Is Prozac effective on dogs with separation anxiety? UK dog research has established that Prozac can be effective on dogs with severe separation anxiety when the medication is coupled with therapy!
In the United Kingdom, a concerned dog owner cured her dog’s severe separation anxiety using Prozac and therapy.
The dog would become extremely distraught when Jess left the house. Their neighbors complained about her howling so Cookstarted giving Lexi Prozac.
Prozac, the trade name for fluoxetine, is usually used to treat depression, OCD, and anxiety in humans.
“Lexi would cry, scratch the door, rip things up – you name it, she did it,” Cook said.“It got to the point she’d have to be put in a crate every time I went out so I decided I had to do something about it.”
Cook heard about a study in the University of Lincoln testing the effects of an animal equivalent of Prozac on pets.
In 2013, Cook gave Lexi two tablets a day for five weeks. Lexi took them with some butter.
The pooch also underwent behavior management therapy. This taught her to cope better with being separated from her owner.The therapy helped Lexi associate being left alone with something good, such as a treat or toy.
Slowly, Cook built up the amount of time Lexi was left unattended. The combination of Prozac and therapy proved successful and now she has come off her medication.
She was miraculously cured,” Cook said. “I’m not a vet so it’s hard to say how much was the tablets and how much was the therapy.”
She also adds that she can now leave her alone with no problems whatsoever.
“Before, she’d start to panic the second I left the room. I’d always hurry home because I felt guilty about leaving her,” she said.
About the study
The researchers recruited dogs with separation anxiety – one of the most common behavioral problem owners complain about—and determined whether the dogs were feeling ‘optimistic’ or ‘pessimistic.’
Researchers put out a bowl full of food – and then moved it– and then emptied it.The dogs were assessed on whether or not they expected food to still be in the bowl after it had been moved.
At the end of the research, they found that the dogs who had been using the medicine and therapy proved to be more optimistic.
As their mood gets better, their anxiety also proved to decline.
“For quite a while, I, like many others, have been concerned as to whether the drugs simply inhibit the behavior and perhaps had no effect on the animal’s mood,” head researcher Daniel Mills, Professor of Veterinary Behavioral Medicine at the School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, said. “With the advent of new methods to assess animal welfare, we were able to answer this question and were pleased to see that, when the drug is used within normal therapeutic ranges, the dogs do indeed seem better.”
“However, it is important to emphasize that animals were treated with both the drug and a behavior modification program – with both being essential for effective treatment.”
Image source: PA Real life