Dog Anxiety Medications

Dog anxiety medications can assist in the treatment of chronic separation anxiety symptoms in dogs. A word of caution though, there are  a lot of natural therapies and over the counter medicines that are designed and tested for human use and these should never be given to your dog. Many people think that if a medication has worked for them, it will work for their dog too. This is not the case and you may risk causing permanent damage to your dog or at the very minimum, make him sick.

There are many dog anxiety medications available through prescription from your veterinarian. There are also a number of natural remedies available online which do not require a prescription. Always consult with your veterinarian before buying and using these types of medications or natural remedies for your dog.

Anything you give your dog outside of his normal diet has the possibility of causing harm, so be sure what you decide to give your dog will not harm or make him suffer either now or in the longer term.

In this article we will look into the three most commonly prescribed dog anxiety medications and how they work. They are;

  1. Clomipramine.
  2. Fluoxetine.
  3. Alprazolam

Dog Anxiety Medication – Clomipramine.

Clomipramine is a tricyclic antidepressant approved for veterinary use in dogs. Clomipramine is available by prescription only. Clomipramine is most commonly used to treat behavioral disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder, dominance aggression, dog anxiety and urine spraying.

What are the benefits of clomipramine?
Clomipramine results in increased serotonin levels within the brain. Increased serotonin levels help to decrease the sensation of anxiety and stress.

What are the risks associated with clomipramine?
Clomipramine may cause loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, elevation of liver enzymes and sedation. Clomipramine should be used with caution in dogs who have any pre-existing seizure disorders.

Are there concerns about long-term use of clomipramine?
Clomipramine is metabolized primarily in the liver and long-term use can cause an increase in the liver enzymes. It is recommended to have the liver enzymes monitored through blood tests both before and during administration of clomipramine.


Clomipramine is a type of drug that may need may need to be taken for several weeks before therapeutic effects are noticed. It will need to build up in your dogs system and then the levels will need to be monitored.

Fluoxetine.

Fluoxetine is also known as puppy Prozac. Fluoxetine is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor, or SSRI, which are a group of drugs used in humans to address depression, anxiety disorders, compulsive disorders, and difficulty in managing aggression. In the veterinary world fluoxetine is one of the few drugs approved by the FDA for use in the treatment of separation anxiety in dogs. Fluoxetine is a prescription drug and is not available over the counter.

Use and Benefits of fluoxetine?
Fluoxetine is commonly used in behavioral modification. It’s primarily used to treat separation anxiety, and a lot of behaviorists use it to calm dogs enough to work in a number of behavior problems. Fluoxetine is an adjunct therapy meaning that is used with the presence of another. In other words this medication would be used in conjunction with behavior modification training to gain best results. Fluoxetine will allow you to get the dog calm enough to train it and to address its behavior problems.

Are there risks using fluoxetine?
The main risks of fluoxetine are gastrointestinal upset and the risk of negative interactions with other drugs. Pet owners just need to make sure that, if they see more than one vet for some reason, all their vets know their pet is on fluoxetine.

Are there concerns about long-term use?
Fluoxetine is not really intended for long-term use. It is generally prescribed for short-term use, just until the behavioral modification treatment shows progress.  A few months of use is considered a normal time. A few dogs may not respond well to behavior modification treatment and may have to take fluoxetine for a prolonged period, perhaps a year, but this would be an exception to the rule.

Any other things to know?
The only real issue is to that you must tell your vet that dog is taking fluoxetine. If you attend your vet and there is a new vet attending your dog, you must inform them as other medications the vet might prescribe might not mix well with fluoxetine. Drug interactions are the main cause for concern with this drug.

Alprazolam.

Alprazolam is also know as Zanax. It is basically a sedative type of drug and has the ability to calm when anxious feelings occur. It is not FDA approved for use in animals, however many dog owners report that it has been an effective sedative.

Use and Benefits of alprazolam?

Alprazolam is a mild tranquilizer used to reduce anxiety in dogs. It is classified chemically as a benzodiazepine tranquilizer. It is usually prescribed for situations when severe anxiety is triggered by and outside influence, for example when a thunderstorm is about to hit.

Precautions and Side Effects.
While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, alprazolam may cause side effects in some animals.

Alprazolam should not be used if the dog has muscular weakness or eye conditions such as glaucoma. Alprazolam should be used with caution in animals with liver disease.

Alprazolam may interact with other medications. Consult your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with alprazolam. Such drugs include other central nervous system depressants, digoxin, phenytoin and theophylline.

