TrainTrax wrote:I don't want to dope her up on medications or have her be just a lump on the couch because of her medicine. I want her to have a good quality of life because as it stands her quality isn't the greatest. She spends a good 70-80% of her day panicking or having a meltdown because I'm not home. I want her present with me in life because she's my world.
Red wrote:There are a lot of different meds on the market, and finding a knowledgeable veterinary behaviorist that can help you make good choices is gold. Where are you located? If no veterinary behaviorist is available then you might have to ask around and find a vet that has at least a bit of understanding of behavior and phobias , and appropriate meds. Unfortunately, that is like finding a needle in the haystack.Avoid the vet that sends you home with Acepromazine, please.
Dogs should not be a "lump on the couch" when on meds, that is not what should happen at all.If it does happen, the wrong medications or dosage are used. A lot of it is about trials, changes in dosage or meds and see what works for that animal. Sometime a combination of two meds is what helps. It takes diligent work from the owner, and vet, to keep track of what happens and change things accordingly. For example, if you are going to be suggested a panicolytic before an incoming storm, you should do a trial on baseline dosage for a week, to see what the effect is for that dosage without heavy triggering stimuli, and go from there. The storm hitting your house is not the time to try dosages and new meds, which happens all too often. Some dogs have a less than ideal response to benzodiazepines like Alprazolam (Xanax) , or other meds, that include increase of heart rates, vigilance, dilated pupils and hyperactivity.You see why to "try" the dog in the middle of a storm or situations that causes panic is not productive at all.
BabyReba wrote:So here's my experience with dogs, anxieties and medication ... Button's had issues since we got him, but they became severe -- to the point that I was considering euthanasia -- about 2.5 years ago. We had "tried" various things, with varying small degrees of success ... a DAP diffuser, a Thundershirt, accupuncture, Benedryl, Happy Traveler, behavior modification always coupled with everything, and we'd even dabbled with a couple of drugs with the help of our regular vet, but nothing was ever quite enough to make a big or lasting difference. I finally decided to make one more last-ditch effort with a veterinary behaviorist, and I realized after meeting with her that though we had dabbled in some anti-anxiety meds, there were lots of things we could try that we hadn't considered at all yet, and the vet explained all of the steps we would go through -- medication, adjusting dosages incrementally, plus behavior modification -- to try to make some changes in Button's (and my) quality of life.
But the end result? My dog is a happier dog, and I'm happier because I can relax with him and enjoy him. Button is not a zombie and he's not lazy and he's not drugged up ... he's medicated to make life easier for him and for us, and while I know using psychoactive drugs on dogs is not a good fit for all situations, I hate to see people rule it out when it could be a viable option for them. It still takes work to help your dog cope with the things that cause stress/anxiety/fear, and (as Red mentioned) there is no magic pill that will fix your dog. Button still has some issues, the meds just make it easier to work with him on those issues.
TrainTrax wrote: We're doing one Prozac a day until her anxieties completely seem to dissipate. After that, we cycle through one more prescription of Prozac before weaning her off of it for two months. If her anxieties returned, back on the Prozac we go. I have a feeling she will just be a Prozac dog for the rest of her life but maybe not.
Be careful with the on and off thingy. If she does well on it, a maintenance dosage might be best for her. Did your vet warn you about the use of other medications or over the counter supplements when on Prozac? You mentioned she is on a lower dosage of Melatonin but I'd stay away from that too, since you started her on Prozac. Is she on Tramadol for anything?
Hope that things get better for your pup. She is lucky she has an owner like you, very lucky.
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