It’s interesting to think that dogs can have feelings that mimic those found in humans. Without verbally communicating, they can tell us how they feel through their actions. When they’re feeling happy, excited, sad, or stressed, your dog most likely shows characteristics that echoes how he is feeling. He may vigorously wag his tail, run in circles, or maybe look up at you with sad eyes.
But when your dog is feeling anxious, would you be able to tell? Feelings of anxiety in dogs could result in a lack of appetite, lethargy, or possibly, uncommon behavioral problems. Fortunately, when your dog is feeling anxious, there are ways anxiety can be treated. In some cases, prescription medication, such as Prozac, may be recommended.
What is Prozac for Dogs?
Prozac is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) already commonly used among people to treat depression and anxiety disorders. More recently, it has been used to treat these same types of conditions in dogs as well. Just like when prescribed for humans, Prozac for dogs is only available through a prescription. And it should never be administered without the guidance of a veterinarian.
Every dog responds differently to medication and Prozac comes with its own list of dangerous side effects to watch out for when first introducing it to your pet. Common side effects of Prozac include: vomiting, loss of appetite, (uncommonly) aggressive behavior, seizures, itching, and/or diarrhea in dogs. It may also cause damage to the liver and insomnia in your pet.
It’s important to pay attention to how your pet is reacting to Prozac. He might instantly respond negatively or certain side effects may develop over time. If you have questions about continuing use, always consult with your veterinarian first. While Prozac may help treat anxiety for some dogs, it may not always be the number one solution for yours.
How to Avoid Prozac Side Effects in Dogs
Does your dog have a history of liver problems? Does he have a finicky appetite? These kind of conditions may make it more difficult to identify the side effects of Prozac because he may already be suffering similar symptoms. If you see that his current symptoms are becoming aggravated or increasing in any way, it may be time to consider alternative options for dog anxiety.
While you cannot fully avoid side effects, since your dog’s reaction may be unpredictable, you can help avoid any unexpected results by following the guidelines of care as outlined by the veterinarian. Make sure you are administering the correct dosages at the right time intervals. Don’t skip or exceed the amount that has been prescribed for your dog. It can be disruptive to his system and harmful overall. If you feel the current, prescribed dosage isn’t working, speak with your veterinarian about changing the prescription amount. Detail the reactions (or non-reactions) you’re seeing in your pet and talk through other possible solutions.
Prozac for Anxiety in Dogs
Just like humans, dogs each have their own temperament and unique personalities. Some dogs are more rambunctious than others. There are dogs that prefer spending time around others, while others prefer their alone time. For some dogs, being home alone for several hours a day doesn’t bother them. Then, there are dogs who experience separation anxiety when apart from their owners for any stretch of time.
When dogs experience separation anxiety or other anxiety-related disorders, it’s not uncommon for them to act out. They may bark constantly, have urinating accidents in the house, or show their anxiety in other ways, like tearing up household items or chewing on the furniture. At first, these actions may seem like ones of a misbehaved pet, but there may be deeper issues leading to these actions.
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety and your lifestyle doesn’t allow you to be home throughout the day, Prozac may be prescribed by your veterinarian to help alleviate the problem. It helps to slow down the metabolism of serotonin in your dog’s brain. Serotonin helps to regulate feelings of anxiety and promote feelings of happiness. When it’s able to stick around longer, it can help your dog feel less anxious.
Depending on your dog’s health history and environment, Prozac may be prescribed for daily use as treatment for separation anxiety. Or, it can be prescribed to use as needed when you are going out of town, traveling, or leaving your dog at a kennel.
Alternative Types of Treatment for Dogs
The first thing to do if you suspect your dog is feeling bouts of anxiety is to speak with your veterinarian. He or she can do a thorough checkup of your pet and diagnose the problem; then, decide if your dog is a good candidate for Prozac or any other anti-anxiety treatments. However, even if diagnosed with separation anxiety, there are possible alternative methods of treatment if you don’t want to start with medication.
Many pet owners prefer to start with a more natural solution for dog anxiety first and focus on the wellness aspects of their pet’s life. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations to introduce your dog to changes that will help improve his health and make him feel better overall. Therapeutic treatments like massage and acupuncture are two types of remedies that are being used more often on pets. They elicit the same type of wellness and relaxation benefits as they do for people and can help as an alternative route of care or a complementary one.
A switch in your dog’s diet and exercise routine may also be one of the first steps to help with your dog’s anxiety. This may involve an elimination diet to understand which foods sit best with your dog. It could also be an opportunity to introduce hemp products, which are all-natural, and have been known to aid in relief for several symptoms and ailments, including anxiety disorders and phobias in dogs.
Make sure you discuss possible changes to your dog’s treatment with your veterinarian first. The two of you can go over a plan together and schedule check-ins to ensure that you are on the right track to do what’s best for your dog’s health. Again, it could be as simple as starting a routine for your pup. If he’s newer to your family or getting used to a new home, their anxiety may subside over time. If the problem persists, that’s when other therapies may need to come into play.
FAQs about Prozac for Dogs
Is a prescription for Prozac transferrable between dogs and humans?