How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask smanimalvet Your Own Question
smanimalvet , Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 1111
Experience:  Practicing vet with focus on advanced medicine and surgery.
Type Your Dog Question Here...
smanimalvet is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have an 11 year old shih tzu who has some major anxiety issues.

This answer was rated:

I have an 11 year old shih tzu who has some major anxiety issues. There have been many changes in the past 4 years including him becoming paralyzed in the back legs, moving and adding a baby to our family. In addition to the anxiety, he is agressive. Now that our son is 2 we have to keep our dog gated in a separate room. I walk him once a day, recently had a behaviorist give us tips, and give him 10-20 mg of clomicalm daily. His anxiety has become so bad that he has diarrhea, pants, paces and barks constantly. No one is experiencing a good quality of life right now. Is there hope for our situation? Suggestions for a next step?

Hi There-

I am glad to her that you contacted a behaviorist but unfortunately it sounds like that isn't working the greatest. I do have some other options of things that you can try for anxiety. Most behaviorists recommend not using just one medication to treat anxiety. They actually recommend using 2-3 different approaches in each case of severe anxiety.

It doesn't sound like that clomicalm worked too well. We often have to give any medication at least a month before we make the decision that it is working but in this case it sounds like it has actually become worse. Clomicalm is a tricyclic anti-depressant so that means we should stay away from this class of medications. Other options include.

1. Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitors: Prozac is probably the most often one of these we use. It is available in a veterinary approved form called Reconcile

2. Benzodiazapines: We often use Alprazolam (Xanax) in dogs in combination with either clomicalm or reconcile. This acts on another pathway.

3. MAOi's: Sometimes the change in behavior can actually be cause by canine cognitive dysfunction. This is a syndrome in older dogs that is similar to senility in people.

4. Thunder Shirts: These you can purchase online and are 100% guaranteed so if it doesn't work, you can send it back. Sometimes these can work wonders.

5. DAP: DAP stands for dog appeasing pheromone. It comes in collars or in diffusers which both emit a calming pheromone that is supposed to be effective in dogs.

So, as you can see, there are many other options and actually they are not that expensive. the next step for me would be to combine 1 and 2 and add in either 4 or 5. If those don't work then try number 3. Again, you have to do multiple different medications at the same time to really see the ultimate effect and we know that, just like in people, some dogs respond better to different medications. And we need to give them about a month to start really working.

I hope that helps! Please let me know if you have any further questions!

smanimalvet, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 1111
Experience: Practicing vet with focus on advanced medicine and surgery.
smanimalvet and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Kathy,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Wicket. How is everything going?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for following up. I have not been able to get into our vet yet, but when I do I will ask about the other med options. What kind of dosage of Alprazolam is recommended? He is only 14 lbs. Do we have to be concerned about effects of the kidney with additional meds?
I forgot about DAP. We did also try that with no luck. I may look into trying the Thundershirt as well. The barking is starting to make us all a bit cranky!
Alprazolam has a pretty wide dosage, depending upon the degree on anxiety, I usually start with a middle dose and go up if need be. Alprazolam should have no effect on the kidneys. I hope it works!

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
< Previous | Next >
  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
  • $1,000 spent at his vet, and I finally get the correct diagnosis from Nancy Holmes for $15 Carol Cedar Hill, MO
  • I think this is the greatest web site in the world. Thanks to all! Judy New Haven, CT
  • I have referred several friends to your web site. I'm impressed with how easy it is to use your site, the Experts available and the quickness of answers. Nina USA
  • I am completely pleased with the quick response that I received in our time of need for our dog, Jasmine. I couldn't believe how quick the response was and I thank you. It's good to know you're there!! Jasmine's Mom USA
  • Please let everyone involved with your site know that your Expert, Dr. Lucy, has saved my dog's life. I will recommend your site to all my pet loving friends. Thank you again for simply being there! Sonya G Easley, SC
  • Last night my Expert spent close to 3 hours working with me on my dog's illness. Thank you so much for this opportunity to share in her care and knowledge! Cathie M Pompano Beach, FL

Meet The Experts:

  • Dr. Gary

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
< Last | Next >
  • Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • Joan's Avatar


    Vet Tech

    Satisfied Customers:

    Vet Tech for over 35+ years working w/Dogs/Rescues
  • Candy's Avatar


    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
  • Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    UC Davis Graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • Theresa's Avatar


    A Voice for Your Pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    19+ years experience in small animal medicine
  • 's Avatar

    Satisfied Customers:

  • Dr. Drew's Avatar

    Dr. Drew


    Satisfied Customers:

    Small Animal Medicine and Surgery

Related Dog Questions