Can Medication Cure My Pet’s Anxious Behavior?

pet behaviorEveryone knows that pets, especially dogs, can be excitable creatures – perking up and freaking out at new visitors, treats or other animals around. While having a lively pet is part of the fun, sometimes that excitement has to be kept in check.

Training your pet is an important step in the process of pet ownership and it is a crucial one, providing a blueprint for you and your animal to process new things and find a balance between excitement and bad behaviors.

Unfortunately, some pets suffer from stress and anxiety that goes beyond simple excitement and exposure. Whether the animal suffered some trauma in the past, or if they are just a breed that is more prone to anxiety, training may not be enough to help. If you and your vet have determined that your pet is in need of more than just the right training, anxiety medication can help.

The Conversation Around Pet Medication

Most people don’t hesitate to take medicine if they get sick or have a cold. The idea of taking something to help is common. The only exception is when it comes to mental health. There is still a stigma for humans that suggests needing medication is a sign of weakness or failing. In recent years, that stigma has been slowly changing but is nowhere close to gone. Understandably, that stigma applies to our pets as well.

Some people look at pet medications as a sign of failure in the training of an animal. Science is proving this conversation needs to change. While people are quick to accept physical differences in breed and understand how that contributes to health, many can’t make the connection between those differences and mental health. For example, even experienced dog owners know Chihuahuas tend to be anxious, but may not accept that such a behavior can be helped.

While medications are not magic bullets, when used as part of training and behavior modification regimen, they can greatly help pets who suffer from fear and anxiety. For example, if your dog struggles with storms and you live somewhere with plenty of bad weather, anxiety medications may help you.

The Science behind Anxiety Medication for Pets

Whether it’s in a dog or a person, a brain uses the same mechanisms to work. They transmit signals to react to things or achieve tasks. Using this knowledge, there are proven medicines that help fight anxiety on a chemical level.

These anti anxiety medications work to reduce the signals that cause an overdrive of fear. While they have some side effects, the medications for pets have improved significantly over the last 20 years in both effectiveness and price.

These days, the potential benefits for pets greatly outweigh side effects, if you work to manage the usage properly and work with the right medical professionals. However, you might still see side effects such as upset stomachs, constipation, or a lack of energy for the first week or two. If your pets experience more serious side effects, your vet can help manage them by changing medicines or dosages.

The Future of Anxiety in Pets

As human understanding of the brain increases, this knowledge filters down to benefit our pets as well. Medicines are improving and becoming less expensive as time goes on. While they are not meant to be used on their own without reinforcing behaviors and good training, they can help you cross the threshold as an owner.

If you have a dog or a cat with serious anxiety or aggression issues, contact us today at Riverside Animal Care.