Pill shaming in recent years has reached an evangelical pitch. With that kind of reaction, why would you want to tell anybody you need help weaning your dog off Prozac?
I’m glad you found me here because I have some experience with this. I’ve never weaned a dog off of Prozac, but I’ve had to wean myself a few times. It’s pretty much the same thing as you’ll see below.
This post is going to show you how to wean your dog off Prozac in a simple, non-judgemental way.
Let me tell you this…weaning your dog off of Prozac is very similar to weaning a person from the drug. It can be done easily and safely. But slooooowwwly
REMEMBER THIS 2012 QUOTE FROM TOM CRUISE?
“There is no such thing as a chemical imbalance… antidepressants – all it does is mask the problems. There’s ways, there’s vitamins, there’s exercise.”
Mr. Cruise obviously wasn’t talking about dogs, although they DO need exercise and good nutrition. I’m going to go ahead and say that Tom Cruise probably isn’t the expert to talk to about Prozac for dogs. This is where I take over.
STEP 1: Make Sure the Veterinarian is in the Loop Before Weaning Your Dog Off Prozac.
The doctor might request a follow-up visit during the weaning process to monitor your dog’s progress.
Prozac for dogs takes time to metabolize completely. Serious interactions can occur when mixing antidepressants with other medications, or when weaning too quickly.
Weaning your dog off Prozac too soon doesn’t give him a chance to imprint/remember a new set of appropriate behaviors.
Antidepressants help to alleviate things like separation anxiety and rage syndrome. The problem with taking Prozac for dogs away too soon is that he/she may not have had enough time to process the new dog training/routine.
STEP 3: Examine Your Own Behaviors Before Weaning Your Dog from Prozac
Reconditioning your own behavior is an important step on the path to your dog’s ultimate mental health. Look at ways you could be contributing to your dog’s anxiety and work to change that.
Simple behavioral changes could include:
- Not engaging excitedly with your dog before leaving the house. Be calm, quiet, and confident.
- Carve out time to walk and socialize the dog.
- Set rules and limitations on how your dog interacts with other animals.
I know it’s not easy, especially if you have a rescue dog who has come into your home with a whole history wired into his brain. At the end of the day, you want what’s best for the dog, and sometimes that means Prozac for dogs.
Prozac for dogs can come with some side-effects. However, most of the time these are mild and will pass in time.
Prozac for Dogs Side Effects
Side effects of Prozac for dogs can include stomach upset and loss of appetite. In rare cases, more serious effects could include seizures, itching, insomnia, and diarrhea.
See What the Veterinarian Thinks
If you decide to wean your dog off of Prozac because of the side-effects, talk to the veterinarian first. In most cases, the mild gastrointestinal upset will go away on its own. It’s important to give Prozac for dogs time to work. That can take several weeks.
There is a free tapering guide available for you at the bottom of this post. Just enter your email and submit!
STEP 4: Begin the Weaning Process
Remember, there’s no hurry. Assuming you’ve got the go-ahead from the veterinarian, here are the steps:
- Decrease the original dose by 1/2 (one-half) for 4 weeks. Monitor your dog, and if he continues to do well, halve the dose again after 4 weeks.
- Wait and monitor for another 2 to 4 weeks.
- At the end of 8 weeks, it should be safe to totally discontinue the medication.
Just like humans, dogs have different requirements. The size of your dog, the starting dose, and the dog’s health and behavior will all play into the weaning process. That’s why it’s always good to get some professional advice.
STEP 5: Monitor Your Dog
Continue to monitor your dog’s behavior and reactions for up to 4 more weeks after he or she has completely tapered. It’s important for you to monitor your own behavior as well.
Your dog needs to see you as the leader of the pack at all times. It’s hard to establish a new routine, but important to maintain the expectations you’ve given the dog.
When it comes right down to it, you have to decide if it’s safe to keep the dog. That’s not easy to be objective about! Sometimes antidepressants will go a long way in reducing fear and anxiety in such a way that the dog is able to relearn behavior. That’s exactly what you want.
The gorgeous pit bull in the image below is currently looking for his forever home.
If a dog doesn’t feel that there’s a pack leader available, his dominant behavior will take over. It’s a matter of safety in the wild. Your dog might sleep on the bed, but deeply ingrained in his brain are thousands of years of DNA that continue to dictate what he needs to do to survive.
Without a strong pack-leader, your dog reverts to the expectations of the wild.
When you give your dog the signal that you are in charge, your dog can relax and follow. A well-adjusted dog that gets appropriate exercise, discipline, and reward, is a powerful thing.
Canine Anxiety and Prozac for Dogs
Veterinarians have been prescribing antidepressants for dogs since the 1990’s, long before they were approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for canine use.
Prozac Was Approved For Use In Dogs in 2007
After the official approval to medicate dogs with Prozac by the FDA, more studies emerged.
The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) found that a significant portion of the population (1/4 of all dog owners) leave their pet alone in the house for 5 hours or more.
It was also found that at least 250,000 dogs are never walked.
Dogs are not designed to live in solitude. Dogs, as noted above, need a pack to feel balanced and secure. Of course, if you’re like me, you need to work to put food on the table. That means my dogs have to be alone for at least parts of the day.
If your dog is destroying your house while you’re away, he or she might be suffering from separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is a condition the affects your dog’s ability to stay at home alone,
Prozac for dogs is used to help with severe anxiety and aggressive behavior. As you begin to wean your dog from the antidepressant, watch for signs of returning anxiety including tail chasing, excessive licking, etc.
Dog training should be part of the treatment plan so that as your dog is weaned from Prozac, the former behaviors do not return.
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Congratulations! You’re on your way to weaning your dog successfully off of Prozac.