HELP-PROZAC for Separation Anxiety? - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-14-2008, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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HELP-PROZAC for Separation Anxiety?

I am new to this forum and need help. I have a 3 year old Hav that had some SA when he was a puppy, but in time got over it. However, 4 months ago he and I moved. We left my husband, my house, his yard, our short, we left everything we knew and moved to a new state, to an apartment instead of a house and the cat stayed with my ex. I know it takes time, lots of it, but in four months, he hasn't let me leave him once. Not even for 45 seconds. I've been doing what everyone suggests....leaving him for just a few seconds at a time, not making a fuss on leaving or him a special treat. But after four months you would have thought I'd make some progress. But no....he barks and scratches at the door non-stop. I can't crate him ( never did, so that would make it worse )
I went to a prominent Animal Behavior Specialist who reinforced what I am doing but also said he needed meds. She put him on RECONCILE, which is Prozac for dogs. She started him on 3/4 of a tablet ( each pill is 16 mg. ) My have is 15 lbs. It was way too much. He was paranoid and really lethargic.
Then I went down to 1/2 pill and then to 1/4 pill. He's only been on 1/4 pill for two days now. Has anyone used this drug with their Hav? Any success? Any negatives I should know about? I'm not happy about having him on meds, but I HAVE to be able to get out sometimes. I literally haven't been anywhere. I live on frozen food that I buy at a convenience store because dogs are allowed in those stores where I live. Is it possible he'll never get over his SA? I'm also considering getting another cat...probably a kitten, which might be better for him. Another dog is out of the question.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-15-2008, 06:26 AM
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I don't have any experience w/ Prozac, but I do have experience with SA. I'm surprised that drugs were suggested at 4 months, I mean...really, 4 months isn't that long, especially after a life-changing event like divorce. I have also gone through a divorce and I know how hard it was on me and my kids, but that was about 8 years ago and life is good right now, Looking back, it was the best decision I could've made.

Could it be possible that he's just picking up on some of your emotions? I know I had a rough time for about a year afterwards, but that's just me.

I would try to get him on a really strict schedule, I think that DOES help dogs and children w/ security issues. Like eating the same time everyday, taking a walk, grooming, playing, loving. And just give him a little more attention and love, and keep telling him that you aren't going to leave him...and that you are coming back in a few hours. I felt really corny explaining to my dog where I was going and when I'd be home, but that does seem to help. I will also sometimes bring home treats or toys, so she knows that when I leave..she may be getting a goodie when I get back. She really only cries for me if people are home and I'm gone, but if I leave her alone she will sit at the door and watch for me to come back. I know her whole world revolves around ME, the sun rises and sets around me and she just doesn't know what to do with herself if I am not here... as endearing as that is, it does upset me when she's upset..but I can't let on to her that i am upset too, I keep positive and upbeat.

Did the specialist suggest anything else besides medications?

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-15-2008, 06:31 AM
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Wow - that must have been very hard for you and your pup!! The only advise I can give you is that I do give Lily a generic Prozac or Zanax when we take long car trips as she is so agistated and scared that she shakes & cries the entire way. I dont remember how much but I think it is 1 1/4 pills.
I does calm her down, she still appears agitated by refusing to sleep, and whines every so often, but she is not shaking and breathing heavy. I am not sure if regular daily use is good. I would be sure to keep in touch with the vet if you are giving it daily.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-15-2008, 11:56 AM
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Personally I really don't like the idea of giving dogs drugs to quiet them up unless it's a long car ride. If when you leave your home and he cries and scratches and then you go back then you are reinforcing his behaviour. Bogart had a bit of SA when he was a pup. What I did was pretend I was leaving the house and closed the door. Then sat in the hallway (I live in a condo) and just listened. It was hard because Bogart cried and scratched and barked for about 1.5hrs straight. I just sat there and did not open the door or make a sound. When he was quite for about 10min I then went in and pretened nothing had happened. No treat, nothing. I did this a few times and then it was over with. Haven't had any problems since.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-15-2008, 12:16 PM
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I'm not in favor of the drugs for the reason they are not for the short term fixes, most of these types of drugs are for neurological problems and can have adverse reactions.

Please check with another authority on his behavior. Sometimes a good dog trainer can help. In fact, I have seen several episodes with the Dog Whisperer where he was dealing with this very same problem. Check out his tapes or one of his books, they may have helpful information.

Extra amounts of exercise seems to help a lot of these problems. Good luck

Sandi, taking a new road with Smarty and Galen
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-15-2008, 03:47 PM
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RJC, I am so sorry both you and your Hav are going through this life change. I think drugs can help both animals and humans get through tough times. But 4 months does seem like a short time. I have one of my dogs on a small dose of rescue remedy a day (it is a flower extract that relieves anxiety- you can get it online or at health food stores) and he has seemed much happier- yet most people use it only for car rides or thunder storms- but it has seemed to help Jasper. I think there are some good ideas already mentioned on this thread.
I certainly wouldn't get another pet until you can get your 3 year old Hav a bit more settled.

good luck and keep us posted.

Missy, Jasper & Cash
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-15-2008, 07:54 PM
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RJC. I just wanted to say that it must be hard on the two of you. Starting over is so hard........

I don't have knowledge of prozac but I would say go to another trainer who maybe could help without meds.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-15-2008, 09:59 PM
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Does he have a favorite bed, mat, etc.

Maybe he needs a smaller place when you are gone like an expen. I have seen those little fabric dog houses - I think Ryan has one for Beamer. That might be nice so he could get in something to make him feel secure.

Have you tried a kong with some peanut butter or treats inside.

When I leave, I hold my hand up and say "bye Sissy" - tell her where I am going - and that she'll be fine. We give her a treat when we leave and she is so excited about getting the treat she doesn't pay attention to us leaving. She has the run of the place now and doesn't whine, cry, etc. She use to - so it will get better.

Sorry you are going through a rough time.

Santa, Sissygirl
& Marie
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-15-2008, 11:24 PM
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I'm really sorry you and your Hav are having to go threw this tough time in your lives. Luckily I haven't had to deal with SA at home, but while traveling with Cooper in the motor home, he will go craaaazy when left alone. We'll come back from a quick dinner and he'll be so hoarse from barking that he has no voice left at all. The "neighbors" will let us know that he didn't stop barking the whole time we were gone. I understand how frustrating it is.

If you decide to stick with a medication, you might ask your vet about Doxepin, it can help a lot with OCD kinds of problems I know.


"The greatness of a nation and it's moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated"
Mahatma Gandhi
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-29-2008, 09:37 PM
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prozac/fluoxetine for SA

I know a bit about this in humans.
A child 60 to 90 pounds should not be started on higher than 5 mg!!!
An adult ( over 18 years) often use @ 20 mg at times higher depending.
Soooo. I think 16 mg is way too much, but I am not a vet.
Prozac has suspension that allow to titrate the medication with much lower doses.
It can be sedating , therefore if that is the case it should be given at night.
Hope it help
maria V
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