"My Trainer Said My Dog Should Be on Prozac!"

If you've heard this advice from your dog's trainer, run don't walk. Here's why.

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA,

Most general-practice vets don't have much education in behavior. Sadly, many don't have any real interest, either. Behavioral medicine is a complex specialty, though, so someone prescribing in this area should:

  • either be board certified (a "board-certified veterinary behaviorist") or have taken continuing ed courses in behavior
  • take a complete behavioral and medical history
  • do baseline and follow-up lab work
  • be willing to consult with a vet behaviorist (hey, even the vet behaviorists consult each other!)
  • have (and share with you) a clear idea of how treatment should go
  • know side effects, drug interactions, and what effect the meds may have on any existing health issues
  • help you assess the risks and benefits of treatment with the medication(s)
  • either be able to design a sound plan for behavior modification and training, or refer you to a trainer with expertise in behavior modification

Quite some laundry list, isn't it? And that's why your well-educated trainer will not be getting out her prescription pad any time soon.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


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