Has your veterinarian prescribed fluoxetine to your dog with anxiety? If so, you likely have questions about what this medication is and how it can bring your anxious canine companion relief. In this article, we break down how fluoxetine works, common doses, side effects, and more!
What Is Fluoxetine?
Fluoxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) commonly used to treat anxiety and depression in humans and animals. Fluoxetine, commonly known as Prozac, works by delaying the body’s reabsorption of serotonin. This allows the serotonin to remain in the brain longer, ultimately creating a greater sense of well-being. Serotonin plays a major role in regulating mood, sleep patterns, and digestion, which is why delaying its reuptake is so effective in managing anxiety and depression.
Is Fluoxetine Safe for Dogs?
Fluoxetine is safe for use in dogs when following your veterinarian’s guidance. Just keep in mind that it is only safe in the form and dose that your veterinarian prescribes, as human forms of fluoxetine can be dangerous to our canine companions. Fluoxetine prescribed to humans can contain too high of a dose for dogs to take safely.
Keep any form of medication in an area your dog cannot access, as an overdose can lead to serious health complications. It’s important to reach out to your vet immediately if your dog consumed more than their prescribed dose of fluoxetine.
Why Do Dogs Take Fluoxetine?
Fluoxetine was originally formulated for use in veterinary medicine to treat canine separation anxiety, but it is now used to treat a variety of behavioral and emotional struggles. Some of the most common uses of fluoxetine in dogs include:
- Separation anxiety
- Noise sensitivity and phobias
- Fear aggression
- Territorial aggression
- Obsessive compulsive disorders
Dr. Amy Nicole Lewis, a veterinarian that works with Worldwide Veterinary Services told A-Z Animals that fluoxetine can significantly improve the dog’s and the pet owner’s quality of life. With early intervention and stress reduction in the home, this medication can offer relief from severe phobias and fear aggression. Just keep in mind that it can take time, trial, and error to find the right dose for your dog.
How Is Fluoxetine Given to Dogs?
Veterinarians can prescribe fluoxetine to your dog in liquid, tablet, or capsule form. It does not have to be given with a meal, but some dogs may experience mild nausea and drooling when taking it on an empty stomach. We suggest offering your pup their dose with a snack if this is the case for your little one.
It’s important to make sure you never stop fluoxetine abruptly. Stopping this medication suddenly can lead to agitation, disorientation, and other troubling symptoms. It’s best to speak with your vet first if you ever want to stop giving your dog this medication, as they can offer you guidance on how to stop it safely.
What Is the Dose of Fluoxetine for Dogs?
To reiterate, you should never give your dog fluoxetine without your veterinarian’s approval. With that in mind, there is a standard fluoxetine dose that most veterinarians follow.
The standard dose for dogs is 1 to 2 mg per kilogram of body weight every 24 hours. Your vet may start by prescribing a lower dose to start with and slowly increasing their dose until a desired effect is reached. It can take some time for your vet to determine the right dose for your canine companion.
Are There Any Side Effects with Fluoxetine Use in Dogs?
Fluoxetine is a relatively safe medication for dogs, but it is known to cause a few mild side effects. The most common side effects of fluoxetine use in dogs is lethargy and a decreased appetite, with some dogs losing their appetite completely within days of starting the medication. This is why most vets will find the lowest dose possible for your pup, as the risk of lethargy and a decreased appetite is higher as the dose increases.
Other potential side effects of fluoxetine use in dogs include:
We suggest reaching out to your vet if you notice any of the above side effects in your dog that is taking fluoxetine. While these side effects cannot always be avoided, your vet may be able to adjust their dose to relieve their side effects. They may also prescribe additional medication to boost their appetite and decrease their nausea.
How Do I Get Fluoxetine for My Dog?
Fluoxetine is a prescription SSRI that can be used to treat anxiety, phobias, and mild aggression in dogs. We suggest reaching out to your vet if you think your beloved companion can benefit from the use of fluoxetine!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Donna Ellen Coleman/Shutterstock.com
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