How Does Dog Separation Anxiety Medication Help?

Sometimes a dog has separation anxiety so severe that training goes nowhere without the use of medication. The anxiety level of some of these dogs is so high that it can literally make them feel sick-causing vomiting and diarrhea. Medications may help reduce separation anxiety and make training more effective, to better ensure a dog's safety while alone.

Medications That Treat Separation Anxiety In Dogs

For dogs with extreme cases of separation anxiety, the following medications can help:

  • Clomicalm and Reconcile-analogous to Prozac for humans-limits a dog's anxiety by reducing serotonin levels in the brain
  • Melatonin, a natural hormone, induces drowsiness, so your dog sleeps more while you are away

Use Medication to Help Train Your Dog

These medications should be initially treated as training wheels to aid cognitive behavioral training. Serotonin and melatonin are closely related in that they both have a role in natural circadian rhythm sleep cycles-serotonin is produced when the body receives sunlight and, as the sun goes down, that serotonin produces melatonin, resulting in a deep, restful sleep; lack of serotonin is related to seasonal affective disorder, and lack of melatonin is related to insomnia. You and your vet may decide that the possible results of long term medication is preferable to your dog being severely anxious and prone to injury whenever you're not home, but be sure to make every effort to find a successful training regimen.

Search for Behavioral Solutions Still Necessary

  • Provide professional obedience training, which teaches your dog discipline and control
  • Schedule quality time (on your schedule, not your dog's), which rewards your dog for accepting attention only when given, not through begging and acting out
  • Never resorting to punishment, which does little to decrease your dog's destructive compulsions, and may increase aggression

Administering Separation Anxiety Medications Safely

Side effects of separation anxiety medications for dogs may include over-sedation, vomiting and diarrhea, among others. Familiarize yourself with possible adverse affects and notify your vet immediately if they occur. Always follow the dosage schedule exactly. Never mix medications without consulting your vet first, nor give your dog Prozac or other human medications. Finally, be advised that medications prescribed for separation anxiety in dogs may take weeks to prove effective.