Prozac for Dogs Side Effects & Alternatives
What Is Prozac for Dogs?
Prozac is typically regarded as a medication for humans suffering from behavioral problems such as anxiety and depression. Surprisingly enough, Prozac for dogs are also equally effective in addressing the same problems, as well as a few others. Prozac is often suggested by veterinarians to help with anxiety and the symptoms associated with anxiety.
Prozac works by extending the effect of serotonin. You know this as the “happy hormone” which is released by the human body to bring about that feeling of joy. The same chemical is released in dogs when they’re happy. With the use of Prozac, the effectiveness of serotonin is prolonged – which helps limit the occurrences of anxiety and depression.
Typically, Prozac is utilized for dogs who show signs of separation anxiety, generalized anxiety, thunderstorm or fireworks phobia, people phobia, urine marking, compulsive disorder, and aggression. One thing to keep in mind though: it’s not something that’s prescribed unilaterally. This means that if your veterinarian recommends Prozac for dogs, this is accompanied by other behavioral remedies on your part. For example, you might be told to keep the pooch away from loud noises to limit the trigger of anxiety.
Dosage of Prozac for Dogs
There are no Prozac medications specifically made for dogs. Instead, the veterinarian will advise you to purchase Prozac for humans and administer it in dosages that is safe for your dog. This is important because dosage depends on weight. While humans may be told to take as little as 10mg three times a day, dogs will require around 0.5mg to 0.9mg per pound every day. Note though that this doesn’t mean you can decide on the proper dosage without consulting the veterinarian. Aside from the dosage size, there are numerous other considerations to keep in mind when administering Prozac to your dog.
Unfortunately, Prozac comes in 10mg or 20mg tablets – which means that you’ll have to be a bit more creative when giving it to the dog. You might need to smash it or dissolve it in water before giving, depending on which one would be most effective to suit your needs.
Side Effects of Prozac for Dogs
Prozac usually takes effect within 4 weeks of use. Hence, if you’re aiming to reduce anxiety symptoms in your dog, don’t expect to see positive results within the first few days. It takes time for the chemical changes in the brain to happen. After 4 weeks and none of the desired effect occurs, you can go back to your vet and have the dosage or the medicine changed.
The only exception here is if you notice side effects before the 4 weeks are up. What are these? Typically, the dog will experience: vomiting, hyperactivity, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Your vet will tell you that these are normal side effects and will disappear in around 2 or 3 days of use. If the side effects persist however, it’s time to bring your pet back to the veterinarian even if the 4 weeks isn’t over yet. Seizures and muscle tremors are also side effects that require immediate visit to the vet.
Cost of Prozac
Prozac isn’t costly at all. When factored in the small dosage sizes, you’d find yourself spending as little as $4 a month for the medication. For 100 tablets of 10mg Prozac, you’d likely spend close to $1700, which means that each tablet approximately costs around $17. Of course, since you’ll only be using a small amount per day, you’ll have no problem adding this medication to your budget.
Interaction with Other Drugs
Intake of Prozac should be closely watched by dog owners, especially since there are no tablets specifically created for dogs. Hence, you’ll need to do some rapid estimation each time you administer the suggested dosage. Obviously, the first thing you have to be mindful about would be over-dosage.
If your dog suffers from other health problems – such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, and seizures – then you’ll want to avoid using Prozac. The medication not only aggravates these problems, but could interact with the drugs your pooch is already taking for them. Pregnant dogs or those currently nursing puppies should also avoid the drug.
Specific medications that can interfere with Prozac include but are not limited to the following:
These medications have the likelihood of cancelling out the positive effects of Prozac, worsening the anxiety, or perhaps even triggering other side effects such as seizure. One thing to note is that these aren’t all found in drugs or medications. It is strongly suggested that you take a good look at your dogs’ flea and tick medications because some ingredients in there will interfere with Prozac.
Ingredients in Prozac
Prozac will contain the following: F D & C Blue No. 1, butyl paraben, sodium lauryl sulfate, iron oxide yellow, methyl paraben, gelatin, benzyl alcohol, propyl paraben, silicone, sodium propionate, starch, edetate calcium disodium, carboxymethylcellulose sodium, and titanium dioxide. If your dog is allergic to any of those, you might want to consider switching to a different medication.
There are actually several alternatives for Prozac, depending on the exact health problems you’re trying to address. Now, there are two kinds of alternatives: drugs and natural remedies. Here are some of the options you have:
Noise Cancelling Headphones
If your dog is mainly anxious because of loud noises, you can also try using headphones to prevent anxiety. Dogs have a remarkably sensitive sense of hearing.
You can find that some clothes can actually help dogs feel comfortable whenever they’re anxious. These clothes create a gentle pressure on the chest area of the dog, thereby providing that warm “hug” feeling even if you’re not there. If your dog has separation anxiety, this might be a good and natural idea to use.
Your vet may also recommend the following as alternatives: lorazepam, sertraline, and paroxetine.
Hemp has gotten some bad reputation in the previous years, but recent studies have shown that it has numerous medical benefits when used correctly. For one thing, hemp is currently an accepted treatment for chronic pain in humans. In dogs, it has the same positive effect – while at the same time reducing aggression and anxiety. In fact, a study conducted on veterinarians show that Hemp, as a source of CBD oil – is often suggested to help treat chronic pain and anxiety. It is available in different kinds and can be conveniently added to the dog’s food or drinking water.
Anxiety in dogs is something every owner should address as soon as possible – otherwise you might have a hard time controlling the problem. However, if you’re a bit discouraged by the many limitations and side effects of using Prozac for pain management and behavioral issues, you always have the option of choosing natural methods.