Using sedation for noise phobia - alpraz
Using Tranquilization for Pets with Noise Phobia - “Alpraz”
is defined as an excessive and unreasonable fear response to specific loud noises.
This is more common in canines than felines. In dogs, the most common noise phobias are to fireworks and thunder. Less common are fear responses to trucks or motorcycles. One dog was even reported to be fearful of quacking migrating ducks.
If the phobia is predictable – like the fireworks on the Fourth of July – then the simplest solution is to medicate the pet for a few hours on days when fireworks are expected. Drugs like Prozac are not helpful because they need to be administered for 1-3 weeks before they begin to work.
For short-term tranquilization, the options are Acepromazine (a sedative) or Alprazolam, a
medication less powerful, but more specific for fear. Some severely fearful pets may need both!
Some dogs respond by getting hyper-excitable. This will simply wear off, but don’t
continue the medication. At high doses, the dog becomes sleepy. Then don’t give additional doses.
Give medicine as least 1 hour before desired effect.
Size of tablet
Depending on the intensity of the fear, it may be necessary to double the dose in some cases. Wait 1-2 hour after
giving the medication to see what you get, before giving more. This medication is not a sedative, so you do not see
a droopy, sleepy dog. Ideally, the pet is simply much LESS fearful, but it probably won’t completely stop it.
A non-drug behavior modification strategy is to act happy and give a tiny food treat each time a firecracker goes
off. If your dog has a mild noise phobia, this alone might make the difference. In a moderate or severe phobia, it
may be necessary to add a pheromone collar (search online for “D.A.P. or “Comfort Zone” 4 week collar), or even
a sedative like Acepromazine, in addition to the anti-fear medication Alprazolam. State laws require the pet has to
have been examined within 12 months to receive this drug. Onset:
It usually takes 1-2 hours after you give the drug, to see its effect. Peak effect is at about 3 hours after
administration. Giving it with some food is a good idea, but not required. However, if the dog is already scared,
the digestive process is slowed, so it may take 4 hours or longer to see effects. Therefore, “give it before you need
it” which is ideally about 1-2 hours before any fireworks.
The drug can be repeated as needed (usually 6-12 hrs), but not within 2 hours, because you can’t see
what you already will get.
Other Behavior Issues:
If your pet has behavior issues in addition to noise phobia, such as separation anxiety,
aggression, housesoiling, or destruction, we now offer behavior consultations ($120) to handle and resolve these
concerns. The first step is a phone consultation evaluation of the behavioral history.
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