Finally, after giving up on all of the homeopathic remedies, we visited the vet for some “Puppy Prozac.” I ran down the list of what I had tried: 6 months of private training (including crate training, which made things worse), Kongs out the wazoo, Buster Cubes, Nina Ottoson puzzle toys (which he LOVES), flower essences/alternative remedies, agility classes, extreme amounts of exercise, and having a friend’s dog stay for a week (didn’t make a bit of difference). The separation anxiety had now been going on for almost a year, and had not gotten much better.
I finally gave in and decided to start Dash on Puppy Prozac. Clomicalm.
What is Puppy Prozac?
Clomicalm is manufactured by Novartis Animal Health, Inc. Clomicalm is actually clomipramine hydrochloride, or Anafranil, which is a tricyclic antidepressant used for anti-anxiety/anti-depressant/obsessive compulsive disorder in humans. The company repeatedly stresses that Clomicalm, by itself, will not “cure” separation anxiety. Rather, it must be used in conjunction with behavior modification training to allow the dog to return to a normal life.
Dash was prescribed 10 mg to be taken with food. He was also given a small amount of xanax as a prn (prescribed as needed) to help with his nuclear meltdowns.
While Clomicalm and training hasn’t eliminated his separation anxiety, it did take an edge off. For example, he no longer would follow me from room to room. This was a huge step for Dash. I could walk to the door and he wouldn’t flip out. I could go to the bathroom and he wouldn’t sit by the door waiting for me to come out. I could wash dishes in the kitchen and he wouldn’t be under foot. He would actually go into another room and play on his own. He seemed a little less needy. It was also possible for finally kick him out of the bed at night. And he handled that just fine.
However, the barking and scratching at the door (and throwing his body against the door) when I left still persist to this day. This behavior continues for hours and hours on end, until I return. The Xanax has not helped one bit.
One interesting change has happened, however. When Dash is at my parents’ house and I leave (or he is left alone) he does not engage in any of these behaviors. He is perfectly fine with being left alone. So it perhaps his separation anxiety is specific to my apartment . . . or me. At any rate, until it gets resolved, I’ll be trying every new product that hits the market and reviewing it. I have to view every little improvement he makes as a success, no matter how small it may be.