Comments: 281 • Responses: 25  • Date: 

ZekReposek34 karma

I have a 1 & 1/2 yo kitty who constantly licks people around him. Not excessive grooming/licking of himself, just people and things around him. Additionally, at night, he comes onto my bed when I try to cover myself with a blanket a keeps licking my arms and feet, occasionally biting them very hard and not letting go even when I raise my voice. He also bites the blanket I cover myself with and his pupils widen. Is he doing this because he might be anxious or in pain, and would it be a good idea to consult a local veteranarian about it?

DrEvansDutchAMA17 karma

That does sound like your kitten keeps things spicy! I do think it would be a good idea to be evaluated by a vet to make sure there are no signs of pain, especially oral pain as the cause of the licking and biting.

ThanksForTheF-Shack28 karma

I have a 6 year old border collie who has been fairly anxious most of her life. For example, when we lived in apartments and the unit above us would be walking around making noise, our dog would get scared and go hide in the bathroom (thankfully, soon we won't have someone above us anymore.) Also, sometimes on walks, she will get nervous and just kind of shut down and completely refuse to keep moving. Those are a few of many examples of her nervous ticks. She is such a sweet girl and a good dog. Should I be taking her in to a vet to talk about this, and is dog anxiety medicine something that works without side effects? Thanks for your time, Dr. Evans.

DrEvansDutchAMA24 karma

Yes, this would be a great thing to speak with your vet about! Noise fears/phobias are one of the most common fears in dogs and I do typically recommend treatment so they aren't living in fear. Nothing in life is without side effects, but also consider withholding treatment also has a side effect which is living in fear.

ThanksForTheF-Shack4 karma

Thank you

DrEvansDutchAMA1 karma

You're welcome!

mrmllo23 karma

What exactly is in the medication for dogs? Is it safe?

DrEvansDutchAMA18 karma

There are many different medications we can use for pet anxiety based on what their issue is. Some of the more common medications are fluoxetine (dog prozac), clomipramine, gabapentin, and trazadone, though there are more that are out there. Many dogs and cats can take them for long term safely, but this is something that needs to be discussed with your vet.

Shemoose10 karma

How is gabapentin used as we usually use it for deep nerve pain ?

DrEvansDutchAMA23 karma

Yes, gabapentin is a very interesting drug because on the veterinary side it can be used for pain, as well as an anti-seizure medication, and also can be effective for anxiety.

Safelyoptimized17 karma

I got a dog during the pandemic and he's a sweetheart, but he keeps chewing up the furniture when im not home. Not sure if its an anxiety issue or what....but any advice for dealing with that?

DrEvansDutchAMA17 karma

Congrats on the new dog!

If he is chewing on the furniture he may be looking for something to do and may be able to get redirected to chewing on a more high value chew toy.

If there are other signs of anxiety when you are gone, this may need to be addressed through medications to help ease their stress when you aren't home.

another-nature-acct11 karma

7 month old puppy. About to be around fireworks for the first time. He seems a little weary of thunder. Any suggestions? I figured we keep him with us. If it bothers him we’ll take him into the basement where it’s much quieter.

He’s quite timid. Also nervous around people and water despite introducing him to water and people quite frequently.

DrEvansDutchAMA28 karma

4th of July tends to be one of the worst days of the year for dogs.

Your idea to take him in to the basement is a great one. Trying to get pets in to a quiet space to muffle the sound as well as having background white noise.

You can use the radio and/or TV turned up fairly loud to drown out the sound. Also, just being with your pet helps them to feel comfortable

Perudo10 karma

What treatment options are there for a dog with incredible separation anxiety? When we are getting ready to leave the house he freaks out, pees on things, barks hysterically. Then when we're putting him in his kennel he gets even worse and aggressively barks and bites at whoever is putting him in.

DrEvansDutchAMA7 karma

I am sorry to hear that he is so stressed. He definitely needs treatment and sounds like he is a severe case. He may be best served by a board certified veterinary behaviorist who can work with you on getting him medications that can work in both the short and long term as well as a behavior modification plan to get him to a place where he is not panicking when you leave.

tendrilly9 karma

Thank you for doing this, I'd welcome any advice.

I have two cats, mother (Sushi) and daughter (Noodle), about 3yrs and 2yrs old respectively. They are rescued cats.

Sushi is quite chilled but Noodle is very very highly strung, is on a special vet-prescribed diet because she would be sick all the time, and is on steroids otherwise she scratches her face and neck raw. Noodle is scared of people who aren't me, whereas Sushi falls in love with any stranger who walks through the door.

Sushi is dominant over Noodle. They don't outright fight, but Sushi doesn't want Noodle there even though Noodle looks to her for reassurance (e.g. will only go into the garden if Sushi or I go first). Noodle does not like to be picked up, she panics, but she loves affection on her terms. She likes to be stroked so long as she is standing in an open space and she'll snuggle her face into my hand. She used to love to play with toys with me but hasn't for the last year because every time we do, Sushi comes over and takes over.

I make a point of giving them both my time even though Sushi gets jealous, and Noodle backs off if Sushi is there. They have their own "space" in my house since they lived here, but recently Sushi has made a point of going and lying in Noodle's space. I could give lots more examples but that's probably enough!

Any tips of how I can encourage Noodle to chill out, and/or Sushi to back off?

DrEvansDutchAMA5 karma

I want to hang out with Sushi, she sounds great! And Noodle I am sure is sweet too, but sounds like may have many things that are contributing to how she is acting. This sounds like something you should definitely discuss with your veterinarian because there are meds that can potentially help this situation and that may need to be the first step.

