Animal Rights

My Dog Ate My Prozac

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Zombie dog takes too many meds

The New York Times reports that we're more like our dogs—or, they're more like us—than we might want to admit. Our dogs are overweight, neurotic, and depressed:

Allan pointed to Max, who was lying on the floor and staring at his tail. He looked angry at it, disturbed by it. "You can see the pressure building in his psyche until he's ready to explode," Michelle said. And then he did: Max jumped to his feet and lunged. His jaws snapped, catching only air, and he spun counterclockwise in place, an accelerating blur of fur and teeth and frustration. Tail-chasing is normal—except that Max did it daily, often for hours on end. "He's like a junkie needing a fix," Allan said. "At times he can't not do it. He goes berserk."

Pet owners can buy meds to treat anything from compulsive disorder (as in the case of Max, above) and obesity to separation anxiety disorder. And as with humans, the drugs are accompanied by therapy:

[S]cientists in an expanding field known as behavioral pharmacology say that the combination of new drug therapies and progressive training techniques can solve problems that in the past almost always resulted in euthanasia.

Seeing as a dog's life is worth considerably less than a human's life, I wonder if the FDA approves drugs for animals in a shorter period of time than it does for humans?

reason's FDA archive here.

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  1. You know, dogs are a lot like people. To the extent that some dogs might have…subnormal intelligence…causing them to do things like…chase their own tails for four hours. Just saying.

  2. Oh, I forgot. [citation needed]

  3. My dog chases rabbits and squirrels or gnaws on plush toys when he gets stressed. I wonder how many of these dogs are living places where they have nothing to chase, play with, or chew.

  4. Good point, Nigel. When you said that, I made the connection between a dog with nothing else to play with chasing his own tail to a human with nobody to talk to talking to him/herself.

  5. My dog chases rabbits and squirrels or gnaws on plush toys when he gets stressed. I wonder how many of these dogs are living places where they have nothing to chase, play with, or chew.

    I think that’s a good point. It’s like men who don’t have an escape from their wives/girlfriends (no man-cave, no guy time) – they go absolutely nuts to the point of needing medication.

  6. Art: Exactly. If you don’t let them be dogs, they’re going to go nuts.

  7. On an unrelated note, that Herpes Home Remedy side ad is disturbing to me. Maybe I should go to the clinic. Get checked out, just in case. :p

  8. Oh, damn, now it’s gone, replaced by ads about antidepressives. I swear it was there!

    To stay on topic, I’ve seen depressed animals before (usually mistreated), but I’ve never noticed a “neurotic” pet.

  9. It takes exactly seven times shorter for the FDA to approve dog drugs.

  10. I had to give my cat Valium for behavior problems. It worked pretty well for about 2 years.

    Nothing funnier than seeing a cat walk around while stoned on Valium.

  11. I hate barking dogs. I hate barking dog people too.

  12. “Seeing as a dog’s life is worth considerably less than a human’s life…”[Citation Needed]. Also a cost benefit analysis.

    Anecdotally, my dog is worth more to me monetarily and in work capacity than my lazy-bum cousin. Just sayin’.

  13. Drug Researcher has already one the thread!!

  14. Errm, and that would of course be “won”. I shall now perform my penitence of holding a copy of Webster’s unabridged in each of my outstretched arms for half an hour.

  15. Nothing funnier than seeing a cat walk around while stoned on Valium.

    Some friends of mine in college had a house cat. We started getting the cat stoned when we got stoned by blowing the smoke on his ears.

    After a little while, just hearing the bong fire up would cause the cat to careen into the room looking for his high. Hilarious.

  16. I’ve only known one normal pet owner. He had some hunting dogs. Pointers. And they had manly names: Rusty and Spike. When they got too old to walk he took them to the camp for one last look then shot ’em in the head. Then he got some more. I liked those dogs.

  17. The potential for diverting pet psychopharmaceuticals is huge. I can just picture Drug Enforcement Agents trying to sell drugs to dogs in the park as part of a sting opperation.

  18. There’s some stand-up comic who talks about working in a pet store. He said people came in all the time talking about their pets, but in reality, they’re just talking about themselves:

    “My goldfish is depressed.” Some woman said.

    “Well, maybe if you didn’t overfeed your goldfish and got it to swim a few laps around the bowl, it would lose some weight and male goldfish would give it some attention.”

    I think this article just confirmed the same phenomenon.

  19. ed – He was not a normal pet owner.

  20. Seeing as a dog’s life is worth considerably less than a human’s life.

    Because their lives or shorter or because they are dumber? Or some other reason? Please illuminate me as to why that is the case.

  21. Seeing as a dog’s life is worth considerably less than a human’s life.

    I guess in the abstract. If I saw someone about to shoot one of my dogs, I’d probably kill him on the spot, though.

    I mean, once he’s dead, I could just say he was about to kill me. Its not like the dogs would say any different.

  22. I mean, once he’s dead, I could just say he was about to kill me. Its not like the dogs would say any different.

    Ferrets would rat you out in minute though.

  23. The potential for diverting pet psychopharmaceuticals is huge. I can just picture Drug Enforcement Agents trying to sell drugs to dogs in the park as part of a sting opperation.

    I bet you think you’re joking. I know a woman who managed to get her dog a prescription for Valium so she could take them. It’s apparently a hell of a lot easier to get the vet to write a script for Valium than it is to get a real doctor to keep giving out Vicodin like they were Tic-Tacs.

  24. My dog isn’t overweight, but she’s neurotic and depressed. However, that’s because she was kept in a cage for the first five years of her life and only taken out to breed. You’d be fucked up too.

  25. Seeing as a dog’s life is worth considerably less than a human’s life…
    Sez who? You tossed that out there way too casually.

  26. “Seeing as a dog’s life is worth considerably less than a human’s life…”

    He’s just baiting the “my dogs are my kids” crowd.

  27. [S]cientists in an expanding field known as behavioral pharmacology say that the combination of new drug therapies and progressive training techniques can solve problems that in the past almost always resulted in euthanasia.

    If breeders allowed the bitches and their studs to raise the pups together with caring human interaction, 90% of all doggie neuroses would be eliminated. That costs more. IMHO, it’s worth the added expense.

    Just like homonids, having dads around is good for young canines. Human interaction is important early so the dog will recognize people as part of the pack. It may not be rocket science, but raising puppies is too often performed by those to ignorant, lazy or selfish to do it right.

    [/dog breeding rant]

  28. This news is quite old- I guess the Times had nothing better to report on this weekend.

    My thoughts about this subject (April 2007) are here.

  29. Don’t raise pups, kittens, dogs, or cats unless you intend to love and care for them as you would your child. The devotion from them to you depends on it. If there is hate in your heart, then don’t pass it on to a pet.

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