The new dog anxiety drug aims to help pets to have a happier and quieter Fourth of July celebration. The active ingredient in the new medicine is dexmedetomidine, which suppresses the flight-or-fight response.
The day following the Fourth of July is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters. As a consequence, the pet industry started to lobby for a new way to help stressed dogs.
A third of dogs are prone to develop noise aversion. The exposure to loud sounds can make animals shake, wine, or escape from their lashes and their homes, in order to get to a quieter and safer place.
Fireworks are the main trigger for this type of behavior in pets. For example, in San Diego during a regular weekend, the shelters foster around 30 dogs. After the National Day celebrations, the number doubles.
Pets can learn to stop fearing fireworks if they are trained beforehand. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals published a list of temporary solutions, such as transforming a closet or a tub into a refuge for dogs.
PETA says that pets that take melatonin supplements in small doses are calmer during fireworks. There is even a special jacket that helps dogs to remain still by gently constricting them, which pets may find comforting.
“Loud bangs and whistles can not only cause pain in their ears but can also make the bravest of pets frightened,” said David Neck, animal specialist.
In November, FDA approved a new drug containing dexmedetomidine, named Sileo that would help dogs from noise aversion. The purpose of the medicine is to calm dogs without making them stupefied.
The drug works by canceling the effects of norepinephrine, the organic chemical that functions as a neurotransmitter and a hormone and has a role in mobilizing the brain and the body for action.
A previous test study took place in Europe, during the New Year’s Eve. The researchers examined 144 pets, some that were given dexmedetomidine and others that were given a placebo gel. The experiment revealed positive results in 74% of the dogs that were on dexmedetomidine.
However, the drug is not a miracle worker, and it must first be prescribed by a veterinarian.
The American Kennel Club recommends playing music to mask the noise, creating a shelter, and having the owner close by. It is important to make sure the pet is microchipped so it may easily be found.
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