Just like you, your dog experiences anxiety. It is healthy and normal for your dog to experience anxiety on rare occasions. While it affects all breeds, every individual dog is affected differently. If a disproportionate degree of anxiety is left untreated, the dog could develop behavioral issues like anxiety disorder. Before reading the article, ask yourself these questions; How do you indicate if your pet is anxious? How do you treat the anxiety? This article discusses anxiety meds for dogs and would surely answer these questions. That way, if the dog ever suffers from anxiety, you will have the knowledge you require to help.
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Generally, changes in activity, environment, and routine cause anxiety in dogs. It is especially essential right now as life begins to resume to the normal, following COVID-19 related lockdowns, and your dog has become used to spending a lot of time with you.
1. Forms of Anxiety in Dogs
There are various forms of anxiety present in different species. Forms of anxiety that are present in dogs are mentioned below.
1. Separation anxiety
It usually happens when the dog is separated from its parent or regular caretaker, from routine, or even moving to another location.
2. Environmental anxiety
Environmental anxiety generally presents as the fear of leaving specific locations or your home. It could be due to scary situations or loud noises like thunder, fireworks, alarms, and sirens.
3. Generalized anxiety
Generalized anxiety appears suddenly without any known trigger or cause.
4. Social anxiety
Social anxiety occurs when a dog is around other dogs or different people. It might be due to previous trauma or experience.
Aging changes linked to changes in the nervous system, toxic conditions, and painful physical conditions might also result in behavioral issues and anxiety.
2. Anxiety Symptoms in Dogs
While anxiety symptoms vary from one dog to the other depending primarily on the seriousness and type of the anxiety, the easiest method to tell if the dog is anxious is focusing on its body language.
The signs such as unusual reactions or aggression could be noticed when there are changes in people, social situations, and locations.
Symptoms of Anxiety include:
- Trembling or shaking
- Tail tucked and ears back
- Defecating or urinating where they should not
- Excessive barking
- Destructive conduct like tearing up carpets and furniture
- Compulsive or repetitive conduct
- Always looking for an escape
3. Treating Extreme Anxiety and Fear in Dogs
If a skilled veterinarian diagnoses mild anxiety, they could prescribe anti-anxiety medication alongside recommending behavioral modification exercises. The medical expert will recommend based on your dog’s anxiety trigger or refer you to a veterinary behaviorist.
Many types of treatment might take many months or even years. Generally, it depends mainly on the intensity and duration of the symptoms of anxiety.
Prescription isn’t a suitable anxiety relief for dog breeds and is the last resort in severe cases.
If your four-legged friend has extreme separation anxiety and should be protected until medication becomes effective, which could take time, hospitalization might be the right decision. Otherwise, you have to take care of the dog at home and offer protection from any self-inflicted injuries until the pet calms down. You might consider hiring dog-sitting or daycare services.
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4. Top Eight Anxiety Meds for Dogs
Dogs could suffer from various forms of anxiety, and it can be debilitating. As a pet parent, you want to assist, but you are faced with numerous prescriptions and anxiety meds for dogs over the counter options.
Your qualified dog trainer and veterinarian are the best resources. After the veterinarian has made a diagnosis, they could prescribe anxiety meds for dogs as the treatment plan.
Regardless of the medication the veterinarian uses, it would help if you also put a behavior-modification protocol into consideration. Severe and moderate anxiety respond best to behavior-modification training and prescription anxiety meds for aggressive dogs. However, the veterinarian should treat the dog for at least 4 weeks before the drug’s effectiveness is apparent. The treatment should also continue for more than two months, even if sufficient response is evident.
Commonly Prescribed Anxiety Meds for Dogs
Below are the commonly prescribed anxiety meds for dogs:
1. Xanax (Alprazolam)
Typically, Xanax is prescribed to assist pets suffering from severe or moderate situational anxiety. It is most effective when taken at the early symptoms of anxiety.
It belongs to the benzodiazepine class of sedatives that function by depressing activities in the dog’s central nervous system. It comes as tablets that you can give either with food or without food.
Buspirone is often prescribed to help pets that are anxious in social circumstances, like after interacting with other pets.
It belongs to the azapirone class of anxiolytics and required continuous use to be effective. It functions as mild anxiety meds for a dog since it triggers serotonin receptors in the brain. It is dispensed as tablets that you can give either with food or not.
Amitriptyline offers anxiety relief for dogs and cats suffering from generalized anxiety and separation anxiety. The tricyclic antidepressant works by increasing norepinephrine and neurotransmitters serotonin levels, affecting the mood.
