August 27, 2020 9 min read

Recognizing the symptoms of anxiety, fear, stress, and depression will help you keep your dog happy and relaxed. Understanding the symptoms allows us to intervene at an earlier stage, and to address these problems with veterinarians and behaviorists.

This article will show you how CBD may be used as an alternative to fluoxetine, and that it may be beneficial in helping canine depression, fear aggression, anxiety, separation anxiety, and more! That said, combining both CBD and doggie Prozac may depress the cardiac/respiratory system, and you’ll need to consult with your veterinarian before doing so.

Dogs don’t grow out of fear or depression. You’ll need to step in and help! The first thing to know is that you’ll need to make use of multi modal approaches and begin by helping your furry best friend relax.

Behavior modification, counter conditioning, as well as desensitization help will fear, but when your pooch is depressed, your veterinarian may recommend fluoxetine or doggie Prozac to help. This has proven to be very helpful with depression, and other behavioral issues in dogs.

That said, today CBD is trending as a natural supplement. Cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid receptors in dogs, which in turn helps to maintain homeostasis. If you’re considering using CBD on your dog instead of fluoxetine, you’ll need to consult with your veterinarian first for the best advice!

According toVeterinary Practice News, “Fluoxetine is a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI). That is to say, it delays re-absorption of serotonin into presynaptic nerve endings following its release by blocking the reuptake mechanism. This causes serotonin to persist for longer and thus enhances its effects,” Dr. Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, Dipl. ACVB,via Veterinary Practice News.

Dr. Dodman also goes on to add that fluoxetine also has two other actions. “Two other actions of fluoxetine, as opposed to other SSRIs, are that it is a potent 5-HT2C antagonist and a sigma-1 receptor agonist. Overactivity of 5-HT2C contributes to anxiety and depression so antagonism of these receptors may be advantageous. The sigma receptor agonist action may also be beneficial in some instances in producing antidepressant-like effects.”

“Another purported action of fluoxetine and other SSRIs is to stimulate neurogenesis (maturation of progenitor neurons) in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. In this way, SSRIs may act like Miracle-Gro for the brain. This effect takes time and may be responsible for the longish delay before SSRIs attain their peak effects.”


What Is It Used for?

Did you know thatfluoxetine is prescribed for dogs for a variety of behavior problems? These include the following:

  • Aggression
  • Anxieties
  • Aggression
  • Compulsive disorders
  • Phobias and fears
  • Destructive behavior
  • Hyperactivity
  • Allergies

Dogs and Depression 

Humans have an inability to properly diagnose dog depression, but keeping an eye out for it when certain situations come about can help catch it. Death of a pack or human family member can trigger depression, as do environmental changes such as a move or introducing a new person to the household.

Trauma from an accident or injury can also trigger depression. Boredom from lack of stimulation or activity plays a large role in depression, as does abandonment and changes in the owner’s daily routine.

Keeping your dog fit and active with plenty of mental stimulation, dog park off-leash hikes, pet vacays, interactive dog toys, high-quality dog food formulas,rooibos tea, and regular veterinary care is beneficial in warding off the canine blues. Keep in mind that depression does affect pets when kids go back to school or college, and that increasing exercise schedules by means of longer walks, and pl enty of one-on-one time together helps minimize anxiety. Keeping your dog busy, loved, and mentally stimulated is key to a happy dog.


CBD for Depression

Symptoms of Depression

If you’re wondering as to whether you can replace antidepressants withCBD, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian first because you’ll probably need to gently reduce the medication to minimize the withdrawal symptoms related to SSRI meds. You’ll also need to find out why your dog may be anxious or depressed and to treat the underlying health condition if there is one. Your veterinarian will be your go-to expert each step of the way!

Depression is often brought on by the illness. Giving your dogs the best in veterinary care?

Maintaining regular physicals at least twice a year guarantees the knowledge that yourpet's depression is not brought on by an illness. Brain chemistry is also affected by your dog’s

sense of smell.

Certain smells like lavender may improve his mood by changing his brain health. Increasing exercise andgrooming your dog regularly with gentle and relaxing bathing products also helps to stem canine depression.

