Behavioral modification for anxiety typically involves teaching dogs to remain calm when they are exposed to mild versions of their triggers, rewarding them, and gradually increasing the intensity of their exposure as long as they remain calm. Behavior-altering drugs can help dogs with phobias or anxiety disorders — but you have to learn which ones work best in each case. Advertisment ad adsense adlogger. Exercise caution when using clonidine in patients with existing cardiac disease. Through its activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, norepinephrine is associated with fear-based responses such as increased vigilance and arousal. Dodman feels it is safe to combine most behavior medications, and some even enhance the effect of others e. Anti Anxiety Music for Dogs - Cure Separation Anxiety with Dog Music!
Recurrent seizures are often classified as epilepsy fits. While there are numerous causes of convulsions, treatments that control epileptic seizures are relatively limited. Clonazepam is an infrequently used anticonvulsant. Clonazepam belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. Related drugs include midazolam, diazepam, clorazepate and alprazolam. Clonazepam and these other related drugs exert their anticonvulsant effects by attaching to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain. Clonazepam is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
It is also a controlled substance. Clonazepam is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration FDA but may be legally prescribed by veterinarians as an extra-label drug. None Uses of Clonazepam for Dogs and Cats Clonazepam is used to manage various types of seizures in human medicine and may be effective for this purpose in domestic animals, too. A further veterinary application is for the treatment of anxiety and panic-type disorders in dogs and cats.
Specific uses include treatment of thunderstorm phobia and other phobias, separation anxiety, and other situational fears, such as car travel or veterinary office visits. Like other benzodiazepines, clonazepam has muscle relaxant properties and may be used for this purpose. It is also used as an appetite stimulant and may alleviate the short-term effects of stress on irritable bowel syndrome. In cats, clonazepam may be useful for treatment of feline hyperesthesia syndrome.
Precautions and Side Effects While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, clonazepam may cause side effects in some animals. Clonazepam should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug. It should also be avoided in patients with significant liver disease or glaucoma. Clonazepam should probably not be used in pregnant animals because it may increase the risk of birth defects.
In some animals, clonazepam may cause paradoxical reactions , including hyperactivity and aggression. Increased salivation may occur in some patients and may be problematic, particularly in dog breeds already prone to hypersalivation. Total length of treatment should be a minimum of four to six months. One of the mistakes I made was always trying to give the minimal drugs possible; every time I would see improvement, I would try to reduce the amount of drugs she was getting, and then she would get worse again.
I have learned that it takes time to overcome anxiety disorders; they do not go away overnight. If needed, I am prepared to keep Piglet on these drugs for the rest of her life. She is tolerating them well, with no side effects and continued normal blood work, and the improvement in her quality of life is so dramatic that I no longer fear having her on them. I have come to realize that there is no harm in relying on drugs when they are needed. In hindsight, I wish I had tried using alprazolam for our walks when Piglet's reaction to outside noises first escalated; I think she would not have gotten so bad if I had treated the problem early.
I would never recommend anxiety drugs as a first choice, before trying to address anxiety with natural methods, but when a dog's quality of life is at stake, the drugs can perform miracles. They have given Piglet back her life, and for that I am grateful. Piglet is now 15, and still doing great. She continues to take the same dosage of sertraline It appears she will need to stay at that level, as she has developed problems when I tried to reduce it further.
I continue to give melatonin 1. On the rare occasion that her anxiety escalates usually, I believe, due to vomiting medication , I give more alprazolam every half hour to an hour until she settles down. She is doing great overall, still enjoying her walks and no longer letting anxiety ruin her life. She had some problems with "breakthrough" anxiety last fall, and I ended up increasing her dosage of sertraline to 50 mg daily. Clonazepam remains at 1 mg in the morning and 2 mg at night.
She has not needed any extra medications in seven months, other than the small amount of alprazolam plus melatonin that I give prophylactically when I have to leave her for long periods at night. Piglet just turned Because she has been doing so well since increasing her sertraline to 50 mg once a day, I have gradually reduced her dosage of clonazepam from 3 mg daily 1 mg AM and 2 mg PM to 1 mg in the AM only. Interestingly, although she had no problems with the reduction, she did react when I tried to eliminate that last 1 mg, so I'm leaving her on that.
I have not needed to give her any extra medication, even when I have to be gone for long periods. Piglet was euthanized on March 5, , at the age of She had lost most of her vision due to a combination of factors, and had developed canine cognitive dysfunction. As a result, she was getting stuck in corners and could no longer enjoy her walks, or her life. I made the difficult decision to let her go.
