Anxiety Medication for Dogs

Anxiety medication for dogs is used to help relieve emotions of fear and anxiety that’s experienced by several pets especially when they come across loneliness or sudden loud sounds. Another known cause of anxiety is called separation anxiety that’s more common in domestic dogs. Over a period of time pets grow in attachment and become overly dependent on their owners. Fear or anxiety caused due to separation from caretakers or pet owners is known as separation anxiety. Anti-anxiety medication is used to calm pets and prevent abnormal behavior.

Behavior Modification

Although anxiety medication cannot be solely relied on as a long term solution for anxiety, pet owners should use medication along with behavior training to help dogs cope with anxiety and fear. There are various symptoms of anxiety behavior in pets. Caretakers should seek medical help if pets engage in abnormal behavior.

Symptoms of Anxiety in Dogs:

  • Aggression
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Loud Barking
  • Lack of appetite


The vet will prescribe medication based on the kind of anxiety experienced. In addition to separation anxiety, some pets may also react to environmental stimuli such as thunder. The most common anxiety medications used are clomipramine, amitryptiline and fluoxetine.

Clomipramine (Anafranil)

Clomiparmine is available as Comicalm tablets that are certified safe for use on dogs. Clomicam contains the active ingredient clomipramine hydrochloride which is part of the dibenzazipine class of tricyclic antidepressants. Clomipramine works to regulate serotonin levels in the dog’s brain and treats separation anxiety and certain behavior patterns such as inappropriate urination or defecation and excessive barking.

Risks of Clomipramine Medication

  • Clomipramine shouldn’t be used on pets with a known sensitivity to the drug.
  • It shouldn’t be used in combination with any monoamine oxidase inhibitor.
  • Male breeding dogs are at risk of developing testicular hypoplasia.
  • Pet owners should also inform the vet if the dog suffers from seizures before choosing clomipramine medication.


Although amitryptiline is registered for use in humans, it’s prescribed by the vet to treat anxiety related problems and increased nervous system activity. Amitryptiline is another known tricyclic anti-depressant, which works to increase neurotransmitters in the dog’s brain. The general dosage for dogs is 0.5 to 2 mg per pound of body weight. The medication is available in tablet form and is given to pets orally. Since drug overdose is fatal, medication should be administered according to the necessary potency for the required duration of time.

Risks of Amitryptiline

  • Some pets may experience drug reaction that causes rapid heartbeat, dry mouth and sedation.
  • Amitryptiline shouldn’t be combined with drugs that are known serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
  • Dogs that are allergic to the medication should be prescribed alternative treatment.


Fluoxetine is commercially available as Prozac or Reconcile. It belongs to the class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Fluoxetine works to inhibit the uptake of serotonin in the pet’s central nervous system. Since it’s a long-acting medicine it cannot be used to promptly calm dogs during stress. Fluoxetine has several drug interactions and the benefits of using it should be examined before starting anxiety treatment. Although the effects of the drug are seen after about 15 days of treatment, it can be very beneficial to treat dogs when used alongside behavior modification techniques.

Risks of Fluoxetine

The medication may alter the blood glucose levels in certain pets. Known side effects include:

  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Lethargy
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of appetite

Side effects are more severe when prescribed with buspirone and other tricyclic anti-depressants.

Pet owners should understand that dog anxiety is not a behavior that requires punishment. Appropriate behavior modification along with prescribed medication will end anxiety, and keep pets healthy and happy.