Treating Canine Behavior Issues With Prozac for Dogs

As more people accept dogs as a member of their families, they are more willing to seek medical treatments for emotional issues, prozac for dogs. The medical community is meeting these changes by seeking FDA approval on modications to drugs that work on emotional issues in humans.

Benefits of Prozac for Dogs

A reformulated version of Prozac, generally known as fluoxetine, is now being marketed as Reconcile, a chewable form flavored like a dog treat. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after demonstrating effectiveness against separation anxiety, which causes dogs to panic when their owners leave. However, this isn't a new development in treating dog behavior. Veterinarians have been using human prozac at lowered doses for years to treat various behavior problems, such as aggression caused by fear or anxiety.

Though there are no statistics on the use of anti-anxiety medications for dogs, many owners report significant reduction in aggression or anxiety once using the drug. Some dogs may need to stay on these medications for the rest of their lives to maintain the new behavior, and for others, it's a temporary fix.

Side Effects

However, Prozac is not the answer for all dogs. Some dogs' symptoms worsen on medication as they become more anxious or aggressive. Other side effects include lethargy, panting, hyperactivity, shaking, restlessness, excessive vocalization, temporary lack of appetite and gastrointestinal upset. In rare cases, it may cause seizures.

If keeping your dog on Prozac for an extended period of time, have liver enzymes checked annually, as with most long-term medications. Prozac can have negative effects if used in conjunction with other drugs, such as diazepam, phenylbutazone, digoxin or busiprone.

Behavior Modification

Medication should never be used alone as the solution for a behavior problem. Medication such as Prozac should be used in conjunction with a behavior modification program that gets to the root of the problem. Medication should not be used to calm a dog who simply needs more exercise.

If increased exercise and behavior modification proves ineffective after an honest effort, medication may provide a window for training. Once the medication takes effect, your dog should calm down enough to start treating the actual problem, whether it is fear or separation anxiety.

When dogs are anxious, they reach a point where they can't learn new skills. Medication reduces the anxiety enough to teach the skills that will help your dog deal with the problem once the medication is reduced, and possibly eliminated altogether. Since Prozac doesn't cause memory loss in dogs, your dog will remember these skills even after drug therapy is completed. Most of the time, these skills translate.

With the introduction of Reconcile, drug therapy for behavior issues has become more accessible and affordable for many owners. However, it's important to remember that no drug should be introduced without veterinary supervision and only after all other training options have been considered.