Looking back on her life after she was gone, I became more aware of how different Piglet was after developing generalized anxiety disorder, even when the medications were able to keep her symptoms under control well enough for her to function. My takeaway message is to take early signs of anxiety seriously, and to start medication sooner rather than later, particularly if signs are getting worse. Do whatever is necessary to shield your dog from whatever is causing anxiety, and use medications along with behavior modification to prevent anxiety and phobias from taking over your dog's life.
Dosages below are given in mg milligrams per kg kilogram of body weight of the dog. Note that some of these drugs are available in liquid form if smaller doses are needed, or you could use a compounding pharmacy. When using benzodiazepines for noise phobias or separation anxiety, it is best to give them one to two hours before the anticipated noise or stimulus, and then repeat as needed. Benzodiazepines should not be given with the antifungal medications ketoconazole or itraconazole.
Cimetidine Tagamet , erythromycin, propranolol and valproic acid will slow the metabolism of these drugs and can create excessive sedation. Antacids decrease absorption and should be given separately, at least two hours apart. Benzodiazepines should be used with caution in the case of liver or kidney disease, or narrow angle glaucoma. Side effects such as sedation or increased appetite usually go away with continued usage. Dodman says that when buspirone doesn't work for anxiety issues, it is usually due to the dosage being too low.
This dosage can be doubled if needed. Buspirone can also be used for dogs with motion sickness. Give 1 mg per pound of body weight an hour before leaving. Prozac is his first choice for treating dogs with separation anxiety and fear aggression. I have grouped these two types of drugs together, as they have similar properties and side effects. Start with a low dose and increase as needed every two weeks up to the maximum dosage. It may take four to six weeks to see improvement.
Restlessness or twitching indicate the dosage is too high. Because of its anticholinergic effects, clomipramine may be a good choice for dogs with elimination problems linked to separation anxiety. Both TCAs and SSRIs may cause side effects, including dry mouth which may show up as frequent lip licking , urine retention, heart rate disturbances, constipation and gastrointestinal effects such as vomiting or inappetence.
The most common side effect is sedation. Loss of appetite is also common, but usually goes away after a few days. TCAs can cause bone marrow suppression and may affect the liver. They may also lower seizure threshold in epileptic patients. These side effects may be more likely with clomipramine. It is best to check blood work two weeks after staring these drugs to make sure that your dog is not having any adverse effects, then continue to monitor every six months to a year thereafter.
They should be used with caution in dogs with liver or kidney impairment, heart problems or seizure disorders. Older dogs should have blood work done and possibly an ECG to check for cardiac arrhythmias before starting these drugs. The dosage may need to be reduced in dogs with liver or kidney disorders. Dodman feels it is safe to combine most behavior medications, and some even enhance the effect of others e. It's also OK to switch from behavior medication to another without an interval in between.
Other combinations that may be effective include combining Prozac with buspirone or Elavil, or combining Elavil with beta plockers, such as propranolol. TCAs can be combined with SSRIs cautiously, using low dosages of each, which may reduce the potential for side effects and speed the time they take to become effective. The most common risk when combining SSRIs or TCAs with each other or with other drugs is serotonin syndrome, characterized by lethargy or agitation, incoordination, fever, tremors or seizures.
Serotonin syndrome can be dangerous, even fatal. TCAs may lower seizure threshold, and may make glaucoma worse. They may lower thyroid levels, which is not a problem but could lead to a misdiagnosis of hypothyroidism. They can have cardiovascular effects, so care and monitoring is needed during general anesthesia. The use of cimetidine Tagamet may slow the removal of these drugs from the system, allowing them to build to toxic levels.
Cyproheptadine an antihistamine sometimes given for allergies may decrease or reverse the effects of SSRIs. Because of the long half-life of drugs such as fluoxetine Prozac , you should wait at least 5 weeks after discontinuing use of SSRIs or TCAs before using Anipryl or amitraz. Tramadol Ultram While I have seen warnings against using the pain medication tramadol with SSRIs or TCAs due to the potential for serotonin syndrome, the veterinary behaviorist I consulted said that her colleagues have used them together with caution, and I have done so with Piglet.
It makes sense that if high doses are not being used, the risk of serotonin syndrome should be reduced. Tramadol is safe to combine with benzodiazepines. Dodman says that melatonin is very safe and cannot be overdosed. He would give 3 mg for dogs weighing 40 to 60 pounds, but says it's fine to give 6 mg or even 9 mg if needed. He has given as much as 9 mg to a Golden Retriever on the Fourth of July with good results..
Although no studies have been done, pharmacists have told me it is safe to combine melatonin with any of these other drugs, at least on an occasional basis. Melatonin is a hormone used to treat jet lag in humans. It has been found to be effective in 80 percent of dogs with thunder phobia. Recommended dosage is 3 mg for dogs over 35 lbs, 1.
