Separation anxiety is a disease in which affected dogs may exhibit certain problematic behaviors when left alone. Dogs are social animals, and naturally become bonded to family members in their household. When separated from these people, such as when the owner leaves for work or to run an errand, certain dogs may experience distress and engage in unacceptable behaviors as a result of the anxiety of separation.1
The more common behaviors associated with separation anxiety include2:
These negative behaviors typically occur within 10 to 30 minutes after the owner leaves the house, and bouts of rest may alternate with barking and destructive behavior every 40 to 60 minutes.1,3,4
If your dog is showing any signs of separation anxiety, ensure your dog is examined by your veterinarian to rule out other possible reasons for the behaviors, such as a medical condition. Once a physical examination and any necessary laboratory work have ruled out a medical cause, your veterinarian will ask you questions about your dog’s behavioral history4:
Videotapes or audiotapes recorded when your dog is home alone can be very helpful in confirming the diagnosis of separation anxiety.4
No one has a definitive answer about the cause of separation anxiety, which can develop at any age in either sex4 and has been diagnosed in all breeds. Potential triggers of separation anxiety include1-5:
Your dog is not bad or spiteful, but is suffering from a readily treatable condition.
Yes, there are steps that you can take to help your dog become more independent. When it is clear that the behaviors are not caused by a physical problem, your veterinarian will develop a comprehensive treatment plan for separation anxiety that may involve medication, behavior training and owner commitment. Reconcile® chewable tablets, when administered in conjunction with a simple training plan that you undertake at home, is one treatment option that has been shown to reduce these problematic behaviors.
Reconcile (fluoxetine hydrochloride) is approved by the FDA for the treatment of separation anxiety in dogs in conjunction with a behavior modification plan. Prescribed by your veterinarian, Reconcile is a flavored, chewable tablet given once a day with or without food. Reconcile chewable tablets are for use in dogs and puppies 6 months of age or older, and 8.8 pounds (4.0 kilograms) or greater.
Reconcile chewable tablets work by making your dog more receptive to your training program. Reconcile is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI. Chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters communicate information between nerve cells, known as neurons. These neurotransmitters are released into the space between two cells, called a synapse, and are then reabsorbed back into the neuron that released them. One such neurotransmitter, called serotonin, is responsible for many functions within the brain, including the control of anxiety. Low levels of serotonin in a dog’s brain may result in impaired communication between nerves, producing an increased level of anxiety.6 Reconcile can help correct this chemical imbalance by blocking the reuptake of serotonin and temporarily increase its level in the brain. Veterinary experts believe that higher levels of serotonin improve communication and strengthen circuits in the brain that act to decrease anxiety.
Before prescribing Reconcile chewable tablets, your veterinarian will conduct a comprehensive physical examination to rule out causes of inappropriate behavior unrelated to separation anxiety. Key points of your visit may include the following:
Reconcile is a chewable flavored tablet that is readily consumed by most dogs. If your dog does not readily accept the Reconcile chewable tablet, it may be offered in food or administered like other tablet medications. Follow your veterinarian’s directions regarding how much medication to administer.
Reconcile is given once a day and can be given with or without food.
If a dose is missed, the next scheduled dose should be given as prescribed. Do not increase or double the dose. If more than the prescribed amount of Reconcile chewable tablets are given, contact your veterinarian, who is the healthcare expert for your dog.
The combined use of these techniques with Reconcile chewable tablets has been proven to work faster and better than training alone for the management of separation anxiety. Results of clinical trials have shown that after 8 weeks 73% of dogs receiving Reconcile and behavior modification training had significant behavioral improvement, compared with only 51% of dogs receiving behavior modification alone.7 Reconcile has been shown to accelerate your dog’s response to behavior training, thereby reducing detrimental behaviors.
Some dogs may show improvement within 1 to 2 weeks of starting treatment with Reconcile chewable tablets. Others may take as long as 8 weeks to show improvement. Your veterinarian will monitor the response to Reconcile chewable tablets and the training plan. If no improvement is noted within 8 weeks, your veterinarian should discuss alternative treatment plans for your dog.
As with all medications, side effects may occur. Your veterinarian can best describe these for you and discuss what to do if you observe any unexpected effects or unusual behavior in your dog. The most serious side effect is seizures (convulsions), which in rare and severe cases can result in death. Based on clinical field studies, some animals may appear more calm or lethargic. Additional side effects that may be observed include decreased appetite, vomiting, shaking or shivering, diarrhea, restlessness, excessive vocalization or whining, aggression, ear infections, disorientation, incoordination, constipation, excessive salivation and weight loss.8 Since the introduction of Reconcile, additional side effects reported are anxiety, dilated pupils, panting and confusion.9
Yes, Reconcile chewable tablets have been given safely with a wide variety of routinely administered products and medications, including vaccines, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and products used for the control of fleas, intestinal worms and heartworms. There are a few products and medications that you should not give to your dog before, during or after treatment with Reconcile chewable tablets because together, they can cause serious side effects. Your veterinarian should be made aware of all products, including over-the-counter and herbal supplements, that you intend to administer to your dog.
Each dog has a unique response to treatment. Your veterinarian will monitor your dog’s progress and work with you to determine the appropriate length of treatment for your dog.
Your veterinarian will instruct you on how to incorporate simple training techniques, referred to as "behavior modification." The BOND behavior modification plan consists of four easy steps that can help your dog build confidence and gain a sense of security when alone.
Behavior modification training is an essential component in the treatment of separation anxiety in dogs. For more detailed information on BOND training, go to Reconcile.com to view a video describing additional training tips.
Separation anxiety occurs when your dog is separated from the people to whom he is most attached - you and your family - which means that you have a key role in any successful treatment plan. The goal of behavior modification training for dogs with separation anxiety is teaching the dog to be more independent and gain a sense of security when alone in the home. That’s why the training is most effective when done by you, the pet owner, in your home, rather than taking your dog to behavior training school. Fortunately, the training involves simple steps that generally can be done during time you already spend interacting with your dog each day without requiring a great deal of additional time.
While Reconcile has been shown to accelerate your dog’s response to behavior training, this training is an essential component in the treatment of separation anxiety in dogs. In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved use of Reconcile for the treatment of canine separation anxiety in conjunction with a behavior modification plan directed by your veterinarian. Inappropriate use of Reconcile chewable tablets without concurrent behavior modification may not provide any lasting benefit of therapy. Instead, long-term success is most likely to be seen when these two components - Reconcile chewable tablets plus the BOND behavior modification program - are used together as prescribed by your veterinarian.7
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: The most common adverse events reported in decreasing order of reported frequency are: decreased appetite, depression/lethargy, shaking/shivering/tremor, vomiting, restlessness and anxiety, seizures, aggression, diarrhea, dilated pupils, vocalization, weight loss, panting, confusion, incoordination, and excessive salivation. Reconcile chewable tablets are contraindicated for dogs with a history of seizures or when used with drugs that may cause seizures. Consult your veterinarian for complete safety information or click here to read the package insert.
The information, tools and material presented on this site are provided for informational and educational purposes only. Please consult your veterinarian for an official diagnosis of canine separation anxiety and to learn more about Reconcile. Click here to read the complete terms and conditions regarding use of this web site.
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