Like humans, dogs also suffer from behavioral problems, anxiety, bowel issues, pain, and tensed muscles. And like humans, canines too need medications when things go out of hand and out of control. Clonidine is one such sedative drug belonging to a class of drugs known as central alpha-2 adrenergic agonists, which helps dogs deal with the above-stated problems.
When can you know if your dog needs medication for anxiety?
- If your pet is already going through a behavior modification program but is at a point wherein you can see minimal growth only, then medication is necessary.
- If there’s a sudden change in behavior or mood of the dog suddenly due to which you’re finding it hard to manage the dog all by yourself or a dog therapist is also not much of a result, then resorting to drugs becomes a necessity.
But what is clonidine, and how does it help dogs with their anxiety and other ailments?
Also known as Catpress or Duraclon, Clonidine is a veterinary medication that modifies a doggo’s behavior, controls diarrhea, and treats hypertension by reducing the flow of noradrenaline, the brain’s version of adrenaline thus, the name “chill pill.” It stimulates alpha-adrenoreceptors present in the brain that impact the blood vessels, blood pressure, CNS (Central Nervous System), and heart rate. It also helps with hyperactivity and relieving pain in the spinal cord.
As with obese dogs, the tablets prevent insulin resistance and hypertension due to the central sympathetic nervous system’s role in the development of both insulin resistance and hypertension.
But how can dogs have anxiety and other behavioral issues? Any signs to know if the pet is suffering from it?
Note: Anxiety, if not treated well, can lead to a serious behavioral issue.
There can be multiple reasons why your furry pet might experience anxiety. But the most common causes are:
- Fear: Loud noises, strange animals or unknown people, some particular instances or situations like visiting a vet’s office, car rides, etc.
- Separation: Being separated from their family or owners makes dogs suffer from pretty common separation anxiety.
- Aging: Usually happening in older dogs, similar to early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, this anxiety is often associated with CDS (cognitive dysfunction syndrome). Due to this, they often experience a shortage of memory, a decline in learning ability, reduced surrounding awareness, etc. which grows to induce anxiety and confusion.
Some signs and symptoms are:
- Urination and defecation within the house
- Destructive behavior
- Excessive barking
- Drooling and much more
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How to treat dogs with clonidine in the ideal dosage?
Your first instinct towards handling anxiety and other ailments like pain, bowel issues, etc. should be consulting your vet.
Your vet might suggest a drug like clonidine in case of mild to medium level behavioral issues and anxiety besides a vet therapist. While in case of serious issues, a drug alone might not work.
Clonidine tablets, which can be given with and without food, are dosed at 0.01 to 0.05 mg/kg orally. Clonidine is available in the market and online in 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3 mg tablets.
- When given for treating anxiety and behavioral issues, the treatment should start with a lower dose, gradually building upon the same, if needed. It is mostly prescribed with other behavior modification methods as an add-on agent.
Note: It is usually recommended to give almost 90 minutes to 2 hours before an anxiety-inducing event.
- When given for treating inflammatory issues, the treatment should involve 5-10 mg/kg treatment orally, every 8-12 hours.
As for the duration, it depends on the condition being treated, the animal’s response to medication and overall treatment, and the development of adverse effects, if any.
Precautions and Side effects of clonidine
Effects of the drug vary from breed to breed. But dogs suffering from or experiencing any of the below should be restrained from the usage of the drug:
- Hypersensitive dogs and dogs allergic to clonidine
- Dogs suffering from any heart-related ailments, blood pressure-related issues, liver or kidney diseases, seizure disorders, or are severely debilitated.
- Breeding, pregnant or nursing dogs too should stay away from the medication
Some of the side effects your pet might experience are vomiting, sedation, dizziness, constipation, low BP, slower heart rates, aggressive behavior at first place, or even temporarily high blood sugar. These can range from mild to severe effects. Some dogs also experience sound sensitivity, but usually with a noise-phobic pet only.
But some signs of overdose or medication abuse include weakness, extreme dip in heart rate and blood pressure, lethargy, high sedation, and breathing problem. If you experience any of these symptoms in your dog, contact the vet immediately.
How to go about discontinuing the drug?
Abrupt discontinuation might cause an anxiety rebound or aggravated behavioral problems. A good guideline is to reduce by 25% every 1-2 weeks, thus tapering gradually.
Slow discontinuation also gives room to you as an owner to report any reappearance of any of the problems, any side-effects, or any other probable issue!
Note: Store in a cold and dry place, away from kids. We in no way recommend any dog owner to go about giving the medicine without consultation from a doctor.
So, you see that clonidine is like any other drug or medication. It is better at treating your dog’s anxiety, bowel issues, pain, hyper-sensitivity, and hyperactivity. But like any other medicine, you need to be cautious of the brand you purchase and the ingredients the tablets have. Do your fair share of research and give your hound the life they deserve.