Certain dogs, especially those originally bred for field work, can display hyperactive behaviour, which can generally be treated by changing their lifestyle to fit in more activity. Dogs often are mistaken for having a canine version of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder when they really just want attention or are not getting enough exercise. But for the dogs that have been diagnosed with the disorder, they can be treated with drugs.
Methylphenidate is more commonly known by its brand name, Ritalin. As in humans, Ritalin can calm down hyper dogs by correcting the neuron imbalance in the dog's brain that is causing the ADHD. Ritalin is a stimulant that activates the neurons in the brain, which are underactive and causing the hyperactivity and inability to concentrate. Ritalin also stimulates the brain's production of dopamine, which allows the left and the right side of the brain to communicate.
D-amphetamine (short for dextroamphetamine) is the chemical found in the brand-name drug Dexedrine, which works to curb ADHD symptoms in dogs by stimulating the central nervous system. Dexedrine might be prescribed over Ritalin because it is less harsh, since the effects come more slowly and there is not as much of a "come down" as there is with Ritalin.
Do not start your dog on any drug without the approval of your vet and stick to the recommended doses. A vet will normally begin giving ADHD drugs to a dog in a controlled environment and test to see if the drug has an effect on the dog. Only when the vet has concluded that the dog would benefit from an ADHD drug should one be administered.
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