Higher doses for larger dogs are sometimes used. I am using melatonin with Piglet on occasion when I feel a little extra help is needed. Dodman recommends beta blockers for dogs with separation anxiety, storm phobia, and other phobias. They can also help when fear leads to aggression. Beta blockers are prescription medications used to treat heart disease.
They help reduce anxiety by decreasing the "flight or fight" response. Propranolol takes about an hour and a half to take effect, and the effects last for a few hours. A longer-acting up to 8 hours version called Inderal is also available. Typical dosage for anxiety is 0. Side effects are uncommon, but heart rate may be decreased, which can cause weakness.
May interact with sedatives, cimetidine, insulin, lidocaine and theophylline. Dodman's "new favorite secret weapon" when quick action is needed. He prefers it to alprazolam Xanax as it won't cause paradoxical excitement, increased aggression, or addiction. Dodman's first choice for dogs with storm phobias. He recommends dosages up to 0. The drug takes effect in about half an hour and lasts three to four hours. Clonidine, a prescription medication used to treat high blood pressure, is also used to reduce the "flight or fight" response.
It can also cause low blood pressure and slow heart rate. Recommended dosage for anxiety is 0. It is given once a day with food. Effect lasts about 6 hours; may take one to two weeks to reach maximum effect. Should be weaned off to avoid a sudden spike in blood pressure. Do not change dosage without a vet's approval. May increase the effects of other sedating drugs such as opiates and barbiturates. Combining with TCAs may block the hypotensive effect, but combining with amitriptyline has caused corneal lesions in rats.
Due to the cumulative effect on heart rate, caution should be used if combining with beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, or digitalis. A article on anxiolytic drugs, Beyond the Front Line: It can be given daily, or only as needed. Side effects are generally mild and may include gastrointestinal upset, sedation, excitement, and panting. It takes effect in about an hour and is best given before the onset of anxiety e.
If used long term, dosage may need to be increased over time as tolerance develops. Do not combine with MAOIs such as amitraz see above. The article also contains information on benzodiazepines, clonidine, buspirone, gabapentin, and neutraceuticals, along with recommendations for specific situations. It is a tranquilizer that makes the dog unable to react but does nothing to decrease his anxiety -- and can actually make it worse.
I was advised by both my vet and the behaviorist that Ace could be used for emergencies, to force her to sleep if absolutely nothing else was working, and I did use it once, when she was still up at midnight after being up all the night before, and after giving both alprazolam and melatonin without success, but it is not something I am comfortable using or would recommend. It did knock Piglet out, but she was still groggy and uncoordinated the next day, something I had not seen with any other medication we tried.
See these excellent articles on why acepromazine and related drugs are inappropriate for treating anxiety:. New research indicates that gastrointestinal disorders are frequently at the root of repetitive oral behaviors in dogs, including excessive licking of surfaces and fly biting. Treating the GI disorders can result in significant reduction of these behaviors. Have you considered GI involvement? Dodman talked about a new class of drugs used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder OCD in dogs.
Examples include Namenda memantine , which is very expensive; Dextromethorphan found in some cough medicines ; and Huperzine-A extract of the Chinese Club Moss. Huperzine-A has some anticonvulsant properties and so may help dogs with OCD related to partial seizures. Recommended dosage was 50 mcg twice a day 25 mcg for a small dog. I found the best drug prices at Costco , where even non-members can order online and shipping is free.
Not all drugs are available there, but the ones I could get were substantially cheaper than from my local pharmacy. I also learned that I could get 50 mg sertraline for the same price as the 25 mg pills, and simply cut them in half with a pill splitter no longer necessary now that the much cheaper generic version is now available. Costco appears to have a broader range of low-cost generic drugs than the stores below, carrying everything except Clomipramine of the anxiety drugs listed below Clomipramine is used only for dogs, not humans.
Covered medications include Amitriptyline, Fluoxetine and Buspirone. Other pharmacies have followed suit, so call around to find the best prices. They will consult with your vet on anxiety and other behavior issues, including medications. Find a veterinary behaviorist or veterinarian who handles behavior cases in your area through the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.
Mutt Muffs are over-the-ear "headphones" designed to reduce noise. They couldn't be worn all the time, but might possibly be helpful in situations where your dog must be exposed to "scary noises. Beyond the Front Line: Separation and other Anxiety disorders in Dogs by Dr. Fearful Dogs Web site dedicated to helping fearful dogs and their owners. How do antidepressants work in dogs and the rest of us?
