Dexmedetomidine Oromucosal Gel (Sileo®) for Dogs

Use of Sileo® in Dogs

  • Dexmedetomidine Oromucosal Gel, commonly known by the brand name Sileo®, is used in a dog with behavioral problems and anxiety related issues and specifically to noise aversion. The name is pronounced /si-lehh-o/. It’s a Latin word that means to “be silent.”
  • Common noise aversion triggers include fireworks, thunder, construction work, traffic or street noise, celebrations, vacuum cleaners, and smoke detectors.
  • Sileo® is the only FDA-approved treatment for canine noise aversion.
  • Behavioral disorders in dogs are common causes for veterinary visits and behavioral problems are also a frequent reason for euthanasia of pets, especially when unacceptable or dangerous animal behavior is involved.
  • Sileo® is a potent and selective alpha-2 adrenoceptor agonist. It binds with the alpha-2 receptors in the locus coeruleus, preventing a release of norepinephrine and reducing levels of norepinephrine. Reduced levels of norepinephrine reduce the levels of anxiety and fear.
  • The goal of Sileo® is to calm but not sedate the dog.
  • Sileo® is absorbed through the mucous membranes in the mouth.
  • Sileo® is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • This drug is approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Brand Names and Other Names of Dexmedetomidine Oromucosal Gel

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: None
  • Veterinary formulations: Sileo® (Zoetis Animal Health)

Uses of Sileo® in Dogs

  • Sileo® is used for calming in dogs specific to behavior modification of dogs. Sileo® may be used for various anxiety problems and is specifically targeted for noise phobias (such as fear of fireworks). Read more about Thunder and Fear Induced Dog Anxiety.

Precautions and Side Effects of Sileo®

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, Sileo® can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Sileo® should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to dexmedetomidine or to any of the excipients.
  • Sileo® should be used with caution in dogs with a history of severe cardiovascular disease, liver or kidney diseases, respiratory, or in conditions of shock, or severe debilitation.
  • Sileo® has not been approved for use in dogs under the age of 16 weeks or breeding, nursing, or lactating dogs.
  • Sileo® may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with Sileo®.
  • Side effects associated with Sileo® include lethargy, sedation, and vomiting.
  • Handlers should use gloves when handing Sileo® to avoid direct exposure of SILEO to their skin, eyes or mouth.
  • Overdoses of Sileo® can occur from failure to lock the ring-stop on the syringe before dosing. Overdoses should be promptly treated by your veterinarian.

How Sileo Is Supplied

Sileo is available in a preloaded in a multidose oral syringe.

Dosing Information for Sileo® in dogs

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • SILEO is formulated as a gel that is absorbed into your dog’s body when you apply it to the mucous membranes between your dog’s cheek and gums. Sileo should not be swallowed. With each dose, SILEO is absorbed into the tissues of the mouth through mucous membranes. It should not be swallowed. If your dog swallows SILEO, allow at least 2 hours before applying the next dose.

Below – we cover how to dose followed by when to dose your dog with Sileo®.

  •  A dosing chart on the box is by body weight and associated number of dots on the prefilled syringe.  Carefully follow your veterinarian’s instructions on the dosing and the information on the box.
  •  See this link to view videos on how to administer Sileo. It is important to dose this drug correctly to avoid the risk of overdose.
  • Additional dosing recommendations include:
  • A dose greater than 6 dots should be divided between both sides of the mouth to maximize absorption through the mucous membranes.
  • Avoiding food and treats 15 minutes after dosing minimizes the risk of your dog swallowing any part of the dose.
  • Ideally, this syringe should be used within two weeks.
  • Warnings:
    • Use gloves when administering.
    • Do not handle Sileo® if you are pregnant.
    • Sileo is sensitive to light so please store inside the box.
    • Call your veterinarian immediately if you accidentally overdose your dog.

The first dose can be given:

  •  Approximately 30–60 minutes before the noise event.
  •  As soon as your dog shows signs of anxiety or fear related to noise.
  •  Whenever you hear a noise that causes your dog to be fearful or anxious.
  •  If your dog swallows SILEO, allow at least 2 hours before applying the next dose.

