Prozac for Dogs Launched in U.K.; Incompetent Pet Owners Rejoice

Last Updated Feb 24, 2010 5:34 PM EST

Eli Lilly (LLY) will shortly introduce Prozac for dogs to the European market. I mean that literally: Reconcile, its anti-"separation anxiety" medicine for pooches, is fluoxetine hydrochloride, which is Prozac.

As a dog lover, I have worries about this. I'm not alone, per the Daily Mail:

Roger Mugford, an animal psychologist, said: "Most breakthroughs in [dog] behaviour are achieved by carrying a titbit and using it wisely, not by drugs."
Anyone who's has ever watched a couple of episodes of The Dog Whisperer quickly learns that even when a dog appears to be mentally ill it's usually the incompetence of the owner that's producing the aberrant behavior. More seriously, the diagnosis criteria for Reconcile appear to be similar to the reported side effects of the drug. Here's Lilly's Reconcile page:
While you are gone, your dog may do one or several of the following:
  • Chew destructively
  • Bark or whine
  • Inappropriate urination and/or defecation
  • Drool
  • Pace
  • Tremble
  • Vomit
  • -- or worse
Five of those seven symptoms are reported as side effects of Reconcile, according to the drug's official label (although the label lists them as excessive vocalization, restlessness, drooling, diarrhea, and excessive salivation). The drug also triples the rate of seizures among dogs.

So, pet owners of Europe, please think twice before drugging Rover at the vet. If your dog is unhappy, it's usually because you're at work more than eight hours a day, you're not showing enough dominance, you're not walking him enough, or you're treating him like a human instead of an animal. You can fix those problems free of charge before you need to spend any money.

(Besides, giving you the "sad eyes" look is one of those things that dogs just do.)

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Image by Flickr user cutglassdecanter, CC.