Prescribing Prozac for dogs raising questions for pet owners

The bond between people and their pets is hard to describe. Pets are loyal, usually love being around you and can be very expensive. Owning a puppy or any pet for that matter costs some kind of maintenance. But how far are pet owners willing to take that kind of bond?
Recently, I came across a story on ABC Nightline about dogs diagnosed with extreme anxiety and vets prescribe Prozac for them as a solution. According to the story, nearly 3 million dogs in the U.S. are prescribed anti-anxiety medication. That’s a pretty big number, and to add on, what does that say about our society when even our pets are taking medication? There’s a line between being a concerned pet-owner and a crazy cat lady who takes it too far.
“I think that giving dogs Prozac is crazy,” said Beatrice Pierre, a human performance and health promotion major, in an interview. “I would never think of that as my first choice to give my dog.”
In an online article on, author A.M. Harrowitz details how she picks up the prescription for her dog at a pharmacy and mentions that she spends $70 on a generic version of Prozac. It seems like everything else that they tried such as dog trainers, dog whisperers and collars did not work, while Prozac did. Later in the article, she said her dog started to bark for his meds as if he was begging for a treat.
“I have a nine-month lab mix, and he used to be very anxious about being alone,” said Kristina Graves, a nursing student at MSC. “The doctor prescribed Prozac and I wasn’t sure at first. But it has helped a lot and he doesn’t need it anymore.”I do agree that dogs, like humans have emotions and fears. But also like humans, I believe that there other solutions than turning to drugs as the first option to help with anxiety. Spending time with the pet more than usual, and giving the pet the attention it needs could solve the problem. Many humans may start to become dependent on prescription pills and dogs could experience the same dependence as well.
This concern is apparently very common for dog owners and sometimes doing what’s best is giving the dog the prescribed medication.
To refer back to ABC Nightline’s story, the two dogs mentioned had very high anxiety and could not be left alone for more than two hours. Concerned pet owners are like concerned parents. Do you accept treatment for your child to get better, or do you try everything else before giving your child prescription drugs?
These are the kind of things you would have to think about when caring for a pet. Prozac given to dogs isn’t new. It has been going on for a very long while now.
Overindulged dogs has been a part of our American culture for years (for example, Elle Woods from Legally Blonde and her getting her dog manicures). Perhaps, pet owners giving their dogs Prozac are just glad they aren’t chewing anymore doors, or digging into the hardwood floors. Give the dog their medication and you can check your emails at ease.

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