It’s known as Sileo to doctors, but may be better described as a lifesaver for dogs and their families. Zoetis Inc., which markets the drug in the United States, just launched it for use by veterinarians and pup parents in May 2016, and it’s already being prescribed.
Sileo is targeted to dogs who suffer from “noise aversion,” particularly to things like thunderstorms and fireworks. Such behaviors are characterized by “panting, trembling, cowering, and escape behavior, which can result in self-trauma as well as property damage,” according to the official press release.
It’s an oramucosal gel containing dexmedetomidine, which prevents the release of norepinephrine in the brain during moments of fear. In layman’s terms, it’s administered by mouth and helps to keep dogs calm when they’re scared—without sedating them.
The drug is said to take effect 30–60 minutes after it’s given; its effects last anywhere from 2–3 hours and it can be re-administered every couple of hours if needed. For very noise-sensitive dogs (who may be in danger of causing destruction or perhaps hurting him or herself in the process), this could be a great option.
It’s always a good idea to make sure your dog has a safe, comfortable place to wait out a storm or fireworks show. Confining them to a room with water and a comfy place to rest is ideal, and calming aids like the Thundershirt may also help with anxiety.
Talk to your veterinarian about options that would work best for your dog, as Sileo shouldn’t be given to dogs with some serious conditions or diseases. You can read the full press release here.
July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters due to the high volume of animals who go missing because they were spooked by fireworks. Some shelters end up taking in more than 200 dogs and cats as a result. As a precaution, please make sure your pet is microchipped and is wearing an identification tag, and do not leave them tethered outside.