Roughly a third of dogs are susceptible to noise aversion and fireworks are the worst triggers. Shelters generally take in double the number of lost dogs on the days immediately after July 4th.
Veterinarians and the pet industry are on it, however. A new drug, approved by the FDA in November under the trade name Sileo, suppresses flight-or-fight responses in dogs. It’s an oral gel containing a pinch of a chemical called dexmedetomidine. Squeeze a bit of the gel onto a dog’s gums before fireworks, and as the drug is absorbed it dulls the effects of norepinephrine.
In a field study prior to FDA approval, European dog owners dosed 144 pets afraid of fireworks on New Year’s Eve, using either dexmedetomidine or a placebo. In 74% of the dogs on dexmedetomidine, the owners rated the drug as “excellent” or “good” at preventing anxiety. Owners in the control group rated the placebo as effective about 33% of the time.
If that’s too hardcore for you, PETA also recommends low-dose melatonin supplements to keep dogs calm when facing firecrackers. Another possible solution is the ThunderShirt, meant to bring peace through gentle constriction but the jury is out on how effective it is.
And one last but very important tip from the American Kennel Club: Make sure your pet is microchipped in case of an escape.
And thank you to the Durango Herald for this great info.