The most common side effect is excessive sedation and loss of motor control, but these effects occur at doses greater than those needed for its anxiety-reducing effect.

In some animals, alprazolam may cause over excitement or worsen aggression.

Are there concerns about long-term use?

Alprazolam has been know to be addictive which means long-term treatment can lead to physical dependence, which can result in undesirable behavior changes if the drug is abruptly discontinued.

Learn more about other ways to treat dog anxiety on our article titled Dog Anxiety Treatment. We hope this article has helped you understand a little more about dog anxiety medications.

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Comments

  1. If all else fails, dog anxiety medications may be the right choice for your dog. Those potential side effects need to be closely monitored though.

    • Hi David,

      I agree that medications can be useful but should be considered as a last resort. The implications of having your dog on medications long term can intensify the possibility of a range of other health problems so careful dosage and monitoring are essential.

      Thanks for your comment.

  2. It’s great to have this information about dog anxiety and dog anxiety medications. Going to the vet is expensive, so it’s good to be informed and have questions ready beforehand. Thank you for the helpful article.

    • Thanks for your comment Lina,

      I’m glad you found this information useful. It is best to know about the side effects and risks of any medication before agreeing to put your dog on medication. It is also good to know how side effects present physically in your dog because they can not tell you if they are feeling sick after taking the dog anxiety medication.

  3. Thanks for a great post. I agree with David, it’s good to know that if every thing else fails there is dog anxiety medication available to help your dog with its anxiety. And the more you better about medication (for dog anxiety or anything else) the better.

    • Hi Weekend Getaways,

      Thanks for your comment. It is best to be informed about anything you are planning to give your dog. Along with prescribed medications there are lots of herbal remedies available. Most dog owner thing that herbal remedies are a safer option but can in fact be dangerous to your dog. It is always best to check with your vet before starting your dog on any type of medications, herbal or prescribed.

  4. Hi Bev,

    Never thought about dog anxiety meditation before until I read your post. Interesting one. Should ask my wife to read it as she is a dog lover too.

    • The Puppy Persuader says:

      Thanks for your comment Wilson,

      Dog anxiety medications is not something you would know about unless you had visited your vet and asked about anxiety treatments. Medications should be thought as a last resort and only to be used under strict supervision and monitoring.

      Dog anxiety medications can be a useful tool used with behavior modification training , for example fluoxetine anti anxiety medication.

      I’m glad you found this post informative.
      Cheers!

  5. Hi Bev,
    Putting your dog on medication to treat anxiety is a big decision to make, so thanks for providing some great information to help make the correct decision.
    Cheers,
    Cade

    • The Puppy Persuader says:

      Hi Cade,

      Yes, there is a lot to think about, dogs can communicate how they are feeling, but not as well as people can. Their cues can be easily misread and this is why you need to be properly informed about the different types of dog anxiety medications, how they work and their side effects so you can monitor your dog properly.

      Thanks for your comment.

  6. Fantastic information on dog anxiety medications here Bev – and your dog images are just priceless.

    • The Puppy Persuader says:

      Thanks Jan,

      I tried to include information about the most commonly prescribed medications for dog anxiety. Of course there are many more, prescribed, over the counter and herbal remedies, but I couldn’t cover them all or this article would have gone on for way too long.

      Thanks for comment – and yes I try to images that are appropriate for each article – thanks for noticing that!!

      Cheers!!

  7. hi…, this medications can used for cats or not? because im still search medications for my cats.
    free phone movies recently posted..J. Edgar – BRRip avi mobile phone movieMy Profile

    • The Puppy Persuader says:

      Hi There,

      These medications are only for dogs and must only be prescribed by a vet after careful consultation. Felines (cats) are a different species – totally different!!

      Before giving your cat any type of medication please consult with your veterinarian. If you do not seek professional advice you could harm or even potentially kill your cat.

  8. Roy Stauffer says:

    If dogs can be given Xanax….how much would one give to a 100 plus pound Dog….
    Real question, really worried, and the vet is closed…..
    I am thinking about a half of the pink ones..
    any help would be appreciated

    • The Puppy Persuader says:

      Hello Roy,
      I am very concerned. You must always speak to a vet before giving your dog any medications. Formulations for dog medication and human medications can differ substantially. Dogs have different enzymes in their stomach to humans and giving your dog human tablets could make your dog fatally ill. Please, and I mean it.. please consult with your vet before giving your dog anything. I hope you get this before you treat you dog… : – (

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