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Do Dogs Take Human Antidepressants?

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A few human anti-depressants have been approved for dogs by FDA. For example, Fluoxetine being sold under different brand names (Prozac, Reconcile, and Sarafem) is mostly prescribed by veterinarians for dogs. The FDA-approved form is labeled to treat separation anxiety and can be helpful in controlling stress. Keep reading to know more about some of the best human antidepressants dogs can take.

Need to know “How to Cheer Up a Depressed Dog”? Click here to learn more.

What Is the Best Antidepressant for Dogs?

Prozac is a very common medication used in dogs and other pets for lowering anxiety and depression. It’s safe and there’s a lot of experience and knowledge using this medication. Read on to learn more about this drug.

NOTE: Make sure to always check with your vet before giving any medications to your dog.

What is Prozac?

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Prozac is a Fluoxetine-based medicine and is categorized as an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) medication. It can fix several behavioral issues, like separation anxiety, depression, and aggression in dogs.

Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter that carries messages between nerve cells in the brain and throughout your body. It affects multiple body functions, like mood, sleep, mood, cognition, reward, learning, and memory. When levels of this neurotransmitter are high in the brain, it’s thought to improve mood and decrease depression.

Is There a Natural Antidepressant for Dogs? Click here to find out.

Onset of Action

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Prozac takes about 4-6 weeks before you will see any clinical effects. One can’t expect an overnight improvement with this kind of medicine. Many times, dose adjustments or even change in medicine is needed depending on the dog because each dog has a different response to a particular medicine. Some dogs might show quick improvements while others may not show any effect at all.

Dosage

The dosage of Prozac depends on the problem to be treated as well as the size and health condition of the dogs. Usually, it’s given in the form of a tablet from the mouth. The usual dosage is 0.5-0.9 mg per pound orally once a day. For example, a 50-pound dog will take 25 to 45 mg of the drug per day.

Prozac usually comes as a 10 to 20 mg tablet. It’s highly recommended to consult your vet for knowing the precise amount of dose for your dog.

How Do You Increase Serotonin in Dogs? Click here to learn more.

Side Effects and Risk Factors

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Common side effects include drowsiness and loss of appetite. Vomiting, diarrhea, incoordination, weight loss, and salvation are other common drawbacks of this drug. Dogs who have suffered from seizures in past or are taking medications for lowering seizure threshold shouldn’t be given this medicine. Similarly, pets younger than six months or known for aggressive behavior must be kept away from Prozac.

Moreover, dogs who are already prescribed MAOIs shouldn’t take Prozac. Overdosage is also a big risk with Prozac or any other Fluoxetine. It can cause tachycardia, drowsiness, tremor, nausea, and vomiting. Therefore, it’s critical to give the right dosage for your pooch.

What to Do in Emergency?

If you suspect any adverse reaction to medicines like seizures, muscle twitches, and imbalance, call your vet’s office immediately. If they are unavailable, contact any renowned medical facility.

What Antidepressant Can I Give My Dog?

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Reconcile is a Fluoxetine Hydrochloride drug specially designed for dogs. Let’s compare it with Prozac and see how it can be better for your pooch.

Benefits of Reconcile Over General Fluoxetine

  • Reconcile, like Prozac, is an SSRI that reduces depression by increasing the amount of Serotonin. However, it’s made in form of a chewable tablet so that your dog takes it more willingly. Moreover, it is easier for pet owners to administer than generic fluoxetine tablets.
  • Reconcile is available in four convenient potencies that are, 8 mg, 16 mg, 32 mg, and 64 mg. It helps in providing accurate doses to dogs of all sizes.
  • Each bottle of Reconcile comes with the company’s attached prescription attached to it. It provides an accurate dose for dogs as well as the implications and side effects based on clinical tests in dogs.
  • Reconcile comes with a Bond behavioral modification plan that was particularly developed to work in conjunction with the medicine. It also features pet owner educational materials and technical support for veterinarians.
  • Reconcile is cost-effective for owners as it costs roughly one-third of the cost of a generic fluoxetine tablet. However, this cost distinction is not true for the generic capsule formulation.
  • Reconcile is offered by a trusted manufacturer in the veterinary community that provides veterinary technical support .

Effectiveness

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In a study, 229 dogs were assessed at 34 research locations across the United States and Canada. Reconcile chewable pills were given to 172 randomly selected dogs at a dose of 1-2 mg/kg/day, whereas 112 dogs were assigned to the control group.

There was simultaneous behavior adjustment for both groups. Reconcile chewable tablets substantially outperformed the control tablet in seven out of the eight weeks in terms of the percentage of dogs with improved total separation anxiety levels. The trial was concluded with the following results.

  • Percentage of dogs improved with only bond behavioral modification plan: 51%
  • Percentage of dogs improved with Bbnd behavioral modification plan along with Reconcile: 73%

In comparison to dogs who received the control tablet, dogs treated with Reconcile chewable tablets 
displayed reduced destructive behavior, excessive vocalization, and restlessness. Furthermore, dogs in both groups improved against inappropriate urination, defecation, excessive salivation, excessive licking/grooming, shaking/shivering, and depression. 

Overall, the severity of separation anxiety improved faster in dogs given Reconcile chewable tablets than in dogs given the control tablet. Individual scores for excessive vocalization and depression showed the same effect.

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