Got an Anxious Pup? Here are the Best Anxiety Meds for Dogs
If your dog suffers from anxiety, you know how disruptive it can be. Before you go anywhere, when a storm hits, or if you know you’ll have people over, you have to figure out a way to help your dog calm down.
The best anxiety meds for dogs can be a viable solution to reduce the impact of anxiety on your dog’s quality of life.
Wondering what you can give a dog for anxiety? As it turns out, you have options.
Dog anxiety meds range from Prozac for dogs to Zoloft for dogs and beyond. Here, we’ll walk through the prescription and over-the-counter products you can consider.
What Causes Anxiety in Dogs?
Anxiety in dogs can happen for many reasons. Sometimes, the true cause of anxiety can go far deeper than an in-the-moment trigger.
- Genetics can make a dog more prone to anxiety. There are some breeds of dogs, including German shepherds and Labrador retrievers, that simply tend to get more anxious than others.
- Life experiences can make a dog anxious. If a dog has suffered through a traumatic event, such as neglect or abuse, that can lead them to suffer anxiety attacks, too, later on in their life.
- Concomitant (or simultaneously occurring) medical conditions can trigger anxiety. There are some medical conditions, like chronic pain or even hormonal issues, that can make it more likely that a dog will be anxious. (The same goes for humans, in many cases.)
- Finally, some environmental factors can increase the likelihood of anxiety. If you’ve recently changed environments, gotten a new pet, or introduced another significant change into your dog’s life, just know that could result in anxiety.
Unfortunately, some level of canine anxiety may simply be a part of your day-to-day experience as a dog owner.
That doesn’t mean it’s something to dismiss or downplay, though. Anxiety can have real effects on your pup’s quality of life.
The Impact of Anxiety on a Dog’s Health
Do you have to do something about your dog’s anxiety, or can you just let it run its course?
That likely wouldn’t be in your dog’s best interest—or yours.
Being anxious regularly can worsen existing health problems for your dog, so if they have allergies or a heart disease, calming their anxiety can help reduce symptoms or progression of their condition. In some cases, anxiety can even weaken your dog’s immune system, which can make it more likely that they will get sick in the first place.
Finally, severe anxiety can also exacerbate behavioral problems. If your dog is consistently anxious, they may become aggressive or indulge more frequently in destructive actions.
How Can I Tell if My Dog’s Suffering from Anxiety?
With dogs, there are some recurring signals that they’re experiencing anxiety. Some common symptoms or signs include:
- Howling, barking, or whining more than usual
- Incessant pacing
- Any unusual digging or destructive chewing
- Hiding or cowering
- Unexpected accidents, especially if the dog is already house-trained
- Biting themselves
- Excessive panting
- Vomiting or diarrhea that can’t be explained by something they recently ate
If you realize your dog is exhibiting any of these signs, it’s important to do something quickly. The longer a dog has untreated anxiety, the more difficult it can be to manage their symptoms and help them experience relief.
And, to make matters even more urgent, know this: Chronic anxiety in dogs can lead to serious health problems, just like it can in humans. Talk to your dog’s veterinarian if you suspect that your dog is suffering from chronic anxiety to determine a high-quality treatment plan as soon as you can.
Which Prescription Anxiety Medications for Dogs Are Best?
If your veterinarian recommends anxiety medication, that can be a good thing—it represents a way forward for you and your pet. However, there are many canine anxiety meds on the market, and it can be difficult to understand your options.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the most common anxiety meds for dogs so you can make an informed decision.
Prozac (Fluoxetine) for Dogs
Prozac (fluoxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI. It works by ensuring that there are higher levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with reduced anxiety and increased happiness, in the brain.
Prozac may sound familiar; it, like many of the other drugs on this list, is an anti-anxiety drug that can be effective for humans as well as pets. However, it’s important to make sure that you talk to a vet and get a formulation and dose for your dog instead of giving them a prescription meant for humans.
As you get your dog started on Prozac, you’ll likely notice symptoms ranging from lethargy to diarrhea and vomiting. These effects are usually mild, and, as your dog gets used to treatment, they’ll go away. If the side effects persist or become more serious, contact your doctor.
You can buy Prozac through NorthWestPharmacy.com for about $3.25 per pill and the generic for much less.
Zoloft (Sertraline) for Dogs
Zoloft (sertraline), like Prozac, is an SSRI. It also works to boost serotonin levels in the brain.
Zoloft and Prozac are similar in many ways. Zoloft may be a little more prone to causing increased aggression in some dogs, though, as you figure out the correct dose.
Zoloft, or Prozac, or many of the drugs on this list, may be recommended for use when you observe the following behaviors in a dog:
- Separation anxiety
- Generalized anxiety
- Social anxiety
- Noise phobias
- Travel anxiety
You can buy Zoloft through NorthWestPharmacy.com for about $1.50 per pill and the generic for even less.
Anafranil (Clomipramine) for Dogs
Anafranil (clomipramine) isn’t an SSRI. Instead, it’s a type of drug known as a tricyclic antidepressant, or TCA.
This medication can be extremely helpful for dogs that struggle with either anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorders. It elevates the levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine, another neurotransmitter related to mood, in the brain.
After a dog starts taking Anafranil, there is a chance they’ll experience side effects ranging from increased urination and constipation to drowsiness and dry mouth. Make sure that you tell your dog’s veterinarian about any other meds your dog may be taking, too, as Anafranil can interact with many other medications.
