Prozac for Puppy? More American Pets Are Prescribed Psychiatric Drugs

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However, animal trainer Cesar Milan, better known as the "dog whisperer" on National Geographic's hit show, said he is skeptical of using psychiatric medicines on pets.

"Unfortunately, everybody is looking for the quick fix, for the 'I want to see dramatic change in my dog,'" he said. "Often it's the human that's obsessive and it's the dog that's just imitating the behavior."

In most cases, Milan claimed, exercise, proper diet and tough love -- showing your pet who's boss -- can cure psychological problems in pets.

"Rules, boundaries, limitations, understanding what their position in the family is, what is expected of them," he said. "My clients are Harvard graduates but they can't walk a Chihuahua."

But for two years the Chinitz-Reilly family who took in Frisbee, the spinning mutt, at 7 months old, said they have tried everything from professional training, discipline, long walks to wear him out and even yoga to calm the dog down.

"I'll take a breath in and inhale slowly the same way I would do in a yoga pose, and it really seems to almost transmit physically into his body and he calms down at the same time," said Erin Reilly.

But his zen state doesn't last and it's not long before Frisbee becomes "possessed" again. Milan admitted that in extreme cases, like Frisbee's, medicine can be a last resort.

Considering the other option pet owners consider is to give up their animals, Dodman insists that psychiatric medication can help save pets' lives. The Humane Society of the United States said more than four million American dogs and cats are put down each year.

"I think the goal of a veterinarian is to do the best thing for the animal," Dodman said. "I mean, whatever will help it to feel better and, truthfully, spare its life. So many are relinquished because of behavior problems."

Dodman's research with animals could also one day improve human health. His studies have already led to promising results for obsessive-compulsive disorder, Turret's syndrome and autism in people.

"We're very similar," he said. "I like to say we're all mammals in this together."

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