Common (Dog) Sense


Is your dog suffering in silence at the hands of your Vet Behaviourist?

Psychotropic medication should ALWAYS be a last resort.. Not the first go-to option that is now becoming so popular with Vet Behaviourists.

The medical quick fix for behavioural issues at the expense of our dogs overall well being is at epidemic levels. The administering of drugs to do nothing more than mask issues such as for unwanted behaviours has become big business in the pet industry. Dog owners in my opinion are being conned into believing that dogs with behavioural issues have a mental illness or a chemical imbalance that only drugs can fix. It is my professional opinion that in the majority of cases, all a dog needs is some behavioural intervention that can be worked through without drugging a dog. On the very rare occasion that a dog does need these medications, a behaviour modification programme should also be incorporated, to help get the dog off these drugs ASAP. However it has become the practise for many Vet Behaviourists to immediately prescribe these drugs at the very first consult without first offering more natural alternatives, such as happened to my client that I wrote about in my previous blog. And this is an outrage!The more I look into these drugs that are being administered to dogs, the more angry I get. My previous article was about a client of mine whose dog was prescribed Fluoxetine and Catapres by a Vet behaviourist. A dog that by the way, should never have been administered these drugs. This has encouraged me to look deeper in to the 2 drugs my client was told to administer to his dog.

I would like to ask any Vet Behaviourist that are administering psychotropic drugs to dogs, that were originally designed for humans, and that have so many known side effects, to enlighten me on how a dog is meant to communicate to the Vet or its owner, that it is suffering any of the side effects these drugs are known to cause?

Honestly dog owners, these Vet Behaviourists that just hand out these drugs like candy to dogs for the most simplest behavioural issues should be ashamed of themselves.

This is not about caring for dogs, this is about the legal pushing of drugs to make money. NOBODY fully understands what affects these drugs have on our dogs. It is ALL guesswork! And worse still, our dogs have NO WAY of communicating any side effects they are feeling. Many dogs on these medications I am certain are suffering in silence...

Those Vet Behaviourists administering these drugs to our dogs;

  • Are you being open and honest to your clients, informing them, and giving them a list of the possible side effects these drugs can produce?
  • Are you informing your clients that their dog will not be able to inform you if it is suffering from the majority of these side effects?
  • Are you informing your clients that you really don't understand or know the actual affects these drugs may have on your dog?
  • Are you informing your clients that their dog could suffer from side effects, and they may not even know ?

Not only this, what are the risks of damaging vital organs such as the liver?


Read through the list of possible side effects from just these 2 drugs. 2 drugs my clients dog was prescribed. These are the side effects that are known to be possible for humans..What about our dogs? The truth is, NOBODY knows!

Please, if you have a dog with behavioural issues, seek out the services of a balanced dog trainer, that specialises in behavioural issues. Administering these drugs should be an absolute LAST resort!! It is my professional opinion, that since the growing popularity of positive only training over the past 15 years, dogs being pushed on to drugs such as these has become an epidemic! And big pharma are loving it!!


Catapres (clonidine hydrochloride) is a centrally acting alpha-agonist hypotensive agent used to treat hypertension. Catapres is available as a generic named clonidine (tablets and patches). Common side effects of Catapres include:

dry mouth,
mood changes,
sleep problems (insomnia or nightmares),
ear pain,
feeling hot,
stomach pain,
increased thirst,
loss of interest in sex,
difficulty having an orgasm, or
cold symptoms such as runny or stuffy nose,
cough, or
sore throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

fast or pounding heartbeats, tremors;
a very slow heart rate (fewer than 60 beats per minute);
feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion;
swelling, rapid weight gain;
confusion, hallucinations;
flu symptoms;
urination problems; or
feeling like you might pass out.

Other common side effects may include:

drowsiness, dizziness;
feeling tired or irritable;
cold symptoms such as runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, cough, sore throat;
mood changes;
sleep problems (insomnia), nightmares;
headache, ear pain;
mild fever;
feeling hot;
constipation, diarrhea, pain in your upper stomach;
dry mouth, increased thirst; or
loss of interest in sex, impotence, difficulty having an orgasm.


Along with its needed effects, fluoxetine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking fluoxetine:

More common

Hives, itching, or skin rash
inability to sit still

Less common

Chills or fever
joint or muscle pain


cold sweats
convulsions (seizures)
cool pale skin
difficulty with concentration
dryness of the mouth
excessive hunger
fast or irregular heartbeat
increased sweating
increased thirst
lack of energy
mood or behavior changes
overactive reflexes
purple or red spots on the skin
racing heartbeat
shakiness or unsteady walk
shivering or shaking
talking, feeling, and acting with excitement and activity you cannot control
trouble with breathing
unusual or incomplete body or facial movements
unusual tiredness or weakness

Incidence not known

Abdominal or stomach pain
back or leg pains
bleeding gums
blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
blood in the urine or stools
bloody, black or tarry stools
blue-yellow color blindness
blurred vision
chest pain or discomfort
clay-colored stools
continuing vomiting
cough or dry cough
dark urine
decreased urine output
decreased vision
difficulty with breathing
difficulty with swallowing
dizziness or lightheadedness
eye pain
fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
general body swelling
high fever
hives, itching, puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
irregular or slow heart rate
large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
light-colored stools
loss of appetite
loss of bladder control
muscle twitching
no blood pressure or pulse
noisy breathing
pain in the ankles or knees
painful, red lumps under the skin, mostly on the legs
pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
pinpoint red spots on the skin
rapid weight gain
red or irritated eyes
red skin lesions, often with a purple center
redness, tenderness, itching, burning, or peeling of the skin
severe muscle stiffness
severe sleepiness
slurred speech
sore throat
sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
stopping of heart
sudden shortness of breath or troubled breathing
sudden weakness in the arms or legs
sudden, severe chest pain
swelling of the face, ankles, or hands
swollen or painful glands
thoughts of killing oneself
tightness in the chest
twitching, twisting, or uncontrolled repetitive movements of the tongue, lips, face, arms, or legs
unpleasant breath odor
unusual bleeding or bruising
unusual drowsiness, dullness, tiredness, weakness, or feeling of sluggishness
unusually pale skin
use of extreme physical or emotional force
vomiting of blood
yellow eyes or skin

Dog owners need to be more informed. Most dog owners that are told to put their dogs on these drugs, have no idea of the possible side effects. And that it is highly likely that if their dog is suffering any of the side effects listed above, for most of them your dog has no way to communicate this to you.. Your dog must suffer in silence.

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