The veterinarian must not administer the medication to pets with diabetes.
Moreover, a pet must be slowly tapered off the medication if it has been on it for at least one week.
4. Ativan (Lorazepam)
If possible, Ativan should be administered to pets before an occurrence known to result in anxiety. Your pet could also take the medication immediately you realize it is anxious.
This anxiety treatment for dogs and cats belongs to the benzodiazepine class of sedative and depresses activity in specific central nervous system parts.
It is available in liquid, tablets, or injections.
Sileo is a U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medication for situational anxiety. It’s an alpha-2 adrenoceptor agonist that depresses activity in the brain, resulting in reduced anxiety levels. The drug works best if given before a noise-triggering event or once the dog exhibits anxiety symptoms. The dog should not swallow it but absorb it via its mucus membranes.
Also known as Prozac or reconcile, fluoxetine is one of the FDA-approved anxiety meds for dogs’ prescription options. It is best for dogs suffering from behavior challenges and separation anxiety.
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Reconcile belongs to the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) class of medication. It increases the neurotransmitter serotonin level in the pet’s brain. It would help if you used the medicines alongside behavior modification programs.
Paroxetine is one of the best anti-anxiety meds for aggressive dogs. You could also use it for behavior like self-mutilation and fear of loud noise.
It is an SSRI that functions by increasing neurotransmitter serotine in your pet’s brain.
It’s available in liquid or tablets to be taken orally, either with food or not.
Clomipramine is an antidepressant that functions the same manner as amitriptyline. A couple of weeks are required for therapeutic effects to be observed. It is available in tablets that are given either with food or not.
5. How to Use Anxiety Meds for Dogs?
Treating anxiety in dogs is a journey, and trialing different medications might be required before finding the one that suits our dog’s needs. Your skilled veterinary should guide you.
While dogs and humans sometimes share similar anxiety medications, you should not give the dog human- prescribed medications without the veterinarian’s approval.
The veterinarian will consider any existing health condition the dog might have and supplements other medications the dog might be taking. They might also perform blood tests before administering any medication.
The vet could recommend another prescription or adjust the dosage levels based on the medication response and tolerance. You must not stop long-term prescribed drugs without first talking to the vet.
6. CBD: A Natural Way to Treat Dog Anxiety
Cannabidiol or CBD is a compound found in hemp and cannabis and does not contain THC (9-tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is responsible for the psychoactive properties of marijuana.
Dogs have a network of receptors, chemicals, and enzymes known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). It regulates body systems like the immune and nervous. When cannabidiol binds with ECS receptors, it could regulate physiological processes like metabolism, sleep, appetite, and mood. In other words, CBD has a calming effect and reduces anxiety, primarily when used together with other calming therapies and ingredients.
Many pet parents prefer CBD oil. Bottled CBD oil with a dropper is an excellent option because it makes it easy to measure the correct dosage. You can add CBD to a treat, food or give it directly into the mouth.
Oils vary by the terpenes amount in them and potency. You should purchase broad-spectrum oil because it has the highest amount of natural plant compounds, which promote effectiveness.
Because some cannabidiol products have a grassy taste, you might want to choose coconut oil with CBD, especially if your four-legged friend is picky. You can add it to treats or foods, give it directly, or apply it to the bare skin in the dog’s ears.
So, how are you supposed to find the best CBD oil for your dog? CBD labeling and advertising could be confusing and sometimes misleading. Make sure the hemp is pesticides and free from heavy metals. Also, check where and how it is grown. It is paramount to purchase CBD oil that is laboratory-tested for purity and potency.
Also, careful shopping requires a sharp eye. It is advisable to compare the CBD amount in the oil, typically indicated in mg, then the amount of CBD oil because there are various available potencies. If you’re frequently dosing, using CBD oil long-term, dosing a large pet, a higher potency CBD might be pocket-friendly.
7. Calming Dog Beds
If your dog suffers anxiety when meeting new people, left alone, or during thunderstorms, anxiety relief for a dog’s bed could be the solution. The calming beds get rid of stress and anxiety and are also best used together with medication and behavioral training modification.
The beds are designed to offer pups a sense of comfort and security. Some beds are orthopedic and relieve joint pain. Most of these beds have cave-live structures and raised rims. A raised rim supports the spine and neck during sleep, reducing joint and muscle pain.
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A dog, when left home alone, becomes anxious and thinks you are abandoning it. Unfortunately, your pet does not understand that you will return home, and the anxiety gets the better part of it and exhibits destructive conduct. Please remember the pet is not vengeful against you but scared. To assist you through the condition, you should be loving and patient.