Behavior Mod.

Does a Destructive Dog Need Prozac?

Is that question for real??? I have heard people talk about this before, and IMHO it is irresponsible to even consider it without trying a lot of TLC first. So the following is one of my “rants”!

There may be a few rare medical instances where it could be called for, but I would have to let Dogington’s Dr. Chris address this issue.

Here’s why I feel so strongly about this: a couple of the first dogs we had were destructive, especially when pups. Fortunately, someone tipped us that it may simply be nothing more than lack of activity and exercise for them. So, we tested that theory out by keeping them penned in “their” special room when we weren’t home, then immediately took them for a walk or playtime when one of us got home. Problem mostly solved, and eventually they grew out of that frustrating little phase of their lives.

Have you ever had a bad case of cabin fever? You know what I mean, you have been holed up in your home due to bad weather or illness, and are absolutely climbing the walls to go outside and get a bit of exercise. This is exactly how your dog feels if they are constantly cooped up and never get to go for a run or walk. The problem with dogs is than many, if not most, will react to this feeling by being obnoxious, and taking their frustrations out by exhibiting destructive behavior.

So, does a destructive dog need Prozac?

To answer the question does a destructive dog need Prozac we first need to consider the dog and his circumstances. Yes there probably are times when certain breeds of dogs will benefit from a low daily dosage of medication to calm them down, but these are rare instances and should only be considered after all other avenues are explored, and a vet recommends it.

The best “medication” is get up off your butt and take your dog out for a walk or playtime, IMHO!

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Amanda

    May 27, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    As a commenter above noted, sometimes Prozac is truly needed for a dog’s well being. However, too many people leave their dog home alone all day and then become frustrated when they get home and something is torn up. Destructiveness = boredom in many cases. You’re an idiot if you get an Australian Shepherd and don’t do agility or some other activity with it. Get an older, less active dog if you want a couch potato.

    I work at a shelter, and we had a similar issue with a cat last year. It was adopted from us as a kitten, and even though the family had many cats before, somehow they were unprepared for the kitten’s energy level. They took it to the vet and tried to get Prozac for it. Thankfully the vet was a sane person and refused to put a growing animal on a med that would alter brain chemistry. The family then opted to have the kitten put down, at which point the vet took custody of the kitten and called our shelter to let us know what was going on. We got the cat back and his new adoptive parents haven’t had any issues.

  2. Erica

    May 27, 2013 at 10:48 am

    I have a foster dog on Prozac right now. It saved her life. She is a pit bull mix and was having issues with destructiveness and aggression (towards strangers and other dogs). I am an ultrarunner and a dog lover and work only 30 hours a week. She received lots of attention and ran over 50 miles per week with me – our runs regularly run 2+ hours. We work on training exercises everyday and until banned from the dog park, she played a lot of fetch. Exercise and attention is not an issue.
    She was to be put down as too many people have adopted her and returned her for destructiveness and being “out of control”. Even under my care the destructiveness, although not as severe, was still an issue.
    Unadoptable dogs have to be put down – we can’t handle the liability of her hurting another person/animal and frankly we are a small rescue group and there are too many dogs out there horribly suffering that we need to get out that we can’t have foster homes taking up unadoptable dogs.
    Prozac works. She is now adoptable. Prozac saved her life.

    • Ron Miller

      May 27, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      Erica – thanks for your input. You did exactly what we recommended: try everything else first, THEN try the Prozac if that’s not successful. I’m glad your story has a happy ending. Too many don’t.

  3. D2

    May 27, 2013 at 10:25 am

    1) People really need to think about the type of breed and activity level that work for them, BEFORE they get a dog. It may be breed, size or age. It may be your lifestyle, do you work 40 plus hours a week? A dog is going to need more than the weekend for exercise and time with you. Can you afford a doggie day care or someone to excercise your dog?

    2) When you figure out the above, look at rescues. I volunteer at a shelter, and I have a new understanding of the energy level of puppies and young dogs and those who are older and more settled.

    If you know your lifestyle and the time and energy you have to give a dog, then look for a dog that you think will fit well. Not just a cute face.

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