As we get ready for New Year's Eve celebrations, dog owners are likely taking into account how their pups will react to the loud fireworks that often accompany the festivities. It’s not just those loud bangs that can set most dogs off, though — thunderstorms, vacuums, hair dryers, and other common sounds can trigger our poor pooches to panic any time of the year. Most of us try to ease their stress as best we can. The American Kennel Club lists options like providing a quiet, safe space for your dog or distracting them with a game before the loud noises start can go a long way in helping them stay calm.
If those attempts don’t work, distressed dogs might act out by hiding, whining and barking, panting and shaking, or creating a mess either by destroying furniture or losing control of their bodily fluids. It’s not fun for them or their favorite humans, but now there’s more hope on the horizon for everyone.
The US Food and Drug Administration approved a new medicine on December 4, 2018, that they claim has been shown to treat noise aversion. According to their press release, the drug is called Pexion and was evaluated on dogs who had shown previous signs of stress specifically on New Year's Eve. The dogs were given Pexion (or a placebo) twice daily in the days leading up to New Year’s festivities, then continued through the holiday. The owners then ranked their dog’s reactions based on 16 different behaviors. The results showed 66 percent of the dogs had better overall experiences with the treatment versus the 25 percent who were given a placebo.
Like other drugs that are aimed at lowering anxiety, there is a chance Pexion can lead to a lack of self-control in some dogs, which can affect their aggression levels. The medicine is only available through your veterinarian, so you’ll need to discuss any potential issues before deciding to treat your pooch. If all goes well, you and your dog might be ringing in the New Year together without any added stress!