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Roger L. Welton, DVM
Roger L. Welton, DVM, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 1452
Experience:  Licensed Veterinarian, Practice Owner, and Book Author
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I have a five year old yorkie male. He was neutered at 1 and

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I have a five year old yorkie male. He was neutered at 1 and 1/2 years old. I have two concerns:
(1) he licks the air for no apparent reason. He started this about 1 1/2 years ago. We have tried antidepressants, but they did not work;
(2) he has been potty trained, but consistently also goes in the house. He will pee outside and then I will find small puddles in the house - not enouogh where it looks like he couldn't hold it anymore. He sometimes poops in the house after pooping outside as well.

He is kenneled during the day when I am at work and at night to sleep.

What do you think is going on and how can I stop it?
Which anti-depressant medication did you try?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

amitriptyline - 10 mg 1/2 pill twice a day.

Thank you. Amitryptilline is my preference for cats, but for dogs, I prefer fluoxetine for obsessive/compulsive behavior (more on this below). Fluoxetine is the generic of Prozac, same effectiveness, MUCH less costly.

The air licking your little dog is exhibiting is text book obsessive compulsive disorder, which is repetitive behavior engaged in, in misguided attempt to quell underlying anxiety. In short, your Yorkie is a nervous little dog, and the air licking (and likely the inappropriate urination) is his attempt to alleviate that.

As such, I recommend two things. As previously stated, I am not a big fan of amitriptylline for dogs with OCD, but favor fluoxetine. Therefore, I believe anti-anxiety medications are appropriate, just a different medication. The first thing I would do is contact your vet to discuss dosing your dog with fluoxetine.

Next, the very best treatment for OCD, better than anything else, is exercise, AND LOTS OF IT! All that pent up nervousness and anxiety that drive his behaviors needs to be expended. As such, I would have him walking a brisk pace every day, gradually working your way up to 45 minutes to an hour of walking. Walking in this manner not only expends energy, but also naturally raises seratonin, statistically 50% as effective as fluoxetine, while lowering the stress hormone cortisol. Plus, its healthy for both you AND Buster.

Lastly, I would try very hard to keep as calm an environment in the home as possible. Dogs are very in tune to our emotions, therefore, when humans in the home are in discord, upset, bickering, raising their voices, or just generally stressed, it affects dogs much more than most pet owners would care to realize, and this is especially true of sensitive little terrier alert to our every move. It may be a good idea to have soft, classical music constantly playing, and try to keep televisions and stereos at reasonable volumes so as not to startle the little guy.

Roger L. Welton, DVM and 3 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Connie,

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

Roger L. Welton, DVM
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

We have gone on a couple of walks in the evenings when I get home from work in time. He seems to enjoy the walks and is "tuckered out" when we get back. I have also tried leaving music playing for him, however, I am the first person to leave the house and other family members have turned it off before they leave the house.


So far, he has only had one potty accident since our first conversation.


I plan to make him an appointment with the vet to see about getting him on the medication you recommended.


Thanks for following up!