You can buy Anafranil through NorthWestPharmacy.com for about $0.90 per pill.
Paxil (Paroxetine) for Dogs
Paxil (paroxetine) is an SSRI, like Prozac, that can treat anxiety in dogs effectively. It can help dogs manage many phobias or anxieties, ranging from storm and noise phobias to separation or generalized anxiety.
In some cases, Paxil is quite effective in treating aggression in dogs—which can be caused by unmanaged anxiety.
You can buy Paxil through NorthWestPharmacy.com for about $1.75 per pill and the generic for much less.
Elavil (Amitriptyline) for Dogs
Elavil (amitriptyline) is a tricyclic antidepressant, like Anafranil. If your dog is suffering from anxiety or related behaviors, Elavil can help elevate the levels of norepinephrine and serotonin your dog has to work with, which can help boost their behavior and mood.
Good signs that your dog may do well with an antidepressant include if they soil themselves in the house, engage in unexpected destructive behavior, or pace and whine frequently without any clear cause.
Possible side effects of Elavil include:
- Dry mouth
- Increased thirst
- Urinary retention
While these side effects should go away with time, if your dog experiences them at all, it’s a good idea to take careful note of any side effects your dog may exhibit and work with your doctor to find a treatment plan that minimizes chronic side effects.
You can buy generic Elavil through NorthWestPharmacy.com for about $0.30 per pill.
Buspar (Buspirone) for Dogs
Buspar (buspirone) is neither a TCA nor an SSRI. Instead, it’s a class of drug called an “anxiolytic” medication. It works by binding to the brain’s serotonin receptors, which can have a positive effect on mood and anxiety for dogs.
Since Buspar isn’t a TCA or SSRI, in some cases, it can be used in conjunction with one of these other types of drugs to treat more severe anxiety disorders that aren’t responding well to one medication alone.
Like many of the drugs we’ve discussed, Buspar does come with its share of side effects. To keep side effects low or manageable, it’s a good idea to start your dog off on a low dose of Buspar, if at all possible, before ramping up the dose as needed.
You can buy generic Buspar through NorthWestPharmacy.com for about $0.35 per pill.
Over-the-Counter Anxiety Meds for Dogs
Prescription pet medications aren’t the only solution you can leverage to treat your dog’s anxiety. There are other options, such as OTC meds, that can provide the efficacy you seek.
Some popular options for over-the-counter anxiety medications for dogs include:
- Benadryl, or diphenhydramine. Benadryl is an antihistamine that can be used to treat congestion, cold, and flu-like symptoms, but may also provide anxiety-reducing benefits.
- Melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that can help regulate a person’s (or dog’s!) sleep and wake cycles. It can also help treat your dog’s anxiety.
- L-theanine. L-theanine is an amino acid. It’s commonly found in green tea, and it has relaxing and calming effects for people and dogs.
- CBD oil. CBD oil can treat anxiety effectively in dogs, and it’s generally safe. However, before giving your dog CBD oil (or any of the prescription or OTC meds we’ve mentioned), please speak with your veterinarian to make sure it’s a good choice for your pet specifically.
Are There Other Ways to Manage Dog Anxiety?
Whether you’re trying alternative methods before opting for medication or you’re interested in seeing if you can pair a medication with behavioral interventions, you’re in the right place.
Here, we’ll discuss three further methods you can pursue in addition to OTC and prescription meds.
Behavioral Training and Therapy
Investing in behavioral training can be a great way to help your four-legged best friend manage their anxiety. Professional dog trainers and behaviorists can help you understand how best to modify your dog’s behaviors or accommodate their triggers to move forward in the most helpful way possible for everyone involved.
Creating a Calm Environment
If you’ve ever suffered from anxiety yourself (or helped a loved one through a nervous episode or panic attack), you know that changing your environment can help you achieve a more calm and centered mindset.
The same goes for your dog. If your dog has chronic anxiety, consider reducing environmental noise, tackling clutter in your home, or simply providing your dog with a designated bed or crate where they can go to feel safe.
Investing in Routine and Consistency
Just like for humans, having a consistent, expected routine is important for dogs. Give your dogs regular exercise, feed them at the same time each day, and if you know your dogs will be undergoing a significant lifestyle change (e.g., if you’re traveling or moving), try to ramp them up into the change slowly.
(And give them extra treats as they navigate the change.)
Buy the Best Anxiety Meds for Dogs Through NorthWestPharmacy.com
Depending on your local vet’s office and local pharmacy, you might find that your options for high-quality dog anxiety meds are few and far between.
Here’s the thing: In an increasingly globalized world, why should your healthcare options be limited by borders?
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Let's address these concerns. Every day, our dedicated team collaborates with a select group of international and Canadian pharmacies, ensuring that you receive only authentic pet and human medications. And, with third-party certification from groups like CIPA, you can rest assured that your beginning-to-end experience with NorthWestPharmacy.com will be safe and secure – from medication quality to internet security.
Ready to get started? Browse our extensive catalog, enriched with detailed guides on each medication. Once you've made your choice, ordering medication by mail is a breeze, whether online or over the phone. And soon, your dog anxiety medications will be on their way to your doorstep.
Call our friendly, responsive team today at 1.866.539.5330 to get started. We look forward to supporting you and your healthcare journey!