When a human is suffering from a health condition, they will usually go to see their doctor who will prescribe them the appropriate medication. Similarly, when a dog is ill you will take it to the vet who may well decide that medication is the best way of curing their condition, relieving their symptoms, or reducing their pain. While some medications are just the same for humans and dogs but are given in different doses, some cannot be taken by both dogs and humans. A common condition suffered by humans is stress or anxiety. One of the best-known medications that are prescribed to help people cope with stress and anxiety is Prozac. If you have a dog who suffers from stress or anxiety, you may have wondered if there is such a thing as Prozac for dogs and if it is safe for you to give your dog this drug. Here is what you need to know about dogs and Prozac.
What is Prozac?
Prozac is the brand name of a manufacturer who makes a type of drug called serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). This was originally used for humans but is now increasingly used for domestic animals. In animals, it is used to deal with anxiety, separation anxiety, and destructive behaviors that are related to anxiety.
How Does It Work?
This drug works by decreasing the amount of serotonin. In turn, this allows a dog’s neurotransmitters to linger in their brain to increase feelings of happiness. This then helps to combat feelings of anxiety and depression. In relation to anxiety, it can help them to cope better when they are separated from their owner or to suffer less anxiety as a reaction to particular sights and sounds, such as fireworks. This drug is also used for self-mutilation, some forms of aggression, compulsive behaviors, and urine marking. Without the use of medication such as Prozac, many dogs suffer from a decreased quality of life.
Things to Consider Before Giving a Dog Prozac
Before giving a dog Prozac, there are several factors that you should take into consideration. Vets warn that medication such as Prozac is not a one-stop solution. Not only can it take several weeks for the medication to begin to take effect, it is rare for the medication to be used alone. In most cases, medication is not sufficient to control anxiety completely, so they may also need to attend a behavior modification program. This may involve training or desensitization.
When your dog is taking Prozac, it is essential to build a good relationship with your vet. They will monitor your dog during the time they are taken the mediation to ensure that it is helping them and that they are not suffering from any adverse reactions. They may also need to conduct routine testing to make sure the dog does not have another underlying health condition that could be causing their symptoms.
It is also important to talk through all the different options available with your vet rather than jumping straight to medication. They can tell you about different programs and therapies available locally that could help your pet and help you decide whether to opt for these instead or to use them alongside the medication.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Like with all medications, there is always a risk of a dog experiencing side effects. Some of these are common and mild while others are rare but severe. Some of the most common side effects that dogs taking Prozac may experience include vomiting, diarrhea, skin problems, lethargy, loss of appetite, hyperactivity, aggressive behavior, irritability, panting and insomnia. The vet will monitor your dog for signs of these side effects.
Can I Give A Dog My Own Prozac?
The simple answer to this is no you cannot give your dog your own Prozac. Although it is the same drug, it is given in different doses to humans and dogs due to the size difference. Also, as someone who is not qualified in animal health and medicine, you do not know if this is the best treatment for your dog. A dog should only ever be given on the recommendation of a qualified vet in the dosage they have prescribed.