Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Fireworks Minus Fear ~ Heather, Technician & Blog Editor

My newest foster dog, Electra, is a big, strong, stocky pitbull. She's also one of the biggest babies you'll ever meet.

Electra had some prior injuries that she had to have surgery to correct, and she's now receiving physical therapy treatments twice weekly. Being a two-year-old, previously untrained, excitable pittie, she has understandably needed some help with this in the form of medications that allow her to calm down. 

For anyone who is the parent of an anxious dog, you are likely familar with her list of medications, including Zylkene, Trazodone, Fluoxetine (Prozac), and Gabapentin. We also have Adaptil diffusers plugged in everywhere she goes. For the purpose of keeping calm at home with my other dog, in her crate, and at the vet in physical therapy, this combination has worked wonders for her. One thing it might not be enough to tackle, however, is the upcoming canine terror that is the Fourth of July. 

Noises in and outside of the home have been noticeably frightening to her, particularly since she's used to a shelter environment, not a house in the country. She's not alone! At least one third of all dogs in the United States suffer from noise aversion.

Noise aversion can present itself in many forms, including pacing, restlessness, lip licking, trembling, shaking, panting, hypervigilance, cowering, hiding, furrowed brow, ears back, freezing or immobility, abnormal clinginess, refusal to eat, yawning, or vocalizing. The medications mentioned previously can be helpful, but some have to be in the system for hours or weeks prior to being effective and are primarily sedatives. 

Sileo is an oromucosal gel that can be applied to the gums only 30-60 minutes prior to a loud event such as fireworks or a predicted storm, and it lasts for 2-3 hours. It is the first and only FDA-approved treatment for canine noise aversion associated with fear and anxiety. Dexmedetomidine (the active ingredient) calms your dog by preventing or reducing specific reactions in the nervous system related to noise. 

Should Electra need extra help when those fireworks start on the 4th, this is what I'll be reaching for. If you think Sileo might help your dog, don't hesitate to ask us about it, and don't forget to keep your pets safe inside this holiday with identifying information on their tags in case they get spooked!

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