As a dog owner, I know what it’s like to have a nervous dog. I have two dogs, actually, and one is particularly nervous about weird things like the rumble strip in the middle of the highway and the sound of a boat engine. I’m really glad my veterinarian never mentioned acepromazine for dogs, because I might have tried it. Now that I know more about it, I’m glad I didn’t.
|DISCLAIMER: I am not a veterinarian, nor do I play one on TV. I am, however, a dog lover with a desire to help owners understand the complicated issues that can affect the health of their dogs. Do not take my word for it, though! Always take your dog to a licensed veterinarian for the best opinion and suggestions.
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You’re Going to Want to Read This Post to Find Out Why Acepromazine for Dogs Might Not Be the Anxiety Cure it Was Once Thought to Be!
Here’s what you’ll get from this post:
- Acepromazine for dogs is not the miracle drug it was once thought to be! I am going to tell you why.
- Canine behaviorists can unlock the secrets to your dog’s anxiety (including the resulting bad behavior) often without added medication.
- Side-effects of acepromazine for dogs.
- Medications that are sometimes required in extreme fear-based aggression and separation anxiety.
- 13 proven tactics for walking your dog out of his or her deep-seated fears.
- How to identify the signs of mild, moderate, or extreme stress in dogs and what to do about it.
HERE’S WHY ACEPROMAZINE IS NOT THE MIRACLE CURE FOR CANINE ANXIETY IT WAS ONCE THOUGHT TO BE!
Acepromazine (trade names Atravet or Acezine 2) blocks receptors in the dog’s brain for a sedation-like effect. However, it does nothing to relax the mind. Essentially, the dog is still terrified; he just can’t do anything about it. It’s like a temporary prison of the mind leaving some dogs more aggressive because of the lack of inhibition.
13 Ways to Avoid Acepromazine for Dogs
Anxiety in dogs is not a new phenomena, particularly in shelter and rescue dogs. If treating it were easy, there wouldn’t be a number of dogs with fear-based aggression or severe separation anxiety.
Side-effects and Dangers of Acepromazine for Dogs:
- Over Sedation
- Low Blood Pressure
- Slow Heart Rate
- Depressed respiration
The following 13 alternatives to acepromazine for dogs have different applications depending on whether the anxiety is perceived as mild, moderate, or severe.
NOTE: The following suggested methods of stress control often work better when used in combination with other appropriate treatment methods. Keep in mind differences in dog temperament and breed. Also, as I mentioned above, there are certain situations where antidepressants can be a useful short-term solution.
- Weighted Vests for anxiety. Here’s one for you to look at (clickable) →
- Regular exercise that is appropriate for the dog breed and size.
- Nutritious food and weight control.
- Engage in regular play with the dog.
- Regularly grooming a mildly anxious dog can help lower and relieve symptoms and provide a bonding experience for you and the dog.
- Holistic calming treats available at most pet stores work great for short-term stress. Note: Might not be appropriate for some dogs.
- Gauging your reaction to stress. Dogs pick up on your energy and vibe. If you are demonstrating signs of anxiety and stress, it will be very hard to work with your dog to bring their levels down.
- Moderate and frequent anxiety may need a full examination by the veterinarian to rule out underlying disease. Certain conditions like pre-diabetes and thyroid disease, for example, could be causing some of the problem.
- Fear biting and fear aggression may not be something you can deal with on your own. In some cases, working with a canine behaviorist is the best way to work with your dog.
- Gradual desensitization to the anxiety triggers may help. It might also remove the need to prescribe acepromazine for dogs. Again, working with a professional in the beginning may be the best option.
- Antidepressants in combination with behavioral therapy is something to think about. You would need a prescription from the veterinarian for this. Keep in mind that all medications have some side-effects. It takes a while for the medication to work, but when it does, it might allow you to work with the dog’s relaxed mind until he/she is better able to handle stressful situations. It is possible to successfully wean dogs from antidepressants.
12. Patience. This can be tough in the beginning, especially if your dog is showing signs of extreme stress. Try to minimize as much stress as possible while maintaining a normal, daily routine. Dogs love two things: their pack and their routines.
13. Books on canine behavior can be particularly enlightening and helpful. Personally, I prefer the Cesar Milan books because of his straight-talk, easy-to-understand concepts, and proven track record.
Buy Cesar Milan Books if you need help with your dog’s anxiety. I have read them, used them, and highly recommend them.
Signs and Symptoms of Mild, Moderate, and Severe Stress in Dogs.
Inappropriate behavior in dogs is a symptom of anxiety. Triggers such as firework explosions, loud noises, riding in cars, or meeting new people are just a few stresses that dogs encounter. We seem to live in a society where prescription drugs are often the first-line defense, but it’s important to understand appropriate options other than acepromazine for dogs.
Dog anxiety can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe, with variations in between. In many cases, your dog might look the same (tail tucked under, head lowered, whites of the eye showing (known as “whale eye”) no matter what the stressor is. It’s up to you, the owner, to assess the situation and determine if this is just a mild, occasional event, or a common occurrence that leads to more severe symptoms of anxiety.
Examples of Situations that Induce Mild Anxiety:
- noise from the television
- a new visitor in the house
- disruption to the daily routine
- changes in weather (high humidity; extreme heat; extreme cold)
- riding in the car
- lack of exercise
The Behavioral Results of Mild Anxiety Might Include:
- Dog’s head is lowered
- Gaze is down
- Tight lips
- Occasional tongue flicking
- Tail tucked between legs.
NOTE: These behaviors can present themselves in any stressful situation. In a mild case, the dog may gradually come around and begin to ease into the new situation with fewer signs of anxiety.
Examples of Situations that Induce Moderate Anxiety:
- Sudden introduction to a new animal
- Separation anxiety (could be moderate to severe)
- A rescue dog who is afraid of men
- Exposure to an area where the dog may have been hurt or injured before. A boat, for example, swimming area, or park.
Behavioral Results of Moderate Anxiety Might Include:
- Lack of appetite
- Raised Hackles
- Ears flattened against the head
- Tail between the legs
- Attempts to get away from the situation
- Uninterested in normal daily activities like catching the ball, etc.
Examples of Situations that Can Induce Severe Anxiety
- A history of abuse
- Inappropriately caged or tied up for too many hours
- Exposed to extreme weather without adequate shelter
- Taunting and inappropriate play with humans
- Inappropriate diet and lack of exercise
Any form of neglect and/or abuse is going to severely affect the dog’s ability to cope with confidence. You might notice poor appetite, weight loss, fur loss, recurrent infections, gastrointestinal problems, severe allergies, diarrhea, fear biting, destructive behavior, vomiting, defecating in the house, shivering or shaking, etc.
NOTE: Phone your local SPCA immediately if you see or suspect any dog is being subjected to abuse or neglect.
Me kayaking! My partner and dog are watching from the other boat.
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