I was recently quoted in an Atlantic City Press article. As more pet owners are investing time and money into pet care, there has been a steady rise in antidepressants prescribed for both dogs and cats. Prozac and other related drugs are given to zoo animals and pets suffering from everything from separation anxiety, to aggression and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Some animals are on the drugs temporarily. Others, like Bailey, will likely be on Prozac for the rest of their lives.
“Many people don’t realize that pets experience stress just like people do,” said Carol Osborne, an Ohio-based veterinarian and the founder and president of the American Pet Institute.
Stress to a pet, Osborne said, is any change from the norm, such as owners getting ready to travel, guests coming over for the holidays, a new pet, a new baby or moving. In other words, anything that is different from what that pet is used to inside or outside of the home.
Still other animals may have suffered abuse or neglect, as Bailey’s owners suspect he did, and have lifelong anxiety issues as a result.
It’s not uncommon to see a stressed dog bark incessantly, tremble or run around the house like a crazed animal – or for an anxious cat to pee on your favorite chair, Osborne said.
“Those are all the ways that pets say, ‘Hey, I’m feeling stressed,'” Osborne said.