Anxiety affects dogs just as anxiety can affect humans. Most commonly, anxiety in dogs is related to separation from owners or loud noises such as thunderstorms and fireworks. While it is common for a dog to experience separation anxiety, a dog may tear up a home because of nervous energy while the owner is away. For dogs with frequent anxious spells, there are medications to help control and relieve anxiety.
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Also known under the brand Clomicalm, Clomopramine is an antidepression/antianxiety medication that is also used for humans. As with any antianxiety medication used for dogs, Clomicalm should be used in conjunction with behaviour modification training. Otherwise, the antianxiety medication will simply mask the symptoms of an underlying cause. Clomicalm is also used to treat dogs with aggression and dominance issues toward other dogs. Clomicalm should not be used in dogs with a history of seizures. Side effects of Clomicalm have been reported and include an elevated heart rate or sedation.
One of the most well-known and most-used antidepressant/antianxiety medications is Prozac. The generic of Prozac, Fluoxetine is used for both humans and dogs. While not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in animals, Prozac is prescribed legally and often by veterinarians. Apart from treating the symptoms of anxiety in dogs, Prozac is also prescribed to treat intense itching and obsessive-compulsive disorders in both cats and dogs. Again, as with any antianxiety medication, a behaviour modification treatment plan should accompany medication. Side effects associated with Prozac in dogs when used to reduce symptoms of anxiety have been reported to include aggression, lack of appetite, lethargy, panting and restlessness.
More commonly referred to by its generic name, Elavil, Amitriptyline is an antidepression and antianxiety medication approved for humans that is also sometimes used to treat anxiety in dogs. Elavil increases the levels of serotonin in the brain, which effectively calms and relaxes the dog. Apart from being used as an antianxiety medication for dogs, Elavil is also used in cats for inappropriate urination and excessive grooming. When used for anxiety in dogs, weight gain has been reported as a side effect as well as fatigue and increased water consumption. Unlike Prozac, with which an overdose would lead to seizures at most, Elavil can be fatal if your dog consumes more than the prescribed amount.
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