Additional doses can be given:

  • It takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour for SILEO to take full effect, and it typically lasts 2 to 3 hours. If the noise continues and the behavioral changes recur, further doses can be given at intervals of 2 hours, up to a total of five times during each noise event, as needed.
  • Do not give another dose of SILEO if your dog appears sedated from the previous dose.
  • Do not give more than 5 doses per event.

The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. Even if your pet feels better, the entire treatment plan should be completed.

Do Dogs Die In Their Sleep? The Irreverent Vet Speaks Out

Many dog owners will one day face the sad fact that their animal companions are ill and will die soon. A large number of them express the desire to have their dog quietly and mercifully die at home “in their sleep.” This conjures up peaceful notions for pet parents of a solemn and gentle passing.

But what’s the reality? Do dogs really die peacefully in their sleep?

Before I go any further, let me introduce myself for those of you who don’t know me. I’m the Irreverent Veterinarian, and I give you my honest opinion on issues in the animal care world. Some might say that I’m honest to a fault. I speak my mind and I won’t sweet-talk you or sugarcoat the truth. I tell it like it is: to you, the drug companies, the pet product manufacturers, professional breeders, and pet owners. Some of what I say can be controversial, but that doesn’t stop me—it can be hard to hear the truth.

How Long Are Dogs Sick Before They Die?

Death isn’t always swift and graceful. Sick dogs can be ill for hours, days, or even weeks. It can vary from pet to pet, so one might succumb after only a brief illness while another will languish for much longer.

A dog that is so ill that you think it is destined to die likely has no quality of life. If a pet is doing poorly and looks like he or she is “dying,” there’s a very good chance that they are uncomfortable, in pain and unhappy. Their breath might be labored and their body may hurt. Their mind can be clouded and their temper can be short. A dog that is not eating, having trouble breathing, acting lethargic or weak, can’t stand and walk, can’t control urine or bowel movements, or is unconscious is “suffering”. If a dog can’t sleep without discomfort or difficulty, that is suffering too. All in all, they are no longer enjoying their life to any real degree.

Some pet parents have no intention of providing additional veterinary care for their dog. They want their dog to peacefully die. This happens in a number of situations. Perhaps they have limited financial resources or the pet is an injured stray they have found. Maybe they have already treated the dog and it either hasn’t responded to therapy or has a terminal condition. However it happens, these animals often end up in prolonged discomfort or pain because of their owners.

Should You Wait for Your Dog to Die in His or Her Sleep?

If a dog is suffering, “dying naturally” can take a very long time and it can be very painful. Many owners say that they want to give their pet “time to say goodbye” but in the opinion of most veterinarians, you are a kinder friend to your dog by euthanizing and ending their life. An extra few hours or days of suffering isn’t any reasonable quality of life for the dog. It is good only for the humans who are prolonging the dog’s pain for their own needs.

The Conclusion

The expectation that your dog will “die in their sleep” can happen, but it is generally uncommon. It is more likely that a dog dies because they aren’t eating and they get progressive dehydration, which is uncomfortable and painful. It is nice to want your dog to die at home but please consider euthanasia if it is at all likely. You have the power to put a peaceful end to your pet’s suffering; doing so may be your last act of love for them.

Disclaimer **The Irreverent Vet is a columnist that regularly contributes to The goal is to add a balanced and alternative view of some controversial pet issues. As happens with all of us, veterinarians can’t say what they really think without offending some clients. This commentary allows vets to say what they think and give you, the pet owner, the opportunity to consider another view. All opinions are those of the Irreverent Vet and not the views of and are not endorsed by**

Related Articles and Other Articles by the Irreverent Vet

Cat in heat?

Surviving your cat’s mating season can be trying. Felines that have not been spayed go into heat several times a year. A queen, the term for a cat in her reproductive years, may go into heat every three weeks or so. She’s not very secretive about it. The behavior of a cat in heat is often irritating to humans. You’ll have to be patient while waiting out the week of her hormonal cycle. If you’re not into cat breeding, you’ll also have to keep your feline indoors to prevent her from getting pregnant.

