Fluoxetine for Dogs: Usage, Dosage, Side Effects
Like humans, dogs can have different behavioral disorders. One of the most common is separation anxiety, which can be challenging to deal with. However, separation anxiety and other anxiety disorders can be handled with certain medications, training, and the owner’s dedication. The active ingredient in many of these medications is called fluoxetine. If your vet recommended your dog take fluoxetine-based medications, here’s what you should know about it, its usage, dosage, and potential side effects.
Fluoxetine is an antidepressant. More precisely, it is an SSRI, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, which is a medication that will affect the levels of serotonin in your dog’s brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter associated with mood elevation and reduced aggression.
Fluoxetine is the active ingredient in several well-known drugs, like Prozac, Reconcile, and Sarafem. These drugs are developed for humans, but they are used off-label for taking care of different behavioral disorders in dogs. The most common uses are;
- Obsessive-compulsive disorders
- Separation anxiety
- Generalized anxiety
- Inappropriate urination and marking
When dog owners hear their dogs have to take certain medications, one of the first questions they will ask themselves and their vets is, “Is it safe for my dog?” Naturally, we want to help our dog, but we don’t want to do it with unsafe or risky drugs. This is especially true for dog owners who are not familiar with the fact that some human medications can be used to treat dogs. The good news is that fluoxetine is considered safe for dogs. However, since this drug is not explicitly developed for dogs, dog owners need to be extra careful with the dosages. They need to listen to their vet’s instructions and make sure they don’t accidentally overdose their dogs.
All drugs affect the body, and sometimes, the intended effect (treatment) comes with certain complications. Those complications come in the form of side effects. Brain-altering medications, like fluoxetine, are potent, and side effects are expected. The most common side effects of fluoxetine for dogs are;
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
These side effects are considered mild, and if you notice them, call your vet and let them know which side effects you noticed. Most of them are not a reason to be too worried. However, dogs can develop severe side effects in rare cases, like seizures, aggression, and constant vomiting. If those happen, you should immediately stop giving your dog fluoxetine and call your vet.
Another thing dog owners want to know is whether fluoxetine is effective. We want to know how fast the effects of the medication will be seen and when it will help our dog. No one wants to give their dog drugs that will be ineffective. The truth is - fluoxetine efficiency is about 60%. However, when the drug is combined with training, that efficiency increases. Dog owners need to understand that only giving their dogs meds will not entirely solve their behavioral issues. They need to invest time in modifying the dog’s behavior. It is a good idea to ask for a professional trainer’s help.
The exact dosage will be determined by the vet. They know the dog’s diagnosis and health condition, so they will adjust the dosage for the best possible effect. Don’t be surprised if the vet tries a couple of different dosages. This medication was not meant for dogs, so the vet might need some time to get it perfect. However, the usual fluoxetine dosage for dogs is 0,25 - 1 mg per pound of body weight.
The first thing you should know is that fluoxetine is a controlled substance. You cannot simply go into a drug store and buy it. If your vet thinks fluoxetine is the best treatment option for your dog, they will write you a prescription. Only then can you go into a pharmacy and get it. If you prefer ordering your dog’s medications online, you can visit Chewy’s online pharmacy. You can get generic fluoxetine pills there, but you will also need a valid veterinary prescription.
World Dog Finder team