For dog owners, it can be a helpless feeling to see their pet panic. A newly approved drug hopes to help pets left paralyzed by the sound of fireworks and other loud noises.
“We have all the way from very mild to very severe cases, where dogs are going through windows and escaping through crates during noise events,” says Dr. Amy Pike, a veterinary behaviorist.
Dr. Pike is excited about a new drug, which was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help dogs who get stressed out by loud noises.
The prescription drug is called Pexion, and it's part of a growing list of medications approved by the FDA to treat pets. The drug is given to dogs two days before an expected loud event, like the Fourth of July, as well as during the event.
In a study, 66 percent of owners who gave their dog the pill say they saw good or excellent results.
“I think it definitely has the potential to make a huge impact for some of these noise phobic dogs,” Dr. Pike says.
However, there are downsides. The most common side effects are difficulty standing or walking, increased appetite and low energy.
But dog trainer Juliana Willems is optimistic about the drug.
“Everything that I’ve seen has been great and totally adding to the quality of life for these animals I’m working with,” says Willems. “I'm relieved to see that people are understanding the importance of medication in the behavior modification process.”
Willems says to see the best results with the new pill, dog owners should use the medication in combination with behavior training, which could help everyone at home.
“Humans have such a hard time with it, and a lot of time, I do just as much human counseling as I do dog training,” says Willems. “So, once the dog is behaving better, it improves. The family feels better. Like you said, it's better for everybody.”