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Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 853
Experience:  Relief Veterinarian at Aloha Animal Hospital
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I have a 6yr. old black lab mix, who has terrible anxiety

Customer Question

I have a 6yr. old black lab mix, who has terrible anxiety issues. At first he wasn't too bad, although he sticks to me like glue, and barks at my husband whenever he leaves and/or returns home. I noticed an increase in his anxiety when I brought home a pointer mix from the shelter I volunteered at. The pointer mix presented herself as a "cool, calm, and collected" puppy. Well, now, after almost 3 yrs. together, our pointer mix is trying to "boss around" our black lab mix. (she DOES) listen to me, as I've always been the Pack Leader. Our lab mix's anxiety is getting worse! He whines, barks, and cries every time my husband gives me a hug or kiss; he is beginning to lunge at my husband, barking and protesting our hugs, kisses, etc. He does NOT bite any one, but I imagine dealing with this heightened anxiety was be terrible to deal with! I TRULY want to help him become less anxious!!
Sharon E. Suter
Marlborough, MA 01752
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Drhollowayvet replied 5 months ago.

Hello Sharon, this is Dr. Holloway but you can call me Dr. H, and I am a licensed veterinarian. I can sense your frustration and also love for your pet Brendan. Dealing with anxiety at this level can put a damper on our relationship with our pets. Luckily there are effective ways to deal with pet anxiety. Here is the most effective combination treatment for pets that works nearly 100% of the time.

1) Behavioral modification training- an animal behaviorist offers the most thorough assessment of your pet and the best recommendations for treating their specific anxiety triggers. They are better than simple dog trainers because they have the proper training and expertise to deal with every dog situation. Although don't get me wrong there are probably some really fantastic dog trainers out there, but you know that you are getting quality when selecting specifically for an animal behaviorist. Here is a website link to help you hopefully find one in your area:

2) Anti-anxiety medication- if the conservative plug-in diffusers didn't work for Brendan then the next step is going for medical intervention. My top picks for managing pet anxiety is : Fluoxetine (Prozac) and Clomicalm (pet formulated anti-anxiety medication). These are very effective long term treatments. Some pets require the use of both a long term treatment and a short acting medication (such as the Acepromazine you currently use) or Amitryptilline or Diazepam (Valium). Although a majority of pets that require the short term treatments have things like storm or noise phobias.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you would like to continue the discussion or if you are content with the recommendations so far.

Here is also a client education link to the use of Fluoxetine (Prozac) in pets

- Dr. H

Expert:  Drhollowayvet replied 5 months ago.

I see you had a chance to review my reply. Do you have any further questions for me at this time?

- Dr. H