New FDA-Approved Drug Can Calm Anxious Dogs During July 4 Fireworks

Posted: Jul 4 2016, 3:01am CDT | by , Updated: Jul 5 2016, 10:17pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News


New FDA-Approved Drug Can Calm Anxious Dogs During July 4 Fireworks
Photo Credit: Getty Images

This is the first and only drug that can prevent dogs from getting frightened during bursts of lights and deafening explosions.

Fireworks have been a traditional part of America’s Independence Day celebrations. Firecrackers and bottle rockets are set off throughout the United States during Fourth of July. While bursts of lights and deafening explosions are fun for humans, man's best friends do not appear to like them too much.  The extremely loud noise of firework displays can make dogs anxious and afraid. Even the bravest ones can spring over fences, break chains or jump and break through glass doors and can seriously hurt themselves in the process. 

With training, dogs can learn to stop fearing fireworks. Moreover, there can be a number of tricks that can help dogs avoid shaking, whining or sliding under the table as the fireworks start cracking on July 4th. The tricks include keeping your dog in a cool back room during fireworks or distracting it with television or leaving it with a toy.

But there could be a better solution for this problem. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved the first and only drug that can calm anxious dogs during fireworks. The drug named Sileo is an oral gel that contains a chemical called dexmedetomidine. When the gel is rubbed onto the gums of dogs before fireworks, it eases the effects of norepinephrine – a substance which increases blood pressure and causes anxiety and stress. 

“It’s not a tranquilizer, per say. It works on the nervous system to inhibit the release of adrenaline or nor-epinephrine.” Veterinarian Dr. Gary Yarnell told CBS Local.

The drug was tested on 144 dogs before it received FDA approval. Trial revealed that 75 percent of canines taking Sileo showed less anxiety during New Year Eve's fireworks compared to 33 percent of those on placebo. The observations were reported by dog owners who did not know if their dog belonged to the study or control group.  

Around a third of dogs are susceptible to what is medically called noise aversion, a condition characterized by increased sensitivity to certain loud sounds and results in fear and anxiety. Though Sileo has been approved by the authority, veterinarians are still reluctant and recommend cautious use of the drug.

Dr. Gary Yarnell says. “One thing I would recommend, if your dog has a serious noise aversion tendencies you should probably to stay with the animal. Do not leave them at home.”

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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