury if the pet is especially distressed. Animal shelters have reported that the 4th of July is one of their busiest times as so many spooked pets end up running away to avoid the noise.
So, the FDA has approved a new drug called Sileo to help calm pets and make the night of festivities much more tolerable for them. The medication comes in the form of a gel that is placed in between the dog’s cheeks and gum and takes about an hour to take full effect. The medicine, which was developed by Finnish company Orion, was tested on 144 dogs on New Year’s Eve. It was found that 75 percent of dogs on the drug had less anxiety than they typically do during a night of fireworks festivities.
Dr. Gary Yarnell of the Rye Harrison Veterinary Hospital in New York states:
“It’s not a tranquilizer, per se. It works on the nervous system to inhibit the release of adrenaline or nor-epinephrine.”
Veterinarians recommend that pet owners try and comfort their pets before administering the drug, as although it is relatively safe, a non-medicinal approach is always the best first line of defense. Yarnell also states that if your pet is especially afraid of fireworks, it isn’t a good idea to leave him or her home alone on the big night. This can cause even more anxiety due to both the noise and the absence of the comfort of the owner.
Dogs with heart problems, breathing issues and kidney problems should not take the medication, as it can make their health worse.
There is a drug coming out for everything, eh?
Anna Scanlon is an author of YA and historical fiction and a PhD student at the University of Leicester where she is finishing her degree in modern history.