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Doc Sara
Doc Sara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 952
Experience:  I am a dog and cat veterinarian with a lifetime of experience in our family veterinary hospital.
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I have had 2GSDs of years. I lost a male last year. Now the

Customer Question

Hi,
I have had 2GSDs for lots of years. I lost a male last year. Now the female has gone SO anxious whinging all the time. She actually tried to kill a little dog walking past. She is locked up now, and allowed inside at night. We got another male puppy but she is the boss. Is there anything I can give her to calm her down?
Thanks
Jan
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

Hi there- I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a licensed veterinarian who works exclusively with dogs and cats. In addition, I have experience with working German Shepherds and Schutzhund dogs.

German Shepherds are, by their nature, high needs animals. They have a high prey drive, which is part of the reason that they are easily trained and make such great protection dogs. Unfortunately that prey drive can often lead them to attack smaller animals that they consider prey - like cats and small dogs. They are also quite vigilant and skeptical of strangers, but if well bred they should be sociable enough to trust in all situations. That combination of high drive and high need for attention is what often drives shepherds "over the edge" behaviorally. They are a bit like hot race horses that need to be run (or in the case of a dog, worked) in order to stay sane. It sounds like your girl was quite attached to your male, and I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. He was likely a stabilizing force in your home. Now that he's gone, she's lost some of her structure and is beginning to break down behaviorally. Sometimes just starting some basic obedience training or tracking/nose work can kick a shepherd's brain back into gear and get them onto more of an even keel. These dogs really need an outlet for all of that prey drive and vigilance, otherwise they will unfortunately turn that energy into unproductive behaviors like whining, panting, pacing, barking, and destructive behavior. I've seen dogs with owners ready to euthanize that became sane companions again just by entering basic obedience class and more regular exercise.

To directly answer your question, though, there are medications that can settle a dog's anxious mind. Unfortunately, it's not likely that any over the counter remedies are going to be powerful enough for what you're describing. Potentially if you see improvement in her behavior with an increase in her daily structured activity and training, an over the counter calming product like the DAP collar (stands for dog appeasing pheromone), Composure Pro, or Rescue Remedy. However, I think that based on the severity of what you're describing, you'll need to discuss anti-anxiety medications like fluoxetine with your veterinarian.

I sure hope that this info is helpful to you - please let me know what other questions I can answer :)

~Dr. Sara

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