anxiety medication for dogs

A Guide To Anxiety Medications For Dogs

Help Your Dogs Stay Calm

There are different types of medication that can help manage anxiety in dogs. In this article we discuss types of anxiety medications for dogs, what they do and other things that can help anxious dogs.

10 signs of Pet Anxiety

  1. Excessive barking or howling.
  2. Destructive behavior, such as chewing or digging.
  3. Aggression towards people or other animals.
  4. Trembling or shaking.
  5. Panting or excessive drooling.
  6. Restlessness or pacing.
  7. Loss of appetite or overeating.
  8. Hiding or seeking excessive attention.
  9. Attempts to escape or run away.
  10. Avoidance of certain situations or people.

Natural Medications To Cope With Dog Anxiety

You can first try natural medications or supplements for dog anxiety. Natural supplements for dogs are often considered a safer alternative to prescription medications as they tend to have fewer side effects.

In addition, many pet owners prefer a more holistic approach to managing their dog's health, and natural supplements align with this philosophy. Many dog supplements are available without a prescription and can be purchased online or at pet supply stores.

Here are some you can consider.

  • CBD Oil: CBD (Cannabidiol) is a natural compound derived from hemp plants that have been found to have calming effects on dogs. It can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. It is essential to consult with a veterinarian to ensure the correct dosage is given.
  • L-Theanine: L-Theanine is an amino acid found in tea leaves that has been shown to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety in dogs. It can be found in supplement form and is safe for dogs when given appropriately.
  • Valerian Root: A natural herb that can help calm an anxious dog. It has a soothing effect on dogs and can help promote relaxation.
  • Chamomile: Chamomile is a natural herb that has a calming effect on dogs. It can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. It can be found in supplement form or as a safe tea for dogs.
  • Passionflower: Passionflower is a natural herb that reduces anxiety in dogs, helping to promote relaxation and calmness.

Prescription Anti-Anxiety Medications For Dogs

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac): Fluoxetine is an antidepressant medication that can also treat anxiety in dogs. It works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, which can help regulate mood and anxiety.
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil): Clomipramine is a tricyclic antidepressant medication commonly used to treat anxiety disorders in dogs. It works by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain.
  • Alprazolam (Xanax): Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine medication that can be used to treat anxiety in dogs. It works by increasing the levels of a neurotransmitter called GABA, which has a calming effect on the brain.
  • Diazepam (Valium): Diazepam is another benzodiazepine medication that can treat anxiety in dogs. It works similarly to alprazolam by increasing GABA levels in the brain.
  • Buspirone (Buspar): Buspirone is an anti-anxiety medication often used to treat generalized anxiety disorder in dogs. It works by affecting the levels of serotonin in the brain.
  • Gabapentin (Neurontin): Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant medication that can also be used to treat anxiety in dogs. It works by affecting the levels of a neurotransmitter called glutamate, which can help reduce stress.
  • Trazodone (Desyrel): Trazodone is an antidepressant medication that treats anxiety in dogs. It works by affecting the levels of serotonin in the brain.
  • Amitriptyline (Elavil): Amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant medication that works by increasing the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain.

Administering Dog Anxiety Medications

Administering prescription medications to dogs can be a bit tricky, but here are some general tips to follow:

Follow the Instructions

Always follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian for administering the medication. This includes the correct dosage, frequency and any special instructions.

Give with Food

Some medications should be given with food to help prevent stomach upset. Check with your veterinarian to see if this applies to your dog's medication.

Crush or Cut Medications if Necessary

Some medications can be crushed or cut to make them easier to administer.

Be Patient

Some dogs may resist taking medication, so being patient and gentle is important. Try offering the medication in a calm and reassuring tone of voice.

Monitor for Side Effects

Monitor your dog for any potential medication side effects, such as vomiting, diarrhea or lethargy. If you notice any concerning symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away.

Remember, it is important always to follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian when administering prescription medications to your dog and to contact them if you have any questions or concerns.

Behavior Modification For Dog Anxiety

In addition to administering dog medications, you can also try a few ways to help with your dog’s anxiety and nervousness.

  • Identify Triggers: The first step in managing anxiety in dogs is to identify the triggers that cause stress. This can be done by observing your dog's behavior and noting specific situations or stimuli that cause anxiety. Once you’ve identified the cause of your dog’s stress, you can take steps to address it.
  • Desensitization and Counterconditioning: Once you have identified the triggers, you can begin a desensitization and counterconditioning program. This involves gradually exposing your dog to the stimulus in a controlled and positive way while pairing it with something pleasant such as treats or toys.
  • Provide Adequate Exercise: Regular exercise can help reduce anxiety in dogs by providing an outlet for excess energy and promoting relaxation. A tired dog is a happy one!
  • Establish a Routine: Dogs thrive on routine, and having a predictable schedule can help reduce anxiety. Set a solid plan for bed, meals, walks and play.
  • Provide a Safe Space: Provide a safe and comfortable space for your dog to retreat when feeling anxious. Crates are perfect havens for dogs, so if your dog isn’t already crate-trained, you can think about doing so.

How a Pet Sitter Can Help With Your Dog's Anxiety

A pet sitter can help your dog with anxiety issues by providing them with a calm and reassuring presence while you're away. The pet sitter can establish a routine and spend quality time with your dog, providing them with the attention and affection they need to feel secure. Additionally, the pet sitter can use positive reinforcement techniques to help your dog feel more comfortable in their surroundings and can also engage your dog in exercise and playtime to reduce stress and anxiety. It's important to communicate your dog's specific anxiety triggers and coping mechanisms with the pet sitter, so they can provide the best possible care for your furry friend.

Final Thoughts

Like humans, dogs can also experience anxiety and stress, significantly impacting their well-being and behavior.

While there are several behavioral and environmental strategies to help manage anxiety in dogs, sometimes these approaches may not be sufficient. In such cases, medications can be a useful tool to help alleviate stress and improve the situation.

However, it's important to understand that anxiety medications for dogs should only be used under the guidance and supervision of a veterinarian, as some medications can have potential side effects and interactions with others.

It’s more common than you think. You aren’t alone! Heaping generous TLC on your beloved pooch can help them develop into confident, well-balanced dogs. Good luck!