The Feline Reproductive Cycle

We don’t learn a lot about the feline reproductive cycle in health class. Therefore, you may be caught off guard if you don’t spay your kitten before she enters her first heat cycle. According to Revival Animal Health, most cats go through puberty when they are five to nine months old. However, heat cycles correspond with seasonal signals. Cats normally go into heat when the weather is warmer and the days are longer. From September to January, a feline’s ovaries tend to be inactive. When early spring hits, cats start their heat cycles. An intact cat that stays indoors could go into heat throughout the year if she is exposed to long hours of artificial light.

Before your pet reaches the stage in which she can become pregnant, her ovaries start to become active. This is called the proestrus period and lasts from one to four days. This stage is followed by the estrus period, during which your cat can get pregnant. Unlike humans, cats don’t ovulate unless they engage in sexual activity. A cat that doesn’t ovulate will continue to cycle through reproductive periods every two or three weeks. If she does copulate with a male, she will ovulate and increase her chances of getting pregnant.

Signs That Your Cat Is In Heat

Before your cat goes into heat, she will rub her rear against just about anything: people, furniture, and walls are favorites. Even if your cat is a neat freak that licks herself frequently, you’ll start to notice that her grooming behavior changes when she is in heat. She’ll begin to clean her genital area excessively. Then, she’ll start to send out a mating call. The meowing is loud and incessant. It might even sound like your queen is in pain. She’s not. This is normal hormonal behavior.

Some cats mark their territory by spraying a strong-smelling urine on vertical surfaces. She’ll back up, raise her tail, and spray a jet of liquid onto your walls. You can’t stop her from doing this, but you can prevent it from causing odors with some easy steps. Wash the area right away with an enzymatic cleaner, which breaks down the urine. Spraying a deodorizing disinfectant on the area may prevent your feline from marking the same area again. If your cat has sprayed on soft material, clean it with a fabric-safe solution. If you can, dry it in the sun to eliminate residual odors.

Helping Your Cat Stay Calm

Queens can make aggressive-sounding noises if they spot a male cat out the window. While your cat is in heat, you may want to restrict her view of the outside world. Tomcats can smell a cat in heat from several blocks to a mile away. Don’t be surprised if your kitty has a line of willing suitors waiting outside. You’ll need to be extra vigilant about preventing her from sneaking out an open door or window if you’re not planning to breed her.

A cat will be extra clingy during her cycle. She might follow you around, rubbing on your legs and demanding a back rub. Pet her on her lower back, near her tail. She’ll respond by holding her tail to the side, exposing her genital area. She may also roll around on the floor or crawl with her chest on the floor and rear raised high. This is normal.

Play with your cat, and give her plenty of attention during this time. Using her favorite toy to get her to run around the house can exhaust her so that she doesn’t yowl throughout the night. Lots of petting and kitty massage can help her settle down. Brushing her can help her relax and stimulate the spot at the base of the tail that needs some attention.

Should You Spay Your Cat?

If you are planning to breed your cat, it helps to know the animal’s history. Did she come from a line of healthy animals? Are you familiar with the male cat’s background? It is important to understand whether the cats’ mothers had easy births. Sometimes, breeding is not a good idea. This is especially true if one of the animals’ mothers had a difficult time in pregnancy or labor.

Tips on Housetraining and Dealing with Accidents

Tips on Housetraining and Dealing with Accidents

I’d like to talk to you about housetraining and dealing with “accidents”. Even adult dogs have accidents. How do you deal with them? What are some tips for housetraining?

I know that housetraining can be difficult. I hear stories all the time from puppy (and dog) owners that are dealing with frustrating housetraining issues. There are several very important things to know about housetraining and cleaning up accidents and I’m going to share what I believe are the 3 most important.

1. First, you need to understand what is “normal” for a puppy at a certain age. As a general rule, the length of time that a puppy can wait to urinate is related to its physical age. A good rule of thumb would be one hour for each month of age, give or take an hour. For example, your 3-month old puppy might easily resist urination for three to four hours and should be fine in the crate for that short time. 

