The Wonders of Prescription Drugs…

I think I have mentioned this before but we decided to put Oscar on Prozac to try to calm his fear of people. We started him on November 1, and if you know anything about these types of drugs they take a few weeks to show any kind of effect. Around mid November, really week three, I started to notice some differences in how Oscar was behaving. Especially when all the windows are open and he can hear the noises from outside.

I have to say there’s a reason for controlled studies. We are having a lot of construction in our neighborhood, they are putting in new water pipes to each and every house in our entire development. The staging of equipment and everything is right across the street from my house and it has been going on for a month as well. So there are bulldozers, lots of workers, lots of cars pulling in and out, huge equipment, a gigantic metal shed filled with tools, lots of loud clanging and banging and booms that sound like small bombs are going off all day, piles of pipes, the beeping from bulldozers backing up constantly, lots of talk, even some port-a- potties, and general mayhem for a dog whose scared of people.


At first when it started and we opened the windows, poor Oscar could not control himself. He would pace and whine, hide and generally looked stressed out. I got him a Thunder Shirt and that actually did help him a bit. I was shocked that it actually works. I also spray it with the dog appeasing pheromone. But as the month progressed not only did the Prozac start to kick in but I also think he got used to the noises. Hence my theory of controlled studies. How do I know if he’s just used to the noises or if the Prozac is actually working?


So I’ve been trying to expose him to other situations and notice how he is on walks when we pass people to see if I really think the Prozac is working. I definitely think he is lacking energy on it. He seems to sleep a lot more. That is a side effect I do not like. He is on 20 mg a day. I give it to him with peanut butter first thing in the morning right before I feed him. I called the doc and talked to him about Oscar’s obvious lack of energy and they are going to give me a 15 mg tablet for him to try. It’s crazy to try to figure out what dosage is good for him because he can’t tell you how he feels. This is all so familiar and I don’t have to tell you that I hate giving my dog any kind of meds for any long or short term. I constantly think of Cody and I’m hoping that this short stint of prescription drugs does not have any long-term effects.

How will I ever know? I guess I’ll find out in about 10 years if I’m lucky.

So as I said I’ve been experimenting with taking him out to places with lots of people to see if there is any effect from the Prozac. There is a shopping center around the corner from me and so, for the last two days instead of our normal quiet walk around the neighborhood, I have been walking Oscar up there and through the busy part of the stores. It’s still rather early in the morning, before 9 AM, but there are people milling about. And he absolutely freaks out. He jolts and pulls to try to get away, he hides behind me, he tries to dart into the street but I’m holding him tight so he can’t really get anywhere and just yanks me across the sidewalk. We stopped in front of the Publix grocery store and I make him sit and watch people come and go. He just absolutely freaks out. Pacing and whining and shaking.

I feel terrible putting him through something like this but I have to get him exposed to these situations so that one, I can tell if the Prozac is working at all. And two, I need him to understand that the situations are okay and he is not going to be harmed in any way. It’s all about opening his mind.

It is not an easy job. I feel totally guilty about making him freak out the way he does. If you saw his body shaking you would realize how traumatic it is for him. There is a fine line between what feels like torture and therapy. My husband and I have had very heated discussions about this whole process. He absolutely hates putting the dog on any kind of meds, as do I. But my argument for this is that Oscar deserves a chance at a good quality of life. I do not want to have a dog that I need to keep in the house constantly and causes us to become hermits because we cannot take him anywhere. If we do travel at all and he cannot go with us, he certainly cannot go to a kennel -it would give him a heart attack. So what is my choice? I have to at least give him the opportunity to heal himself, or fix himself, so that we all can have a better chance of a good life together. I enjoy taking him out with me so much and I love his company. There’s nothing like watching him run on the beach, as long as there are no people.


I love to go camping and I love to travel and unless we can help Oscar get past this incredible fear, we won’t be able to take him with us which leaves my heart at home and I hate that.

Baby steps…




~ by Michelle Sammartino-Zeto on December 1, 2014.

One Response to “The Wonders of Prescription Drugs…”

  1. Thank you for continuing to blog. I enjoy reading all of your entries. I stumbled upon your blog after my “baby dog” passed away from cancer in July this year.

    Happy holidays from Southern California!

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