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Pros and Cons of Prozac (Fluoxetine) for Dogs

Pros and Cons of Prozac (Fluoxetine) for Dogs

Using Prozac for dogs can cause a number of side effects, some of which can be quite serious. The following DogAppy article throws some light on the pros and cons of Prozac for dogs.
DogAppy Staff
Did You Know?
Instead of medication, behavior change training is considered to be a better way to treat anxiety problems in dogs.
For dog owners, dealing with anxiety in their canine friends can be quite frustrating. Anxiety-related behavior that includes fear of people, panic attacks, and aggression is particularly hard to handle. In such cases, vets may prescribe antianxiety medication, like fluoxetine, that is sold under various brand names like Prozac or Reconcile. The following discusses the benefits and risks of using Prozac for dogs.
Pros
  • Although it is an extra-label drug, meaning formulated for humans, its legal use is also permitted for dogs, to treat separation anxiety.
  • The medication is found to be effective in alleviating quite a few anxiety-related problems in dogs. Social phobia in dogs can be successfully treated with this medication. It is also used to alleviate compulsive behavior in dogs.
  • Since it is available in a flavored chewable formulation, pet owners won't face any difficulty in administering the medication.
Cons
  • Will it work? Reports have been mixed as far as treating dog anxiety with Prozac is concerned. Some dog owners have found the medicine of little help in calming the dog. The medicine did not have any noticeable impact on dog behavior as reported by pet owners.
  • Some dogs may not be comfortable taking the medication, which may lead to exacerbation of anxiety and aggressive behavior. However, dogs have also responded positively to the medicine with minimal side effects, as reported by a few pet owners. But since the response has been mixed, there is no assurance that the medication will work in relieving anxiety.
  • The most important drawback of Prozac is that it does not work immediately. So your pet is unlikely to calm down immediately after taking the medicine. Once the dose is administered, your pet will take at least a week or two to show a positive change in behavior. Usually, a 14-day period is a given for the medication to take effect. Moreover, its full beneficial effects are noticed only after giving Prozac for a period of 6 to 8 weeks. So, as a pet owner, you need to have patience when using Prozac for dog anxiety.
  • Since the effect of Prozac does not kick start immediately, taking it for an extended duration may cause withdrawal symptoms after the medication is discontinued.
  • Like most antianxiety medicines, Prozac is not free from side effects. The medication purportedly known for its sedative effects can make the dog lethargic and drowsy. Also, its long-term use can elevate the chances of developing some serious side effects like reduced appetite, bowel dysfunction that includes constipation and diarrhea, weight loss, and seizures.
In case of Prozac, the cons seem to outnumber the pros. So it is up to you to decide whether to take the help of Prozac for anxiety treatment for dog. As a pet owner, you can always opt for safer alternative remedies such as behavioral modification techniques. Incorporating healthy foods into your dog's diet can also work wonders in relieving anxiety problems. On the whole, consult with your vet before starting Prozac treatment for your dogs.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a veterinarian.