The seminar included updated information on psychopharmacology of behavior problems, including fears and phobias. I have provided updated information from this seminar in appropriate sections below. How to Treat Anxiety Naturally Whole Dog Journal has published a number of articles on natural ways to help a dog deal with anxiety, before resorting to the use of drugs, including the following: Also see Thundershirt also available at Amazon.
A few more suggestions: Noise sensitivities and fearfulness can be linked to hypothyroidism. Some dogs improve with treatment, even when they have no other signs of hypothyroidism. A full thyroid panel or Free T4 by Equilibrium Dialysis can help determine whether your dog might be hypothyroid the total T4 screening test is not enough to rule it out. Melatonin see below , SAM-e s-adenyl methionine and magnesium are also used to treat anxiety. SAM-e is an antidepressant and is liver protective.
I give it to Piglet to help her liver deal with the other drugs. Both fish oil and the probiotic Bifidobacterium longum have been found to ease anxiety in studies see Boosting tranquility through nutrition for more information. One person reported her dog's anxiety improving greatly when she added fish oil to the diet. Within 10 days, the dog was calm, with no signs of anxiety. The dog is currently being weaned off anti-anxiety medications and so far has had no further signs of anxiety.
L-theanine is an amino acid that some have used to treat anxiety and phobias Food and behavior — Can food have an influence on behavior? Vetri-Science, a company whose products I like, offers Composure Liquid available at Amazon , also called Calming Formula from Pet Naturals same company, also available at Amazon for dogs and cats that contains l-theanine and other ingredients.
The amount is An over-the-counter veterinary product called Anxitane is now available, where the suggested dosage is 25 mg l-theanine twice a day for dogs less than 10 kg 22 lbs , 50 mg twice a day for dogs 10 to 25 kg 22 to 55 lbs , and mg twice a day for dogs over 25 kg 55 lbs. Another product called Grand Tranquility available at Amazon contains 20 mg l-theanine per wafer.
Therabis Calm and Quiet includes both l-theanine and hemp mg l-theanine per sachet for small-large dogs. L-theanine is also available in human supplements, though dosages usually to mg per tablet would only be suitable for large dogs. A friend's dog was anxious in the car, whining and wimpering both while driving and while waiting in the car for nosework trials. She tried Calming Soft Chews, and her dog slept all the way to the trial and never whined during the trial.
He was able to search well without being frantic as he often is when searching , so he was not sedated, and earned his title. L-tryptophan , an amino acid, and alpha-casozepine , a component of milk whose action is similar to benzodiazepines, have been found to help ease anxiety. L-tryptophan supplements are readily available, but alpha-casozepine is hard to find. Alpha-casozepine is also called Lactium , which can be found in a variety of supplements. See the following for more information: Dealing With Canine Anxiety and Phobias Effects of prescription diet on dealing with stressful situations and performance of anxiety-related behaviors in privately owned anxious dogs Effects of alpha-casozepine Zylkene versus selegiline hydrochloride Selgian, Anipryl on anxiety disorders in dogs When giving tiny pills, I find they sometimes get stuck in my dog's lips.
Wrapping them in a bit of string cheese has solved that problem for us, but I've since found that Pill Pockets work even better -- the smell is very enticing, and you can pinch off just enough to cover the pill, making each one last a long time I used to think they were too expensive because I thought you had to use a whole pill pocket each time you gave pills. An aromatherapy product called Chill Pill made by Aura Cacia may help calm some nervous dogs. This is a liquid, not a pill. A friend who helps rehabilitate rescued puppy mill dogs recommends putting a drop on a small piece of fabric such as a piece of knit fabric possibly " wide by " long that can be tied on the back of the dog's harness.
Do not put it on the dog's skin or fur. GABA gamma-aminobutyric acid may have a calming effect when taken orally benzodiazepines work by increasing the effect of GABA on the brain. It is found in many calming products. Certain types of music may have a calming influence. Some music is available specifically for dogs: It has to do with the electrical charge that can build up during thunderstorms.
Mutt Muffs and Happy Hoodie block loud noises and have helped some dogs who are afraid of fireworks or thunder. Calming Collar Herbs create calming scent that was helpful to at least one dog with storm phobia. Calming Cap can help reduce the impact of things the dog sees, such as lightning. It is not a blindfold, but uses sheer fabric to limit vision. Also available at Amazon. See The Human-Canine Bond: Medical marijuana may help with anxiety in dogs.
There are high-CBD varieties available that will not make your dog "stoned. Marijuana Toxicosis and Medical Uses for Dogs , for more information. Shen Calmer from Jing Tang, a Chinese herbal blend for anxiety and nervousness, helped one dog I know who was anxious in new environments he takes it regularly, not as needed.