Dog Anxiety Treatment with Paroxetine

In the past, serious behavioral problems such as dog anxiety were a sufficient reason for the euthanasia of the pet. However, in recent times veterinarians focus more on ways to change the behavior and to train the dog. Medication represents yet another way of treating dog anxiety, and Paroxetine is among the most effective drugs for this problem. This drug is primarily used for treating mood swings in humans, and even though FDA did not approve it for use in animals, many veterinarians prescribe it as an extra-label medication.

Pharmaceutical Mechanism of Paroxetine

The way Paroxetine works is rather simple. It elevates serotonin levels in the brain, fact that leads to feelings of well-being. This neurotransmitter is affecting the way brain cells communicate, so serotonin levels need to be increased in order to treat dog anxiety. Paroxetine is often compared to Prozac, which another popular drug that modifies serotonin levels.

Availability and Dosage

Paroxetine comes in tablets with a concentration of 20 mg or 30 mg. Since this is a prescription drug, the recommended dosage can only be determined by the veterinarian, after noticing the number and the severity of the symptoms. Basically, the dose used for treating dog anxiety ranges between 0.5 and 1 mg per pound, administered orally, once per day.

The duration of the treatment depends on many factors. Severity of dog anxiety influences this period. The response to the drug is yet another variable. If the veterinarian does not recommend the termination of the treatment, then the prescription needs to be completed, even if the symptoms are improved.

Precautions and Adverse Reactions

Paroxetine is available only with a prescription, so it is mandatory to visit a veterinarian in order to get it. Provided that the dosage recommended by the veterinarian is respected, the probability that the dog will experience any side effects is rather low. However, if the dog is hypersensitive or even allergic to Paroxetine, it is highly recommended to look for an alternative to this drug.

If your dog suffers from any of the following problems prior to starting the treatment, Paroxetine needs to be used with caution:

  • Blood disorders
  • Kidney disorders
  • Seizures

Seizures can also occur while following this treatment. If you notice that your dog has seizures while on Paroxetine, you need to contact a veterinarian right away. In such situations, the treatment has to be discontinued.

Besides seizures, other side effects that may be noticed include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Dry or itchy skin
  • Increased thirst
  • Lethargy
  • Poor appetite
  • Tremor
  • Vomiting

The adverse reactions have to be reported to the veterinarian as soon as they are observed.

Interactions with Other Drugs

The veterinarian can also provide you an extensive list of drugs with which Paroxetine can interact. Some of these drugs include:

  • Cimetidine
  • L-Tryptophan
  • MAO inhibitors
  • Phenytoin

In order to prevent any interactions and hazardous effects, the veterinarian has to know if the dog receives any other type of treatment before taking Paroxetine.