Symptoms may include: 

  • Lethargy & lack of interest in the interaction
  • Anxiety
  • Noise phobias
  • Whimpering
  • Whining
  • Mopey
  • Extreme dietary changes like overeating or lack of appetite  
  • Excessive sleeping 
  • Odd behavior like excessive chewing/licking
  • Hiding and withdrawal from their families

The Natural Doggie CBD-Infused Bacon Flavor Soft Chews use only the best ingredients nature has to offer. The perfect treat to promote calmness, reduce inflammation and pain and stimulate appetite in your pet. This is a perfect supplement to add to your dog’s diet. This Colorado-grown, hemp-derived oil is legal in all 50 states and contains no THC. The non-GMO oil in every treat is derived from the finest non-GMO hemp the world has to offer. Your dog will love these bacon-flavored dog chews and you will see a major difference in your animal and if you don’t, your satisfaction is guaranteed.

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Why Do Dogs Get Depressed?

There can be numerous issues at play as to why your dog is not feeling his usual self. You’ll need to first take your dog to the veterinarian for a full health check to make sure that there are no underlying health issues. Pain, anxiousness, and depression all go hand in hand. Here are some reasons why dogs get depressed:

Just like with people, stress can contribute to a bout of depression. By ensuring that your furry best friend lives in a stress-free household that offers quiet time, as well as stimulating exercise and playtime, you’ll be helping your dog live a stress-free life. According to Animal Wellness, there are many things that can make your dog feel anxiousor fearful.

“Dogs have an increase in stress hormones when life is uncertain,” says Dr. Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, MRCVS, viaAnimal Wellness, adding that the following situations are among the most stressful for dogs:

  • Going to the veterinarian
  • Being left alone at home
  • Loss of a canine companion
  • Separation from the family
  • Introduction of a new animal
  • Moving house
  • Children returning to school on Monday or after holidays

History of Fluoxetine Hydrochloride 

According to a new 2016study by NCBI “Fluoxetine hydrochloride, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor is one of the commonly used drugs in small animal behavioral medicine. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved fluoxetine under the brand name Prozac (Eli Lilly) in 1987 for the treatment of depression in people. However, its use soon expanded to other non-approved and approved diagnoses in people. Fluoxetine was soon adopted by veterinarians for use in clinical small animal medicine (Rapoport and others 1992). Even before its labeled use, fluoxetine was widely prescribed in veterinary medicine for several behavior problems (Dodman and Shuster 1994, Dodman and others 1996, Pryor and others 2001,Hart and others 2005). The effectiveness of the drug, eventual availability of generic formulations, and affordability likely contributed to the use of fluoxetine in small animal medicine. In January of 2007, the FDA approved Reconcile (fluoxetine made by Elanco) for use in dogs for separation anxiety in conjunction with behavioral modification.”


How Does Doggie Prozac Work?

Fluoxetine combined with behavioral modification therapy has been developed to provide relief for many anxieties and behavioral problems in dogs. As with all pet meds, it’s important to follow directions and to administer the exact dosage instructions provided by your veterinarian. Fluoxetine should be administered with food, so as to prevent stomach sensitivities. 

One should not suddenly stop giving this medication without first consulting with your veterinarian. If you miss a dose consult with your veterinarian. Never double up on missed doses.

The Most Common Side Effects of Fluoxetine Include:

  • Lethargy
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Shaking
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Excessive vocalizations
  • Panting
  • Irritability

 Some Allergic Reactions May Include the Following:

  • Facial Swelling
  • Hives
  • Excessive scratching
  • Onset of Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Shock
  • Vomiting
  • Coma 

Never use doggie Prozac with Mitaban, which is an ingredient found in some tick collars, and that is also used to treat mange.


Drug Interactions

This drug cannot be used with the following medications:

  • Isoniazid
  • Oramitraz (in ingredient in some tick collars, and in Mitaban, treatment for mange)
  • Mitaban
  • Selegiline

Consult with your veterinarian if your dog is using a tick collar with Mitabin. All products need to be discontinued for 2- 5 weeks before fluoxetine can be administered safely. It’s best to discuss all medications that your dog is on with your veterinarian before using doggie Prozac.

When wanting to try out aCBD pet product to treat anxiousness or depression, consult with your veterinarian first to discuss the pros and cons.


CBD Oil Instead of Fluoxetine (Prozac)

 You may be wondering if it is safe to turn to cannabidiol for pets instead of using a doggie Prozac. While fluoxetine is an anti-depressant for dogs that is beneficial for anxiety, depression, and aggression, CBD for pets with no THC may also be beneficial without the long term side effects of a pharmaceutical. That said, you’ll need to consult with your veterinarian to find out if the switch would be beneficial for your dog.


