If your dog is misbehaving out of character, acting “unusual” or “oddly,” and absolutely nothing you need to do seems to remedy it. There may be something more severe going on. Often, underlying issues go overlooked or get related to animal instinct, or even breed.
But as sentient beings, dogs have mental distress too, and often all of your love and caring, sadly, isn't enough; they need some extra help.
Obsessive behaviors because of separation anxiety, sensitivity to loud noises, astraphobia (heavy anxiety about thunder and lightning), and the like, with time, will begin to wear on your dog's all around health and can ruin home life balance. Some experts believe the solution lies with monitored doses of the antidepressant Prozac (Fluoxetine).
Yes, Prozac can treat behavioral issues inside your dog possibly based on abuse, neglect, or having experienced harsher times prior to the sanctuary of you came into their life. It is the same drug provided to humans. Only in smaller doses, along with other psychotropic meds such as Zoloft or Lexapro that, through the years, has successfully treated several anxiety disorders in dogs.
The FDA has approved a type of Fluoxetine for dogs called Reconcile, marketed like a stress and anxiety treatment that comes inside a tasty chewable tab!
It can also be worth noting that Fluoxetine isn't a cure-all quick fix, nor does it work overnight, or fix everything your pet does that may annoy you (jumping up on things, grabbing stuff off tables and counters, etc.).
There are benefits and drawbacks to this drug, possible negative effects, and it is essential to understand what the medication is and treats. Thus, it is essential to understand what you're engaging in, as well as to (correctly) diagnose before the one you love four-legged pal starts a regimen.
What is Fluoxetine, and just how Does it Work?
Fluoxetine belongs to an organization or type of meds referred to as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Over the last many years, the drug has shown promise for dogs with psychiatric or neurological disorders.
By altering how your dog's brain reacts to particular stimuli by blocking the body's reuptake of serotonin in what is called a monoamine neurotransmitter, it helps ease your dog's anxiety and lower the likelihood of related destructive behaviors. The monoaminergic systems are part of regulating emotions, arousal, and kinds of memories (PTSD); moreover, drugs like Fluoxetine can decrease or increase the effects of these neurotransmitters and assistance to balance mood with psychiatric and neurological disorders, severe anxiety, depression, etc.
In controlling serotonin levels connected to mood stabilization and feelings of overall nirvana, it can help combat depression and anxiety, allowing your dog to go back to just as being a dog and doing dog things sans oppressive anxiety.
Why is Fluoxetine Prescribed?
It is comparatively cheap around $4 – $18 for a 30-day supply. A vet often prescribes it for severe separation anxiety, destructive behavior your little buddy expresses when you are away.
While separation anxiety is truly the root cause of symptoms like constant urine marking or compulsive disorders, the drug also may treat:
- Fear of strangers
- General anxiety
- Astraphobia (anxiety about thunderstorms)
- Obsessive-compulsive behaviors
How is Fluoxetine Administered?
Fluoxetine is taken orally and comes as a capsule, tablet, or liquid. You are able to feed your dog before or after the medication; however, in case your dog gets sick because of a clear tummy, give further doses at mealtime or with a treat.
During treatment, eating Tyramine-rich foods for example aged cheeses (this especially), chicken liver, meat extract, avocados, beef, milk, or bananas is ill-advised as they possibly can result in a dangerous and sudden rise in blood pressure level when mixed with Fluoxetine.
- It is important to measure liquid medicine carefully
- Flea and tick collar use may interact negatively with this particular drug
- Never stop this medication suddenly without talking to your vet
Before using the antidepressant step together with your furry pal, speak with your trusted vet, ask questions, and make your confidence in their decisions.
Again, Fluoxetine isn't a cure-all for doggy issues. The medication takes time, weeks before effects show (it is important to remember this while you watch for signs of improvement). Lab tests might help in determining how the medicine is working too.
Also, your dog will probably need additional therapy and support aside from the meds. Talk to your veterinarian by what choices are out there, what training or behavioral modification programs might work best for your dog's specific condition.
“Prozac usually produces improvement, but sometimes the improvement is not everything is desired. In that position, augmentation strategies with other compatible medications can achieve the desired effect. Having said that, with time and the correct dose, the advance can be spectacular.” (Tufts Professor Emeritus Nicholas Dodman, Prozac for dogs: The professionals, cons, negative effects).
Pros of Fluoxetine?
When accurately diagnosed and medicated, there are lots of positive advantages to treating your dog with Fluoxetine. It relieves the strain and anxiety about stress and anxiety, lowers aggression, provides a mood stabilizer, decreasing impulsivity.
It treats the seemingly nonsensical OCD behaviors too, that might include:
“Light or shadow-chasing, tail-chasing, rock-chewing, compulsive digging as well as compulsive swimming. And there are others. They all are species-typical behaviors which are performed excessively and from context.” (Nicholas Dodman, Prozac for dogs: The professionals, cons, negative effects).
Cons of Fluoxetine?
One of the very most frustrating things you might find about starting your dog around the drugs is when long it takes to operate (as much as six weeks!). Also, it is good to acknowledge how there is a stigma associated with giving your dog antidepressants for a mental health condition like “crazy dog”.
In contrast, others might think it is wrong to treat a canine with human brain medication. Still, it may be something that improves your canine's life, so it's crucial to view it thoroughly and its history of successes.
It is also known to be considered a lot safer than other meds prescribed and brought without issue. Although, overdose is possible and dogs could possibly get Serotonin Syndrome. However, this can be avoided by using best practices and by closely monitoring your dog along with a veterinarian.
- Lessened appetite or weight loss
- The shakes
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Restlessness, panting, excess saliva
If your dog includes a history of seizures, is already taking Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), is affected with diabetes, is pregnant or lactating, has liver disease, don't use Fluoxetine. Please discuss alternatives with your vet.
Possible more severe negative effects may include:
- Heavy or regular vomiting
Steps to Take Before Using Fluoxetine?
Doggy psychotropic meds are a problem, so before dosing the one you love, get to know the vet until you feel comfortable. Then, discuss the possibility of using doggy Prozac and all sorts of that may entail. It is a big decision, and there are lots of factors to review.
And even though it is important to remember the medication may take up to 6 weeks to operate, it might mean the main difference between systematic misery or a healthy, happy, active life for your dog.
Depending on how long your furry pal has been suffering, years, months will most likely be the amount of time of therapy. Never medicate your dog without a veterinarian's diagnosis and guidance, and request a referral for a dog behaviorist together.
Fluoxetine might not be the right solution for each dog's issues, if your dog goes through rough times and nothing seems to help, it might turn out to be a saving grace.
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