A new canine calming drug, Sileo, is about to hit the market and timing could not be better with Fourth of July celebrations about the begin. Fireworks displays are one of the biggest causes of pet stress, anxiety and lost pets. July 5th is often the busiest day of the year for animal shelters and rescue groups taking in lost pets.
Pet parents often flood into their vet’s office this week seeking out something, anything, that will help calm their dog during the fireworks. Fear and anxiety from noise often occurs more than just once a year. Thunderstorms are also a common cause for noise aversion and as many as 70 million dogs are affected by noise anxiety.
Signs of noise aversion can vary from mild to extreme and some pet parents do not even recognize their pets are affected. In a study done by the School of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Bristol and reported by Animal Wellness, half the pet parents interviewed recognized at least one behavioral sign associated with noise anxiety and fear, even though only one quarter of those pet parents actually classified their dogs as being fearful of noise.
Common signs of noise related anxiety include: hiding, chewing, panting, pacing, defecating indoors, drooling, seeking company of pet parent, trembling, and the most extreme-escaping. Dogs with an extreme anxiety will do anything they can to escape from the noise, which might mean jumping through a window or over a fence, both of which I have witnessed through my pet sitting business.
Without having anti-anxiety medications specifically for pets, cats and dogs are often prescribed human medications by their vets. By using medications intended for their human counterparts, pets can often suffer side effects for a few days after the initial medication was administered.
This is where Sileo comes in. Sileo is the first FDA approved treatment for canine noise aversion. It is administered at home by the pet parent. The medication is a gel that is applied to the gums, using a syringe and starts working within 30-60 minutes but wears off in two-three hours, which is often how long a thunderstorm or fireworks display will last.
Sileo “calms without sedating” according to their website and works by inhibiting norepinephrine, a chemical in the brain associated with the fear response. By restricting the flow of this chemical in the brain it helps dismiss the underlying fear of noise.
The medication was tested on about 180 dogs during New Year’s Eve in New York ranging in age between 2-17. Over 75% of owners rated the drug effects as good or excellent and side effects were rare or minor.
When looking through news articles and the Sileo website I was unable to obtain any information about what is in the medication and might add a word of caution to pet parents about putting more chemicals into their pets’ systems. However, depending on the severity of noise anxiety, the risk of medication might outweigh the risk of your pooch jumping out the window. If you are one of the pet parents with a scared and anxious dog over the 4th, you may consider talking to your vet about the risks of Sileo. I would be interested to know if anyone uses it and what your experience is.