CBD Oil Interaction with Fluoxetine (Prozac)

As of today, there are no documented interactions between fluoxetine and CBD oil. This may be due to not enough data being available. Both cannabidiol and fluoxetine may depress the respiratory and cardiac system when used together because they are both depressants. 


What is CBD Oil?

“Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the naturally occurring cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. It is a 21-carbon terpene phenolic compound which is formed following decarboxylation from a cannabidiolic acid precursor, although it can also be produced synthetically,” viaThe World Health Organization (WHO).


Benefits of CBD

Most dogs that suffer from chronic pain will also suffer from anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Cannabidiol offers numerous therapeutic benefits such as the following:

Cannabidiol also helps the efficacy of chemo in people suffering from cancer. Here are some other benefits that a high-quality, reliable CBD pet brand may offer:

  • Pain reliever
  • May help with canine depression, separation anxiety, resulting from pain
  • May provide relief from cancer side effects like chemotherapy and radiation
  • Promotes healthy skin and coat by preventing sebaceous gland cells from secreting too much sebum
  • May provide benefits to dogs with neurological disorders
  • Helps decrease inflammation in dogs
  • May help prevent cognitive decline
  • May be beneficial for cardiac health
  • CBD may be beneficial in preventing tumor growth
  • CBD helps with diabetes prevention by reducing diabetes up to 56%, and reducing associated inflammation in diabetic dogs.
  • Digestive issues
  • Blood disorders
  • Fights off free radicals, and may prevent the development of cancer

 That said, there still needs to be more research done on the benefits of CBD as an effective treatment for the above-mentioned health conditions. 


CBD for Reduced inflammation & Pain Relief

The popularity of CBD as a natural supplement for pets is because they provide safe and natural therapeutic benefits. By way of giving your dog CBD dog treats or tinctures to help ward off depression or anxiety, dogs will consume these without getting “high.” This is because there’s less than 1% THC in pet CBD edibles that are purchased from a reputable brand.


How Does CBD Work?

CBD and other cannabinoids will interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, and carry messages throughout the body. A 2019 study from the American Society of Microbiology adds that"Given cannabidiol's documented anti-inflammatory effects, existing safety data in humans, and potential for varied delivery routes, it is a promising new antibiotic worth further investigation. 

The combination of inherent antimicrobial activity and potential to reduce damage caused by the inflammatory response to infections is particularly attractive," via Science Daily.

Additionally, the study says that “Importantly, the drug retained its activity against bacteria that have become highly resistant to other common antibiotics. 

Under extended exposure conditions that lead to resistance against vancomycin or daptomycin, Cannabidiol did not lose effectiveness. Cannabidiol was also effective at disrupting biofilms, a physical form of bacteria growth that leads to difficult-to-treat infections.”

Harvard Health Blog adds that CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation stemming from arthritis. That said, another CBD study on the pharmacokinetics of CBD administration found that “CBD induces antidepressant-like effects comparable to those of imipramine. These effects of CBD were probably mediated by activation of 5-HT1A receptors,” via PubMed- NCBI.


Final Thoughts

CBD products for pets have become extremely popular today. As a nutraceutical, cannabidiol (CBD) is a supplement that supports natural healing in dogs. It is a good alternative to long term pharmaceuticals which may have side effects. 

That said, before using hemp-derived CBD for dogs with depression, it’s important to understand that a complete health check with your veterinarian anda diagnosis is key to optimal health.

That said, although CBD products for pets have been touted for depression, hip and joint pain relief, seizure reduction, anxiety relief and more, regular veterinary care is important for overall pet health, and CBD should not be substituted for acute health issues because your dog may do best with a combination of traditional pet meds and cannabidiol pet products.


Claudia Bensimoun

Claudia Bensimoun author of CBD as an alternaative to Fluoxetine

Claudia Bensimoun is a freelance journalist and author, and specializes in veterinary content, and eBooks. She's a long-time feature writer for Animal Wellness magazine, Fido Friendly magazine, and the United States Dog Agility Association. In addition, Bensimoun has written for numerous pet websites, magazines, newspapers and online publications. Her interests include wildlife conservation, animal welfare, disaster/ humanitarian relief, veterinary research, and veganism.

Claudia Bensimoun
Claudia Bensimoun



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