2. Second, based on those physical limitations, develop a schedule. At a minimum, your puppy needs to go out at the specific intervals mentioned above. Develop a schedule. Set your alarm clock. Figure out who is going to take the puppy out when. Be consistent and develop a routine. Reward your puppy with praise each time he or she successfully goes when taken out. Remember, if you have a four-month old pup, you need to be taking him or her out at least every five hours to avoid accidents. 

3. Lastly, know how to clean up accidents. If and when your puppy does have an accident in the house, you should know how to properly clean it up. It is important to completely remove all traces of odors. Dogs are reported to have approximately 40 times more smell-sensing cells in their nasal passages than we do. To that end, they can often smell odors we can’t. They will sniff out where they have gone before, recognize it as a place to go, and repeat their “accidents”. 
Eliminating all urine odor is extremely important! One product that works really well for that is Zero Odor. It attacks the odor molecule and neutralizes it. I’ve tried just about every product on the market and have had the best luck with this one. 

I’ve used this product on dog urine, dog vomit, diarrhea and cat urine (which is the worst in my opinion), and it has really worked. For a special offer on Zero Odor, go to Zero Odor offer. 

One more tip … If it’s necessary to leave your puppy for any length of time, your puppy shouldn’t be crated. Instead, consider the use of a baby gate to confine her to a slightly larger area, such as the kitchen or laundry room. This will still allow her to maintain a natural cleanliness because she can eat and sleep away from the areas where she has soiled. 

To simplify cleanup and train your new pup to urinate and defecate on a specific surface, place newspapers in the previously soiled area. The use of newspapers, so-called paper training, can be avoided altogether if you can take your puppy outdoors frequently.

I hope this information helps you deal with house training and the subsequent odors. 

Learn CPR with This Video – It Could Save Your Dog’s Life


Learn CPR with This Video – It Could Save Your Dog’s Life.

The first few minutes after an emergency are the most crucial. In just a short period of time, you can do something that could save your dog’s life. It’s important to act fast when the time arises, and that’s why today I want to help you learn a very important skill – CPR for dogs.

CPR is an emergency technique used to help pets whose heart or breathing has stopped. In a crisis, properly performing CPR on your dog could mean the difference between life and death. Please take a minute and watch the video below; it could help save your dog.

Learn CPR and Save Your Dog

Remember, there is no substitute for proper veterinary care.

I hope you never need to use this technique but if you do, follow up with your vet as soon as possible afterward.

My cat was recently spayed but the male cats still want to mate with her


Our question this week was:

I had my cat fixed in January 2008. Just this week the male cats started coming around again. They want to mate with her and she doesn’t seem to mind. Is this normal? Is there something else wrong? Please help.


Michele Janecka


Hi Michele – thanks for your email. You wrote that you had your female cat spayed about a month ago and male cats are interested in mating.

This can be normal. It can take a while (sometimes 4 to 6 weeks) for the hormones to leave her system. Males may still be interested in her but this should dissipate with time. Fortunately, they can not breed her is she is spayed. I don’t know your situation – but if possible, it might be worth keeping her inside where the males leave her alone for another month or so.

An article that might be helpful to you is Cats and Mating.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

To read most recent questions Click here!

Click here to see the full list of Ask Dr. Debra Questions and Answers!


Important Questions You Should Ask Your Vet

When you go to your veterinarian for a check-up, problem or vaccines, there are some critical questions that you should ask. In fact, we spoke with several veterinarians and asked them what questions they believe dog owners need to ask.

We came up with 15 questions. These are things that we believe you should know about your dog and the best person to ask is your veterinarian.

So I suggest you take a look at this article and print it and keep it handy for the next time you go to your veterinarian. Go to: Questions You Should Ask Your Dog’s Vet

Always keep a close eye on your dog. When you look at your dog, don’t just think about how cute he is, but notice if he is alert, if his eyes are bright and shiny, if he is eating and drinking well, and watch for normal urinations and bowel movements. Please see your veterinarian if you notice any abnormalities.

