Dog Scared of Thunder
Is Sileo Safe for Dogs?
When Theo developed his fear of thunderstorms, he was about a year and a half, and I thought I was in the clear of any dog anxieties of phobias. Boy, was I wrong. This is why I preach having a very proactive role in preventing thunder or noise phobia in dogs, because once they have a noise phobia, it can be very tricky to resolve or manage.
When Theo developed his thunder phobia (2002), I didn’t have really any experience with noise phobias in dogs. I was learning as I went and trying to research and learn all that I could as quickly as I could. Little did I know, it would be something I focused on for the rest of Theo’s life.
Theo’s noise phobia was severe. Not only would he be in an extreme panic, pacing, digging, panting, drooling and even eliminating, but he would also injure himself if I was not with him during a storm. This made it extremely dangerous and very stressful. And like the 40-60% of other noise phobic dogs, Theo then developed separation anxiety.
Needless to say, I did everything I knew at that time. Which brings us to today and a new drug, SILEO® (dexmedetomidine oromucosal gel), marketed towards dogs with noise aversion. I’ve already been asked if this is something I would recommend. First, I can’t ever recommend a prescription drug, since I’m not a veterinarian. Second, when I work with clients, I have a full history intake, including medical followed up by a 2-3 hour consultation. So, I would never be able to even start to think if this would be something for your dog in a blog post. What I can do, is talk about Theo and what I would or wouldn’t do in his case.
First up, what exactly is Sileo? I reach out to a holistic veterinarian, Dr. Judy Morgan. Dr. Morgan explains that, “dexmedetomidine oromucosal injection is a sedative and pain relief medication used for surgical, dental, and clinical procedures.” That answer right there puts up quite a red flag for me and here’s why.
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For Theo, his noise phobia was indeed very concerning and he was certainly at his limits. However, when I was home with him, I was able to at least keep him safe and relatively calm with a variety of training techniques, medication and calming aids. Our hardest part was the rare occasion when Theo would have to be at home alone during a storm. That was the situation I was desperately trying to find relief for Theo. But, a sedative, while he was not with a person is not something I would ever feel comfortable with. If a dog is going to be sedated, he needs to be closely monitored. I’m not sure a dog guardian has the tools or knowledge to even do this safely.
Sileo, as with any medication, comes with a list of side effects and precautions.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: Do not use SILEO in dogs with severe cardiovascular disease, respiratory, liver or kidney diseases, or in conditions of shock, severe debilitation, or stress due to extreme heat, cold or fatigue or in dogs hypersensitive to dexmedetomidine or to any of the excipients. SILEO should not be administered in the presence of preexisting hypotension, hypoxia, or bradycardia. Do not use in dogs sedated from previous dosing. SILEO has not been evaluated in dogs younger than 16 weeks of age or in dogs with dental or gingival disease that could have an effect on the absorption of SILEO. SILEO has not been evaluated for use in breeding, pregnant, or lactating dogs. Transient pale mucous membranes at the site of application may occur with SILEO use. Other uncommon adverse reactions included emesis, drowsiness or sedation. Handle gel-dosing syringes with caution to avoid direct exposure to skin, eyes or mouth. See full Prescribing Information.
I do find it a bit odd that two conditions, shock, and stress are stated as reasons NOT to use Sileo. For me, there just isn’t enough information on the positive effects Sileo may have on behavior. But, that is just my personal opinion. You should have a long conversation with your veterinarian on pros and cons before jumping in. Also, as always, if you feel your dog needs medication for behavioral problems, you need to address his behavior with a good behavior modification program if you ever want to truly help your dog with his anxieties. For more help on dog thunder phobia, please check out my webinar-treating thunder phobia. and my online articles here. I would be happy to help you help your dog on a personalized training plan, just give me a shout.
Is Your Dog Afraid of Storms? Tell me in the comments.
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5 thoughts on “Dogs Scared of Thunder, Noise Phobia and Thunder Phobia in Dogs, Is Sileo The Answer?”
My tanner has that issue, he pants, paces an I feel so bad for him. Tried him on one med, made him worse, thunder shirt didn’t help, last resort, ace promazine, take half hour to kick in, but only thing that worked. Trying relax an calm essential oil mixed with almond oil put on tip of his ears an the oil in the diffuser
Thanks, Debby. Hopefully, you are working with someone on changing the behavior and not just adding “add-ons.” Without a training behavior modification program you will be limited and eventually things will start working. Watch the ace, because a dog’s sense of noise is heightened, so the phobia will likely get worse. I offer phone sessions if you would like to discuss.
My boy Bart had this when he was younger, but grew out of it pretty much as he aged (he is 7 now). On the other hand my girl Lela had no problems at all. Then when she was about 4 years old, developed a great fear (she is 6 now). She is worst when it’s lightening. She seems to handle the thunder better than the lightening. When it happens during the day, she’s better than at night. At night, I was having to get up and turn on the lights and sit up with her. So I’ve started leaving the lights on in the living room at night before we go to bed if there is a threat of storms. Plus I close all the blinds in the house. And shut the extra bedroom doors. In our bedroom, I’ve put up black out drapes and actually taped the window curtains to the wall to try to black out the lightening. Its driving me nuts! If there is a threat of storms at bedtime, I will give her a melatonin pill as well as a dose of Rescue Remedy. I’m not sure what else to do for her.
Hi, Vicki. It’s tough for sure. I do have a few more articles on thunder phobia. https://raisingyourpetsnaturally.com/?s=thunder I also offer phone/Skype customize behavioral help if you need assistance.
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