Anxiety in dogs can be just as complicated as it is with people. Actually, it can be tougher to deal with because dogs are not able to talk to you and tell you what’s wrong. From separation anxiety to sudden anxiety disorder the minds of our lovable companions can be a worrisome place. Toy breeds, such as Pugs, shadow us and rely on us heavily for emotional support therefore they are often susceptible to anxiety disorders.
We were recently introduced to an anxiety issue with our pug, Martini, which eventually became unbearable. Martini has always been very clingy when it comes to my wife and I. Separation anxiety is something that usually only worries us when we are away for vacations because one of us is home most of the day.
Martini’s situation became different when she developed sudden anxiety disorder. She would get in “real fights” with her Shih-Tzu sister, Bella, which would result in biting and sometimes blood. It would happen when Martini would get startled by unexpected sounds such as knocks on the door, dropped objects, loud storms, or dog barks. When this happened all of the sudden she would attack her sister violently! She would also get jealous if my wife was holding Bella and attack her sister then as well. Not only would Bella get injured but we would as well just being in the same proximity.
Martini’s emotional problem began to rule our home as my wife and I were walking on egg shells trying not to make sudden sounds, etc. It was no way to live. Finally, after the worst fight we had ever seen we decided it was time to take action. We decided to get with our Vet first and discuss our situation.
Dr. Wagner has been our well-respected Veterinarian for the past two years and has a Boston Terrier child of his own. He gave us several options and suggested that we put Martini on an anti-anxiety medication, Amitriptyline (10MG) and we now give it to her twice a day. Upon doing some research, I have found this medication works by increasing the levels of neurotransmitters and was once prescribed to humans. The neurotransmitter “serotonin” seems to be responsible for helping with anti-anxiety.
Another option our Vet gave us was the use of the Dog Appeasing Pheromone (D.A.P.) Spray. This clear odorless spray prevents fear or stress-related behavior in dogs by simulating the pheromones which a female dog secretes to comfort their offspring. 8-10 sprays liquid in the common area of the dogs does seem to help the situation but we use it sparingly as it is pricey.
Overall the situation in our household is night-and-day compared to what it used to be! Martini occasionally becomes startled, but when she does she does not attack – in fact we have not had one fight since. We do not know if she will always be on the medication, but the medication is a small price to pay for the peace, harmony and happiness of our pets. Our Pug will never be perfect, but that is part of the reason we love her so much!
by Eric Rankin