Prozac for Dogs Side Effects & Alternatives
What Is Prozac for Dogs?
Prozac is an antidepressant typically used by humans to help with a wide range of health problems such as chronic pain, depression, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Prozac is actually a brand name, the generic name being “fluoxetine”. It is classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI. Currently, the medication is being used to treat behavioral issues in dogs, the drug proving to be effective with canines.
The medication works by delaying the reuptake of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a chemical known as the “happy hormone”. When a person – or dog – is happy, the body releases serotonin to amplify that emotion. What Prozac does is delay the passage of serotonin – which basically means that you can feel its effect longer in the body. Thus, the “happy” emotion lasts longer.
Dosage of Prozac for Dogs
The dosage of Prozac for dogs is widely different from the dosage prescribed to humans. While humans typically have a maintenance dosage of 20mg per day, dogs require lesser amounts. The rule is that 0.5mg to 0.9mg should be given orally per pound. Hence, bigger breeds will obviously require a larger dosage of the medicine.
Note though that you can’t just give your dog your Prozac medication outright. There should always be a go-signal from your vet before giving the medicine. Furthermore, Prozac for dogs is specifically created for small dosages – offering the pooch your own Prozac medication can lead to over dosage.
Side Effects of Prozac for Dogs
Prozac side effects in dogs are mostly gastrointestinal. This means that you might notice digestive problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, and lack of appetite. This usually appears quickly and can last up to two days. Afterward, the problem should subside and you will start to notice positive effects in your dog.
What’s interesting here is that the medication itself won’t have the desired effects quickly. Instead, you should be able to observe the calming effects within the four-week mark. This is the time when the changes in the brain will kick in, allowing your dog to become calmer and more active during playtime. If the effects of Prozac don’t kick in during this time period, then this is indicative of a need to switch to a different medication. Of course, don’t make this decision yourself! Your veterinarian will assess your dog before deciding whether a different medication would be better.
Other dog owners report hyperactivity, panting, restlessness, and aggression in their pets upon intake of this medicine. An overdose of Prozac can also lead to seizures, thereby requiring immediate medical intervention. Call your vet immediately if this occurs.
Cost of Prozac
If Prozac will be used by humans, the cost is close to $1700 for 100 capsules of 10mg each. Fortunately, using Prozac for dogs isn’t as expensive as this. Depending on the size of your dog, the medicine can cost as little as $4 a month.
Interaction with Other Drugs
If your dog is taking other medications, make sure to inform your vet about it first. They will take it into consideration before recommending Prozac. Typically, the medication is NOT recommended for dogs that already have seizure disorders, suffer from diabetes, or are pregnant/lactating.
Some medications routinely used for pets can also conflict with Prozac. These include anti-parasite drugs, anti-flea applications, and anti-mange. Specifically, you want to look for MAO inhibitors such as selegiline or amitraz. Other ingredients to watch out for include:
These four ingredients can increase the risk of side effects.
Diazepam and alprazolam when used together with Prozac, can have a stronger “kick” in dogs – which means that their dosage must be lowered.
Cyproheptadine is an appetite stimulant, and it can reverse the effect of Prozac. Acepromazine, when taken with Prozac, can increase the possibility of seizures.
If you find any of these products being administered to your dog, stop using it and inform your veterinarian right away. Better yet, make a list of the items you use for your dog, and bring them along with you when visiting the vet. This would make it easier for them to decide which products can be continued and which ones to switch out while your dog is on Prozac.
Ingredients in Prozac
Prozac typically contains: F D & C Blue No. 1, gelatin, benzyl alcohol, carboxymethylcellulose sodium, butyl paraben, iron oxide yellow, silicone, methyl paraben, sodium propionate, sodium lauryl sulfate, propyl paraben, starch, edetate calcium disodium, and titanium dioxide.
Of course, there are other medications today that can work well for dogs suffering from anxiety. If you’re unsure about the use of Prozac, following are different alternatives you may use.
You can provide your dog with other medications on the advice of the veterinarian. Possible alternatives include Lorazepam for situational anxiety, Paroxetine for generalized anxiety, and Sertraline anxiety-related behavior.
Some herbs have been found to help with anxiety. These include chamomile, Saint John’s Wort, and valerian. There are several forms of herbs that include: tea, capsules, and tincture. If you’re offering it as a tea, dosage is ¼ cup taken 1 to 3 times a day. If you’re giving a capsule however, offer 1 capsule taken 1 to 3 times a day. Tinctures are given 2 to 3 times a day with 3 drops each time. Note though that this is the dosage given to dogs no more than 20 pounds.
There are also dog-specific clothes today that create a gentle pressure on the dog’s chest to help keep them calm. Think of this as a warm hug that they constantly have with them, thereby reinforcing a sense of security.
Massaging and Brushing Your Dog
Whenever you see your dog becoming anxious, you can try offering them a relaxing massage or perhaps brushing their hair. This is extremely soothing for the dog – not to mention the fact that you’re there with them to offer comfort and support.
CBD Oil is another effective treatment for anxiety, cannabinoid having a calming effect in dogs. In a published study titled “US Veterinarian’s Knowledge, Experience, and Perception Regarding the Use of Cannabidiol for Canine Medical Conditions”, it was shown that CBD is often advised for dogs suffering from chronic pain, anxiety, and seizures. Due to misconceptions about CBD products however, veterinarians usually wait for clients to mention CBD as a treatment first. Once CBD is suggested as a possible treatment, vets will have no problem discussing its viability.
To wrap up, anxiety, depression, and other behavioral issues should not discourage you from taking good care of your dog. As with humans, there’s probably a good reason for this problem in your pet. Like with humans therefore, you can do something about this with the use of different medications such as Prozac, herbs, and CBD. Note that anxiety is a symptom in itself and therefore, best addressed by also solving the cause of the behavior issue.