My dog has always been the nervous type, but this past year her anxiety has escalated to the point where she's a basketcase more often than not. We're exploring medication options. Blizzard inside.
We have an 8-ish (maybe?) year old rescue beagle that we love to pieces. [Obligatory photo
] She's always been a nervous and anxious dog, but over the past 12 months we've noticed her anxiety has really escalated. Years ago it started with mostly storm and firework phobia, which I'm familiar with from dogs I've lived with before. The summers were rough, but she was mostly fine in the winter. After an unfortunate incident with a faulty carbon monoxide detector a few years ago, she also became afraid of certain high pitched noises, including but not limited to the ding from the toaster oven. We love her so much I got rid of the toaster oven 3 years ago.
Fast forward to about 3 months ago: the battery in one of our smoke detectors started to die. The smoke detector chirped 3 -5 times before I managed to change out the battery. Since then, her overall anxiety has noticeably escalated. She's been reacting to sounds on the TV, which she's never done before (whistles during football games, elevator dings, bird chirps, basically any high-pitched noise). Within the past month, she's had 2 episodes that I can only describe as panic attacks, where her anxiety suddenly skyrocketed for no reason apparent to us. During one of the episodes, she was clawing at our bedroom door in an effort to get inside - something she's never done before.
We're at the point where we feel some sort of medication is necessary to make her life less miserable and to keep her from potentially hurting herself.
Difficulty factor: the vet prescribed Prozac, but after 3 days of pills she was more nervous than ever and refusing to eat anything at all. We have discontinued the Prozac on the vet's advice.
We're getting ready to try Zylkene
, a "natural" anxiety medication, but I don't have high hopes for this stuff. I mostly agreed to try it because it has little to no side effects. If (when?) this fails to work, what else should we try? What are you experiences with medicating anxious dogs? I hesitate to try another SSRI because of side effects, but the vet has offered to let us try something else on her if we want to.
Possibly relevant details:
- Despite being a beagle, she is not at all food motivated and has always been a difficult/picky eater. One of the side effects with the Prozac is anorexia, which is a real problem. In the 3 days she was on Prozac, she went 2 days without eating.
- When she's anxious, behaviors including: pacing, restlessness, panting, refusing to eat, generally acting clingy, cowering/hiding, constant alertness with ears pinned back and sometimes nervous licking.
- She already has a thundershirt/thundercoat. It helps to a minor degree. She still gets nervous, but it seems to help her calm down slightly more quickly than without it.
- She has a crate that she loves and hides in frequently.