Neighborhoods are never completely quiet. There’s always a dog barking or an airplane flying overhead. During the summer the splashes and giggles of kids in their swimming pools can be heard. And then there’s the big summer holiday, the Fourth of July. And with that holiday comes fireworks. While your dog may not be scared of an airplane, another dog barking or the sounds of kids and pools, there’s a good chance that fireworks do scare him. Some dogs scare so badly that they hightail it out of town on a train.
As dog owners, we don’t really want to see our dogs so full of anxiety (mine refuse to go outside, even to use the bathroom, when fireworks are going off). Now we may not have to.
Zoetis Inc., a veterinary medication manufacturer out of Florham Park, New Jersey, announced Monday that an anti-anxiety medication for dogs that fear loud noises has been approved. The drug, called Sileo, will be available within a week, through veterinarians only, Fox 13 News reports.
For the most part, dogs traditionally have been treated for anxiety with human medications, such as Xanax and tranquilizers, or behavioral training (such as putting the dog in a crate until the fireworks stop). Such treatments have been criticized for ineffectiveness or for resulting in unwanted side effects, including appetite issues, upset stomach and/or abnormal heartbeats, Fox 13 News reports. They could even take days to wear off.
Animal Behavior Clinic’s Dr. Chris Pachel told Fox 13 News that he welcomes a medication designed for dogs that works quickly but also wears off after a few hours (say, the length of a fireworks display). The Portland, Oregon-based veterinary behaviorist is not affiliated with Zoetis, but did say that a need for anti-anxiety options for dogs is always there.
Sileo is designed to block norepinephrine, the brain chemical that increases anxiety, Fox 13 News reports. The medication is distributed in plastic syringes that are prefilled. The syringes have a dial that can be set so that the right dosage is given, depending on the dog’s weight. Each syringe contains enough medication for four doses if the dog is 40 pounds and two doses if the dog is 80 to 100 pounds.
The syringes are needleless (think of those syringes often used for children’s medications). To administer Sileo, you’re supposed to place the syringe between the dog’s lip and gum. The push ejection puts a little of the gel into the dog’s mouth, which is then absorbed in the cheek tissue. The medicine works in half an hour to one hour and lasts two to three hours, according to Fox 13 News.
Each syringe costs $30 — a small price to pay for an enjoyable Fourth of July for both you and your dog.