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Separation Anxiety Medication?


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Guest coloratura113

Hello,

I've had my lovely grey, Finn, for a year and a half, now. She has always had very bad separation anxiety. I recently learned that she was raised in a severe neglect situation where she was constantly starved and deprived of water on a greyhound farm. I've tried all the standard separation anxiety training suggestions but none seem to work. Recently my vet recommended xanax. We tried it, but she had a bad reaction to it and was pacing and panting for a few hours, so that's no good. He then suggested Prozac and Valium (for until the Prozac kicks in). She's lost her appetite now, and her energy is much lower than usual, and she only got her first dosage of each last night. Is this normal? Any experience with meds and anxiety out there with the greys?

 

Thanks!

 

-Dani

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Those are possible side effects. What dosage of each is she on? You may want to work with a behaviorist who can work in conjunction with your vet on a behavior modification program while tweaking her meds, or go straight to a vet behaviorist if you can afford it. It can take some time to find the right balance of medications so don't give up too soon. One thing you can do to mitigate side effects with some meds is to introduce slowly so you don't start her on the full dose. However, if her anxiety is so severe that you risk her seriously injuring herself then it may be more important to just get her on the meds and tweak the dose back later if she's doing well and can handle it. One other option, talk to your vet about Trazodone instead of Xanax or Valium. If your vet isn't familiar and would be receptive I can point you toward a couple of studies that looked at its use in conjunction with Prozac with very positive results. Trazodone can cause sedation, but dogs seem to handle it better than Xanax/Valium, which are a different class of drugs, and Trazodone is believed to have a synergistic effect with Prozac, which may allow you to give a lower dose of the Prozac.

 

Disclaimer: I am not a vet and don't play one on TV. ;)

Edited by NeylasMom

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Everything Jey said times two.

 

You can also help by getting a couple DAP diffusers for your home, and maybe a collar for Finn. You didn't say whether or not you've done any Alone Training, or other behavior modification. There are a ton of threads here about separation anxiety and how to do alone training you can also read "I'll Be Home Soon" by Patricia McConnell for soem tips.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Guest kygreymom

We've tried Amitriptyline with some effect but not much. Now we're trying Prozac. So far after 3 1/2 weeks, we're not seeing any positive changes. He's still peeing in the crate even if we leave him for an hour. Not all the time, but most of the time. He's gone from walking into the crate on his own to us having to attach his leash and make him go into the crate. We're doing alone time training, feeding him in his crate and our vet recommended seeing a behaviorist. Has anyone seen the price of a behaviorist? Yikes. Yesterday I tried to cover his crate with a sheet. I think he may have freaked out later in the day because the shower curtain we have under his crate to catch the pee if he splashes it out, was torn in shreds. How he got to the shower curtain, I have no clue. I've been told it takes time and that he will be a different dog in 6 months. We've had him since August. I'm starting to think he thinks it's the norm to pee in his crate then get a bath everyday. I feel horrible for him. If he would stop the peeing in the crate, I could deal with the destructive behavior to blankets etc while he's in there, but would rather have him happy and not do either. So, we're working through the medication stuff too.

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We've tried Amitriptyline with some effect but not much. Now we're trying Prozac. So far after 3 1/2 weeks, we're not seeing any positive changes. He's still peeing in the crate even if we leave him for an hour. Not all the time, but most of the time. He's gone from walking into the crate on his own to us having to attach his leash and make him go into the crate. We're doing alone time training, feeding him in his crate and our vet recommended seeing a behaviorist. Has anyone seen the price of a behaviorist? Yikes. Yesterday I tried to cover his crate with a sheet. I think he may have freaked out later in the day because the shower curtain we have under his crate to catch the pee if he splashes it out, was torn in shreds. How he got to the shower curtain, I have no clue. I've been told it takes time and that he will be a different dog in 6 months. We've had him since August. I'm starting to think he thinks it's the norm to pee in his crate then get a bath everyday. I feel horrible for him. If he would stop the peeing in the crate, I could deal with the destructive behavior to blankets etc while he's in there, but would rather have him happy and not do either. So, we're working through the medication stuff too.

Please consider the behaviorist, or a vet behaviorist since you're struggling to find the right meds. I know it's not cheap, but consider your dog's level of anxiety on a daily basis and what that could be doing to him physically, as well as the toll it is taking on you. SA is HARD to deal with. You're a prisoner in your own home, you worry constantly about your dog when you're not there, you stop socializing as much, believe me, I've been there and I know how difficult it is. You are going to have this dog for his lifetime - the investment now in a SKILLED behaviorist or even a trainer with a lot of knowledge working with dogs with SA is worth its weight in gold. I a always happen to recommend good ones in your area, or even outside of your area who might consult with you via phone if you tell me where you are. One option might be to look into whether they are any trainers in your area who have been through Malena deMartini Price's training. She specializes in SA and has a program to train trainers (not necessarily behaviorists so costs may be lower) in working with SA. Many will remote consult with you since treating SA involves a lot of video anyway.

http://malenademartini.com/

 

Also, if you haven't tried your dog uncrated, please do. Some dogs cannot handle being confined, and many with SA are worse when crated. For one of my dogs, after struggling for quite some time including trying some different meds, I finally tried her out of the crate (she was a foster or I would have tried it sooner) and she was totally fine! It took her a few days to totally settle in, she would initially pace and check the door periodically, but that went away quickly.

