Home / Dogs / Fluoxetine (Prozac) for Dogs

Fluoxetine (Prozac) for Dogs

By | Last Updated : 13th April 2018

What is Prozac

Prozac, with the active ingredient fluoxetine, is an antidepressant belonging to a drug class known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) [4]. It is used in veterinary medicine to manage separation anxiety in pets, curtail aggression (like excessive barking, or even biting), and encourage proper behavior in them [3]. There is also a veterinary formulation of the generic fluoxetine available for dogs, marketed as ‘Reconcile’.

Can dogs safely take it

Prozac itself is not approved by the FDA for use in animals but may be prescribed by vets off-label for managing the above-mentioned issues in dogs. Reconcile, on the other hand, is FDA-approved for use in dogs, but only for the treatment of separation anxiety, though it may be prescribed for the other issues as well [3].

It is essential that you give the drug only after a certified vet prescribes it for your dog. Even though it is a prescription medication, some people may use Prozac from their own prescription to give it to their pets, which can be quite harmful.

Quick Information

 

Prozac for Dogs

Generic Name

Fluoxetine hydrochloride

Brand Name

Reconcile, Prozac

Type

Antidepressant

Who can take it

Dogs, cats

FDA Approved

Reconcile, only for separation anxiety [5]

Availability

Prescription

Available forms

Chewable tablets

How does Prozac work in dogs

Fluoxetine increases the serotonin levels in the brain by decreasing its metabolism rate [6]. This promotes the feelings of being content and overall happiness of the dog, in turn decreasing anxiety and depression. It can take up to 4-6 weeks before it starts to work, with visible effects [6].

Prozac dosage: How much to give

Make sure to follow the vet’s prescription. The dosage usually prescribed is 0.5-1 mg per pound (1-2 mg/kg) of a dog’s body weight, administered once every 24 hours [3]. It is recommended to ensure that the doses are given at about the same time every day.

If you miss giving a dose, give it as soon as you remember, unless it is already time for the next dose. It is not recommended to give two doses at once.

Weaning your dog off Prozac

Like in humans, it can lead to certain signs of withdrawal in pets, which might be avoided or minimized by weaning the dog off it. Vets usually recommend decreasing the dose by a quarter at first, continuing for a few days. It is further reduced to half of the original dose, giving that for a few days, before further decreasing it by ¾th until your dog is left with just a ¼th of the initial dose. Then, your vet may suggest stopping the medication altogether after continuing with the quarter dose for 2-3 days.

What are the possible side-effects

Side effects are quite common with the administration of Prozac, but you may help keep them to a minimum by following the vet’s instructions. The adverse effects may include:

  • Panting [3]
  • Lethargy [3]
  • Shaking [3]
  • Restlessness, and hyperactivity [3]
  • Temporary lack of appetite [3]
  • Aggression (a rare sign where your generally peaceful dog becomes suddenly hostile) [2]
  • Stomach upset [3]
  • Changes in weight [1]
  • A runny nose [1]

Apart from these, an overdose may even lead to seizures in your dog [3]. It is recommended to get in touch with the vet or promptly get in touch with the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Helpline (1-888-426-4435) if you notice any of the above.

Contraindications: When not to give

Inform the vet about any conditions your dog may have or any medications it might be on [3]. Prozac is usually not given to dogs that have [3]:

  • Hypersensitivity to the drug
  • History of seizures
  • Kidney and liver issues
  • Diabetes

The medication may interact with certain other drugs like digoxin, diazepam, MAO inhibitors, phenylbutazone, and buspirone.

References

    1. The Side Effects of Fluoxetine for Dog Behavior Treatment – VetInfo.com
    2. Fluoxetine for Veterinary Use – WedgewoodPetRX.com
    3. Fluoxetine (Prozac®, Reconcile®) for Dogs and Cats – PetPlace.com
    4. Fluoxetine – 1800PetMeds.com
    5. Reconcile ™ – FDA.gov
    6. The Benefits of Prozac for Dogs – Care.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *