A common issue many dog owners face, especially during the summer months, is noise aversion or noise anxiety in their dogs.
It is surprisingly more common than many think but because it is episodic in nature, it is only on the forefront of pet owners’ minds when it is an immediate or impending problem. Therefore, there have been few medical advances in how to deal with dogs that suffer from noise aversion and the behavioral problems it creates. That being said, Zoetis did just release a new drug specifically for noise aversion called, Sileo.
Sileo is made with dexdomitor, which is usually used for sedation and anesthesia but has been made into a gel form. So instead of having to pill your dog with acepromazine or trazadone and wait an hour for the pills to kick in, Sileo is a gel that is applied to and absorbed through the gums of your dog. It takes about 30 minutes to kick in and helps your dog to stay calm during loud noise events. What it does is it inhibits norepinephrine (or norarenalin). Norepinephrine is a brain chemical involved in the fight-or-flight part of the nervous system, it is associated with anxiety and fear response. By inhibiting it, your dog should become less over stimulated and fearful during loud noise events. The current research shows very few side effects but when there are some, the most common ones seen are vomiting and lowered heart rate.
While many are excited to hear that a new drug has come out specifically designed to help their dogs deal with their noise anxiety, others have been wary of its cure-all image. Some dog owners prefer to stick with all-natural supplements to deal with noise aversion such as Ewegurt, thundervests, and specialized collars, however, when a dog truly suffers from severe noise aversion these alternatives can really fall short. Therefore, it really comes down to the dog owner and what they are comfortable with and what their vet thinks is appropriate.
At the end of the day, noise aversion is still a fairly under-researched issue and many of our veterinary treatments for it address the symptoms not the root cause, thus the underlying fear remains untreated.