From the good people at Stat:
The furry faces of of pitchdogs are flooding Facebook and Twitter as dozens of veterinarians and pet hospitals seek to raise awareness of Sileo, the first drug approved to calm canines who are afraid of fireworks and thunderstorms.
“Do not fear, Sileo is here!” Aston, a gray-and-white dog with a remarkable grasp of English, is quoted as saying (or perhaps, barking) in one post.
Zoetis, the big animal drug maker that’s marketing Sileo in the United States, didn’t organize or ask for the PR campaign. But it did supply its sales reps with red-white-and-blue bandanas printed with the drug name to distribute to pet clinics. And it did launch the drug just in time for the Fourth of July.
Vets couldn’t resist.
The drug, a low-dose version of a dog sedative, hit the market last month. It was approved late last year by the Food and Drug Administration to treat dogs with a condition called “noise aversion” that causes symptoms ranging from skittishness to extreme panic and can result in dogs running away or injuring themselves.
Zoetis estimates that about a third of dogs are afflicted by noise aversion, which can be triggered by everything from the bangs of celebratory gunfire to the swishing of a running dishwasher.
I suppose it's too much to actually have the dog spend time around noisy things that do not bite it -- you know, the kind of basic behavior modification techniques we use when people have fears and phobias -- counter-conditioning and desensitization. Oh right. No sales there. Who wants to spend a little time with a dog to fix a problem permanently, when you can spend a lot of money on a dog to not fix it at all?
I am reminded of a line from dog trainer Marc Goldberg: "In countries where people are not crazy about dogs, dogs are not crazy."
There's something to that!
In the interim, use that mass of gray jello between your ears and crate your dogs the evenings of July 3rd and 4th (fireworks are often started early) and play decently loud music to drown out any rattles and hums outside. Was that a whizz-bang or Janis Joplin losing another piece of her heart? The dogs will never even ask the question!