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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If he has that much anxiety in the crate, you're not doing him any good medicating him. Dog proof a room and baby gate him in there for a short trial run and see how it goes. Just be aware you will have to re-start alone training sinc this is a new routine. Try a Kong with peanut butter frozen inside to hold his interest when you leave. Make your leaving extremely low key.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Third the suggestion to try not crating him--some dogs do well crated, others really do not. If you end up sticking with medications, in Leo's case, Prozac caused some temporary appetite suppression that passed quickly. We use Valium only for thunder storms, which he can't really handle them when we're home even, but it is a pretty sedating and I wouldn't like to use it frequently.

 

Xanax doesn't stay in the system that long, I wouldn't think it's a great choice for SA, unless you're only gone for very short stretches of time.

Beth, Petey (8 September 2018- ), and Faith (22 March 2019). Godspeed Patrick (28 April 1999 - 5 August 2012), Murphy (23 June 2004 - 27 July 2013), Leo (1 May 2009 - 27 January 2020), and Henry (10 August 2010 - 7 August 2020), you were loved more than you can know.

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What everyone else above said and try Richard's Organic Pet Calm from chewy.com. Although Trazadone did help Mazy with her extreme thunderstorm fears I wanted something non-prescription. Rescue Remedy had no effect. With the Richard's I give Mazy 1-2 full droppers in her mouth and she chills out without acting drugged.

 

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Guest GreyOrchard

Hello,

I've had my lovely grey, Finn, for a year and a half, now. She has always had very bad separation anxiety. I recently learned that she was raised in a severe neglect situation where she was constantly starved and deprived of water on a greyhound farm. I've tried all the standard separation anxiety training suggestions but none seem to work. Recently my vet recommended xanax. We tried it, but she had a bad reaction to it and was pacing and panting for a few hours, so that's no good. He then suggested Prozac and Valium (for until the Prozac kicks in). She's lost her appetite now, and her energy is much lower than usual, and she only got her first dosage of each last night. Is this normal? Any experience with meds and anxiety out there with the greys?

 

Thanks!

 

-Dani

 

If your greyhound was " constantly starved and deprived of water on a greyhound farm" then she probably was also kept in confinement....I doubt she had a big lovely grassy yard to run and play in, for example, and yet was starved. So chances are she had a crap life all around and still is carrying the trauma with her. I agree with the comments above that locking her up in a crate is, for her, torture, and most likely too similar to the past and making her relive it.

 

I should add here that I am an American living in Ireland for many years now, and until very recently had a greyhound sanctuary where I specialized in greyhounds found in very poor shape, both mentally and physically. I have had dozens of traumatized greyhounds and lurchers through my sanctuary, which was set up as a home environment and not as rows of kennels. I was hands-on with the dogs 24/7.

 

Typical separation anxiety techniques often do not work on greyhounds who have had a truly crap life, which is why so many people turn to drugs. I suggest you try something else completely different, and I only suggest it because I have applied this to all the dogs who have been through my hands, and it has worked for me. It might work for you.

 

First, if you are feeding her a dry dog food, check the protein % and check the preservatives and other chemicals.

 

If the protein % is more than 21%, immediately, starting today, cut it by adding cooked rice (white or brown) to the food. Add some shredded boiled chicken (about a heaping handful) or "chop meat" (mince meat) and a small handful of uncooked oats (oatmeal oats). Add boiling water, stir, and give it to her to eat.

 

Without going into a few paragraphs about why this helps, and why the oats are so crucial, the short explanation is that the higher the processed protein in the dog food, the greater the need for perservatives. Too high a % of processed protein will absolutely put a sighthound on edge AND there is a lot of discussion about what preservatives might do. Better she gets "real" protein, which has only positive effects. The oats, in short, are excellent for the central nervous system.

 

You might see some immediate positive reaction from her, or it might take a few meals.

 

If she has been on too-high protein and maybe perservatives all along, this would partly explain why she has not improved a lot.

 

If she is suffering from too-high protein, no amount of training or drugs can address this.

 

Please try this for 5 or 6 days before you determine if it has helped or not. It should. Would love to hear from you.

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