Two months have passed since the last post about Milo. I felt it was time to give a progress update as there have been some changes. The first major one was to put him on an anxiety medication for dogs. The minor ones all came about because of it. So how is he doing? Let me fill you in…
Before I get to the changes I’ve seen in Milo, I’ll start with the decision to put him on an anxiety medication. His progress had once again come to a halt. No matter what I tried, he wasn’t getting better. I was frustrated and wondered if Milo would be better off with someone else more capable to help him. I seriously considered rehoming him. I was at a total low point.
Milo continued to be afraid of my husband. And my husband continued to be heartbroken and upset by not being able to pet and play with his own dog. It was a never-ending circle of them reacting to each other and feeding off each other’s negative reactions.
One day it was just all too much. I was in tears. I asked my husband if we should rehome Milo and get another companion for Luke. I was sure he’d say yes because of how many times he has vented about not being able to pet his own dog. His answer was a firm and definite NO. He said there is no certainty Milo would be better off somewhere else. My husband’s love for Milo shown through.
That was when I decided to take the next step. It was time to try anxiety medication for dogs. I researched it for days. It was hard to figure out which one because of Milo’s behavior is different than most fearful dogs. The majority of the articles and information is about aggressive fearful reactions. Milo does not have any aggressive behavior. He’s totally sweet and gentle. When he is afraid, he runs, cowers, and/or completely shuts down.
The most commonly used anxiety medication for dogs used is Prozac. However, after a bunch of research, I found Zoloft (sertraline) was recommended for his type of fearful behavior. I discussed it with my vet and she agreed to prescribe the lowest dose of Zoloft for him (25mg). I knew it would take 4 to 6 weeks to see any results.
The first few days Milo did not have an appetite, as expected. Then his appetite got back to normal so that was good. I did not notice any lethargy which was also good. He played with Luke with the same intensity as before.
Six weeks later we began noticing subtle and small improvements. He started being more curious and would sniff out more areas around the house. He came up to my husband to sniff his hand (on more than one occasion). His circling around the furniture when stressed has lessened. My husband said he could tell a difference in Milo. We decided to keep Milo on the medication and see how it goes.
Eight weeks later and we are still noticing tiny improvements and changes in his behavior. The only one I’d consider big is he finally, after 2+ years, pee’d while on a leash. I was so surprised! Zephyr and Luke stopped to sniff a bush and left their “mark” as usual. Milo went to the bush, sniffed, and left his mark too. Whoo Hoo! I’ve never been so excited about a dog peeing.
Another day Milo went to the back door and stood there like he wanted to go out. He’s never done that before. I let him out and he went down the deck stairs, sniffed around the yard, pee’d, rolled around in the grass, laid in the sun, then leisurely came back inside. For those precious moments, he acted like a regular dog. Of course, later that day he was back to his usual behavior: me having to call him to go out, hesitating to go down the stairs, and being startled by every noise.
Has it been worth it to put Milo on an anxiety medication for dogs? Yes. Is it a miracle cure? No. He still has a long way to go. Stay tuned for future updates on his progress.
Should you give anxiety medication to your fearful dog? I don’t have an answer to that question. You need to discuss it with your veterinarian.
Have you given your dog anxiety medication? If so, I’d love to know the results and effects. Please comment or send me an email.
Further reading: Milo’s Progress After Getting a Companion
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