Pet Calming Medications
Modern veterinary medicine has discovered medications that are safe to use for calming pets. Some of these calming medications are the same ones used for humans who have anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorders.
Although medicating your pet might be one of the last options recommended by veterinarians, these drugs have proven helpful in many cases unresolvable by other means.
Acepromazine is a sedative commonly used by veterinarians to help prevent vomiting caused by anesthesia. However, it has also proven to be a suitable calming medication for pets needing quick, temporarily relief.
For example, dogs easily excited by thunderstorms or fireworks have benefited from the situational use of acepromazine. According to the website VetInfo, side effects can include pink urine. Overdoses are characterized by lethargy, slow pulse, seizures and staggered movements.
Amitriptyline, sold under the brand name Elavil, is a tricyclic antidepressant used to calm certain pets that have anxiety issues or aggressive tendencies toward other animals with which they cohabitate. Another drug in the same class, also given to calm pets with anxiety issues, is clomipramine, sold under brand names including Clomicalm.
Tricyclic medications prevent chemical imbalances in the brain over time and are therefore best suited for animals that need continual help calming down. Pets taking this medication need extra water to prevent urinary tract infections, according to VetInfo.
Other possible side effects common to tricyclic antidepressants include constipation, dizziness, dry eyes, dry mouth, lethargy, loss of appetite. nausea and urinary retention, according to VetInfo.
Fluoxetine, sold under the brands Prozac or Reconcile, treats pets who need help calming down from panic or anxiety attacks, among other conditions.
Fluoxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI, that works to balance the release and absorption of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Side effects can include sore throat, runny nose, diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, lethargy, loss of appetite, weakness and weight loss, according to VetInfo.
Hydroxyzine Pamoate, sold as Vistaril, is actually an allergy medication. However, because it sedates the central nervous system, it can be effective at calming pets.
Possible side effects, according to VetInfo, include dizziness, lethargy, blurred vision, confusion, dry mouth, nausea and vomiting.
Anxiety and Calming Medications
Many calming medications for pets are necessary because of anxiety issues. Most veterinarians recommend behavioral training and altering the environment, in combination with medications, to address the bigger problems that made the drugs necessary in the first place.
Counterindications and possible side effects should be part of the conversation owners have with their veterinarians before committing to any medications, according to VetInfo.