Home Care for Vomiting – What You Must Know

Most pets will vomit occasionally. It happens. When it does, many pet owners will call to ask a local veterinarian for advice rather than bring their dog in to the clinic to be seen. I understand why people do this, but vets can’t really give you advice without having a client-patient relationship.

Every pet parent should know how to care for a vomiting pet, so I’d like you to read this article. Home Care for the Vomiting Dog.

There are many great tips in this article. It is the type of advice you would get if you were to call a vet and ask for advice. I recommend that you print this information and keep it handy. You never know when you will need it.

Go to:

If your dog gets sick and you are worried – please contact your veterinarian.

3 Medications You Should Never Give Your Dog

Pets are a lot like kids. They depend on you for their safety – and you can never be too careful. Your most important job as a pet parent is to keep your pet healthy. So today, I want to give you some information about toxic medications that could potentially save your dog’s life.

Just because a medication is safe for humans DOESN’T mean it’s safe for dogs. I’ve seen cases where pet parents with the best intentions accidentally poisoned their dog with common over-the-counter medications because they didn’t understand the dangers. That’s why you should NEVER give your dog medication without first checking with your veterinarian.

Here are 3 common over-the-counter medications that you should NEVER give to your dog:

1. Aspirin – Aspirin interferes with platelets (which help the blood to clot). So if your dog has a wound or laceration, aspirin would make it harder to stop the bleeding. Aspirin is especially dangerous when mixed with other drugs, like steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Dogs may experience gastrointestinal problems, respiratory difficulties, neurological problems, bleeding disorders and kidney failure.

2. Ibuprofen – This over-the-counter medication is a popular way to treat pain and inflammation in people – but for dogs, ibuprofen can easily exceed toxic levels. Well-intentioned owners may give their dog what they consider to be a “safe dose” – but it can easily lead to bleeding stomach ulcers and eventually kidney failure. And, if left untreated, this can be fatal. Symptoms include poor appetite, vomiting, black tarry stools, vomiting blood, abdominal pain, weakness and lethargy.

3. Acetaminophen – Medicating your dog with acetaminophen without consulting a veterinarian is dangerous. (Pets also consume tablets that are dropped on the floor or left around the house.) Dogs are less sensitive to acetaminophen than cats are. For example, a 50-pound dog would need to ingest more than seven 500 mg tablets to suffer toxic effects. For a cat, one 250 mg acetaminophen tablet could be fatal. If you suspect that your dog has ingested a toxic amount of acetaminophen (one pill or more), contact your family veterinarian or local veterinary emergency facility immediately. Common brands of acetaminophen include Tylenol®, Percocet® and aspirin-free Excedrin® among others.

So remember to keep all medications out of your dog’s reach and NEVER give your dog any medication without first consulting your veterinarian. If you ever suspect that your dog has ingested any of these medications (in any amount), please contact your family veterinarian or local veterinary emergency facility immediately.

I hope this helps keep your dog safe from common medications that can be dangerous.

Is Your Dog Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

How smart is your dog? Have you ever wondered?

Today I’d like to talk about canine intelligence. Sure, dogs are smart … but how smart are they?

As you may know, not all dogs are created equal. According to a recent report in Miller-McCune magazine, evidence shows that some dogs are smarter than others. But even the average dog is as smart as a 2-year-old child, with the ability to comprehend more than 150 words. He is smart enough to count to five AND smart enough to consciously deceive his loving owner!


So which breeds are the smartest? We have a great article that lists the 7 smartest breeds.

As for #1, I’m a believer. But as much as I love them, I’m not so sure about #4. Check out the list. Go to

If you’d like to know how smart YOUR dog is, find out. Just go to: 5 Tests to Tell Your Dog’s IQ. Go to: 5 Tests to Tell Your Dog’s IQ.

By the way, a dog’s name often has a lot to say about the dog. We’ve written some fun articles about dog names that you might enjoy.

To find a great name for a smart dog, go to: great names for smart dogs. Or, if your dog is not so smart, go to: great names for dumb dogs (I mean that in the nicest way!)