Monday, November 21, 2011

Prozac for Dogs?

The FDA has approved Prozac, an anti-depressant for dogs.  Is your dog depressed?  How can you tell and should you give your dog Prozac to make him/her happier?  We give ourselves Prozac, our kids Ritalin, so why not give our pets anti-depressants?  We can't deal with life so why should our pets deal with life?  This is the most ridiculous piece of health news I've read all year.  The FDA and Eli Lilly who manufacturers Prozac should be ashamed of themselves.  This is just another way for Eli Lilly to add to their billions?  Who is going to pay for Prozac for their pets?  Will this be covered under pet insurance if you have it?

Let's get to the basics.  Why would your dog be depressed in the first place?  A dog would only be depressed if leave them alone for several hours every day without any interaction.  A dog would especially get depressed if you leave them chained up outside all day and night.  They would also get depressed if they are in a small crate all day.  Only puppies should be left in a crate until they are housebroken.  Leaving your dog in a crate or chaining them is cruel.  Dogs are social creatures.  They need lots of stimulation and interaction and their owners.  If you were chained to a pole all day, would you be happy?  Of course not.  If you feel you have no time for your pet, then maybe it is time to give your pet to someone who has the time your pet deserves instead of resorting to drugs.  Please keep in mind the risks of giving Prozac to your dog.  There are people who have become aggressive and have committed suicide while taking Prozac.  Maybe your dog can't commit suicide (although he may want to), he may become aggressive and maybe bite someone.  If he does bite someone, you may have to put him down.    

So what can you do if your dog has behavioral problems?  First of all, dogs are social creatures.  They need daily exercise, social interaction, love, and good nutrition just like you.  A dog that does not get all three can develop behavioral problems.  If you love your dog, do not ever chain them to anything or crate them for hours.  Exercise them every day, interact with them, and let them stay indoors especially during  hot or cold weather.   They are part of the family and should be treated that way.  Don't leave a solitary dog alone for more than 4 or 5 hours at a time.  4 or 5 hours to a dog feels like days.  Get another dog for company if you must leave for long periods of time  frequently.    Keep your dogs in one small room in your house (a large bathroom or large closet is fine if they are small dogs).  They tend to get into more mischief if they have too much space.   

Lastly, stop feeding your pets highly processed commercial pet food with by-products, additives, dyes, preservatives, and added sugar.  It's like feeding your kids fast food every day.  The additives, dyes, and preservatives can cause behavioral problems including hyperactivity, aggressiveness, and insomnia in dogs just as they can with your children.  Highly processed commercial pet foods will also increase your pet's risk of many diseases including cancer and diabetes.  They are cheaper but you will pay with higher veterinarian bills later.  The best food for your dog is organic chicken, brown rice, and vegetables with added supplements.  See my posting  Pet Health  for more information on dog nutrition.  If you cannot afford to do this, then at least buy organic canned pet food.  Make sure the USDA organic label is on the can.  Organix is a good brand.  Your dog will live longer and be healthier and happier.

If you dog still has behavioral problems after making the above changes, then you may want to try Rescue Remedy, homeopathic remedies, or other natural remedies (see link below).  I have only used Rescue Remedy with and the homeopathic remedy Nux Vomica on my pets.  If you want to try a homeopathic remedy, you should probably consult with a holistic veterinarian to evaluate your pet for the remedy that would work best.  You may also want to hire a professional dog trainer.          

Resource for natural remedies:

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