Separation Anxiety in Dogs - Xanax, Prozac, Herbs or Homeopathy?

There are several ways to deal with separation anxiety in dogs. Let's look at the pros and cons of anti anxiety meds, herbs and homeopathic remedies for dogs as well.

Dogs get sad and worry too but we can help them.

Before you get too deep into this page I want you to know I'm a natural kind of gal and stay away from drugs whenever possible. But what if your dog is making you crazy and you're worried about him (or her)?

Maybe the neighbors complain about incessant barking or you come home to find things chewed up or claw marks on the door or window sills.

I seem to run across more and more people who use Prozac for dogs. Xanax for dogs is gaining popularity as well. What are we thinking?

Anti anxiety meds alter brain chemistry, cause a chemical dependency and put stress on the internal organs as they try to filter these unnatural toxins out of the system. They have side effects as well.


Side Effects of Prozac and Xanax for Dogs

Let's start with Prozac side effects. Here's the list from WebMD. Keep in mind that unlike us, our dogs can't tell us how they are feeling. Here goes...

throat irritation, sinus irritation, congestion, dry mouth, indigestion, drowsiness, dizzy, trouble sleeping, excessive sweating, involuntary quivering, rash, loss of appetite, yawning, nausea, head pain, diarrhea, feeling weak, anxiousness, hives, chills, trouble breathing, restlessness, hyperactive behavior, eyesight problems, ringing in the ears, abnormal heart rhythm, widening of blood vessels, constipation, itching, hair loss, joint pain, fever, flu symptoms, weight loss, excessive thirst, fast heartbeat, cough, chest pain, gas, frequent urination, stomach cramps, confusion, spasm of the larynx, bronchospasm, stomach/intestinal ulcers, hepatitis, bleeding of stomach or intestines, skin inflammation, seizures, swollen lymph nodes, vomiting, abnormal liver function, life threatening allergic reaction, giant hives, slow blood sodium, increased risk of bleeding, teeth grinding, mania, low blood pressure, bleeding from uterus, sun sensitive skin, loss of memory and coordination, painful urination, low blood sugar, mood changes and loss of sense of reality.

Now let's take a quick look at the side effects of Xanax for dogs...

drowsiness, dizziness, skin inflammation, rash, low energy, restlessness, stuffy nose, increased saliva, lack of coordination, head pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, abnormally low blood pressure, liver problems, seizures, giant hives, blurred vision, eyesight problems, dry mouth, constipation, milk discharge in both males and females, muscle spasms, muscle weakness, lack of focus, loss of memory, fluid retention, cannot empty bladder, feeling weak, increased levels of prolactin in the blood, mild mania.

Call me crazy but don't dogs have enough health problems already?  Before I share some of the homeopathic remedies for dogs (which by the way, have NO side effects) let's talk a bit about the cause of separation anxiety in dogs.


Causes of Separation Anxiety in Dogs

While dog anxiety has different causes and levels such as a dog who is nervous and shaky all the time to a dog who is fine until there is a thunderstorm, each can be helped without drugs but let's get back to the main subject first.

Even separation anxiety in dogs can be caused by many things. A puppy taken away from its mother too early or too late; traumatic events or even a lack of socialization. A dog separation anxiety happening later in life it can be due to any significant change in the household. An addition, someone moving out, or even fighting between human occupants. Or perhaps the dog's main caregiver has had to go to work full time after being at home.

If your dog simply isn't used to spending time alone, he may not adjust well. Of course dogs are pack animals but there is more to it than that and here are some more natural options to help him cope.


Homeopathic Remedies for Dogs

Sometimes we need to try more than one homeopathic remedy to get the result we would like but there are general guidelines to get you started. There's also a course you can take, but I'll give you a link for that at the end.

  • One of the most common homeopathic remedies for separation anxiety in dogs is Pulsatilla nigicans (Pasque-flower). For the dog who seems fearful or highly emotional when left alone and is clingy when you are with them.

    Generally given in the 6c or 30c potency either orally or in his water bowl.
  • If your dog is destructive, especially when you are gone; wants constant love and companionship and may also be terrified of thunderstorms and fireworks you can try Calcarea phosphorica (Calcium Phosphate) first.

    Generally given in the 6c or 30c potency either orally or in his water bowl.
  • If you have a trembler, Gelsemium (Yellow Jasmine) is a good choice for those canines with anticipatory anxiety and is often used for separation anxiety as well. This poor pup may get so upset he has diarrhea or involuntary urination when left alone.

    Generally given in the 6c or 30c potency either orally or in his water bowl.

To learn a lot about homeopathic remedies for dogs here's a link for a course you can take. It's provided by a veterinarian I trust. I'll tell you up front, it isn't cheap but I think it a wise investment that may save you a ton of money in the long run and maybe even your dog's life in an emergency. It's called Homeopathy Miracles in Healing


Herbal Remedies for Separation Anxiety in Dogs

I don't want to confuse you with too many choices but I do want you to know there are many ways to help your dog and that's what the Three Little Pitties website is all about. Choices. Learning what you are comfortable using and becoming familiar with non-toxic choices.

Also, if you're a regular reader you know I  promote NSP (Nature's Sunshine) products. If you're a newbie, please read why I chose them on my page called Why NSP? (and how to get a discount.)

Here are three good choices for dog separation anxiety:

  • Both Chamomile and Passion Flower help with anxiety and Nature's Sunshine has a nice formula called Stress J which you can get in either capsules (stock No. 1084-1)  or in liquid (stock No. 3163-3) that's very helpful. Passion flower is a non addictive calming anti-convulsant and the chamomile is a sedative that calms the tummy as well. All without messing with the brain so your dog won't be acting like a druggie.
  • Concentrated extract of Kava kava (Stock No. 405-9) reduces anxiety, relaxes tension (including muscle tension), and calms restlessness. It's a good choice for a tense, nervous or anxious dog. You can give the capsule or open and sprinkle it on food.


My Own Experience with Separation Anxiety in Dogs

While the remedies I have listed will certainly help, do take a look at his food because you can't see nutrition and it affects both physical and emotional health. Also consider his environment and his life experiences so far. I say this because in the case of my daughter's dog, I had it all wrong.

I thought Lulu was high energy and aggressive toward strangers so  no one ever took the poor dog out anywhere. We thought if we could control her better, we could burn some of that crazy excess energy and maybe get a calm hour a day.

Living near Minneapolis, my daughter chose to put Lulu in a 30 day boot camp at Red Star Kennels in Wisconsin. It was horrible being away from her and I worried every day. I was also worried about the outcome. Turned out I was completely shocked at the outcome. I will be grateful to Irena for the rest of my life.

Lulu wasn't hyper or particularly aggressive. She was fearful from lack of experience in the big wide world and the dog who used to bark constantly; race around the house; follow us like there was a six inch string attached and drove us nuts simply didn't know how to be alone.

She now enjoys walks, car rides and even chooses to spend time alone in her always open kennel/crate. And when we leave the house for several hours, we put her in the bedroom with her crate. There is no need to close the door to the crate and the neighbors don't hear a peep out of her.

While it's sad it took us seven years to find the answer, at least it was found and you know what? I am grateful every day of my life that Lulu is in it. She is a totally awesome dog.


What I'm saying is ...

Please don't give up on your dog. Separation anxiety in dogs is curable. Like us, you may just have a diamond in the rough. Here's a couple snapshots of our nervous ball of energy now.


No longer suffering from separation anxiety, sometimes I have to go look for Lulu. Wow what a change.
There was a time just hearing the camera click would send her into motion. The first picture woke her and this was her reaction.

› Separation Anxiety in Dogs