Yakmasterson7 karma

Hi and thanks! My mom's dog seems to be suffering from constant anxiety and fear. The dog was her brother's and he adopted it cause no one else would. My theory is that the dog endured a lot of trauma and has PTSD. She will always bark at me. She wont eat around me, and I dont think I've ever seen her drink water. She moves tactfully and defensively. She always sits in the corner. She's never relaxed. I've been working with her but can't seem to make any head way. I am trying to walk her more and make her exhausted so she will have no choice but to relax, but she get too stressed on walks. Is this diagnosis accurate and how should I approach it? Thank you!!

DrEvansDutchAMA1 karma

Poor pup, it does sound like she needs some help and is not comfortable in life! I would recommend checking out a risk free consultation on the Dutch platform because this is exactly what we are trying to solve. Living in constant fear is exhausting.

unsavoryginger5 karma

I adopted a dog last year that has extreme anxiety from a family member. He was picked up as one of those pandemic dogs and despite trying everything, he decided the dog might be better off with us because he would literally not get out of his bed, eat, etc. He was literally scared of his own shadow. Not sure why or if he was abused.

When we got him, I immediately placed him on Prozac and worked with him. He's come a looooong way, but now finally plays, eats, and is comfortable with my husband (he took forever to like him). He is no longer on meds as he improved so much, but I wonder if I should put him back on it because he's starting to regress. Is this a good idea? Should this be his lifelong thing? We have been desensitizing him and want him to be comfortable. He also has serious stranger danger anxiety with humans but not dogs.

Or is there any CBD oils we should consider? I'm not into this whole thing (I like to follow the science), but I would love to hear your thoughts on this! Anything else we could try other than thundershirts, "calming chews"?

DrEvansDutchAMA6 karma

It sounds like you have done great work already! While I can't give you specific advice about whether or not to restart meds (that has to be done by your vet), I can say I have seen this situation in my patients and I will typically tell people to put their dogs back on the meds. Some dogs need it lifelong (including my own dog with severe separation anxiety). I don't recommend CBD because it hasn't been shown to have a great effect and the studies we have show a large number of dogs develop elevated liver enzymes. So we aren't sure if it is actually safe for dogs and cats

Jobmegens4 karma

Our cat hates being home alone. He tends to howl whenever he thinks he's alone and charges and screams at us whenever we come home after being gone for a few hours. We're going to be going away for a few days soon and plan to have a friend check in on him every day. Is there anything we can do to make his loneliness easier for him?

DrEvansDutchAMA5 karma

Cats can have separation anxiety too! There are medications that can potentially help and I would recommend discussing this with your veterinarian.

brumihai3 karma

Hi, thanks for doing this.

I have a 5yo mini schnauzer and he has some aggression issue triggered by fear ( I guess ). He had some bad experiences with children when he was a puppy and now he is aggressive towards them, especially when they are running and yelling. Other fast moving loud vehicles such as mopeds trigger his aggression as well.

He scares easily in general and shakes in fear, and I would like to help him with his situation as well as keeping children safe around him. Is there anything you suggest?

DrEvansDutchAMA4 karma

Fear aggression is tough, especially when children may be a trigger. I don't tend to mess around with this because one bad experience can be tragic. In these situations, I highly recommend seeing a board certified veterinary behaviorist as the best chance of managing this.

I'd check out https://www.dacvb.org/

Enrique8733 karma

How can I tell if my cats has anxiety?

DrEvansDutchAMA3 karma

Good question! Cats tend to be little mysteries! However, there are a lot of different ways that cats can show signs of anxiety - from peeing on your bed to fighting with other cats in the house.

gymlabrat3 karma

What are your thoughts on using Feliway to introduce a 3 year old cat to other cats and even dogs? My cat gets so agitated at the sight of other animals.

DrEvansDutchAMA7 karma

Feliway is a great option because it is a natural phermone, or chemical signal, that cats use to tell the world around them they are in a safe space. It is not the cure all for social anxiety, but I think it can help.

JRadical213 karma

I've got a 5 year old cat who is fearless inside, but starts hyperventilating if he has to go in the car to the vet. We don't take him anywhere unnecessarily, but when it's time for a vet check up he is so distraught that he pees all over himself in the car and it sounds like he's going to have a heart attack. The vet is 5 minutes away. We've tried everything we can think of, treats, blankets, toys, sitting next to him, holding him in the car. Nothing helps. Any ideas?

DrEvansDutchAMA-1 karma

Poor kitty! But what you are experiencing is not atypical. Some cats are terrified of the car. This is exactly one of the reasons why we created Dutch. We can prescribe medications for these types of scenarios and you don't need to put him through the trauma of the car trip.

Kocrachon3 karma


DrEvansDutchAMA7 karma

You are right, the meds won't "cure" their anxiety - it will just help them not freak out when the trigger is present. To truly treat the root cause we would need to "counter condition" but that is difficult with sporadic events like thunder.

You can also create a "Sanctuary Space" where they feel safe, noise is reduced, and then turn on other white noise to drown it out

chourrej2 karma

I have an 11yo rescue and whenever we take her on road trips, getting her to eat her dinner is trying. She’ll usually refuse to eat. I figure it’s because she’s unsure of what’s going on and is anxious. I usually stay around while trying to get her to eat, reading a book or doing something on my phone to show that I’m not going anywhere, but usually it’s to no avail. Is there anything I can do to entice her into eating outside of adding turkey or chicken scraps bits? She has a sensitive tummy in her older years so I try to keep her on a gut healthy diet. It worries me sometimes.

DrEvansDutchAMA1 karma

It sounds like you are doing all the right things to try to make her comfortable and feel secure. However, if she is truly nervous you may want to talk to your vet about short acting anti anxiety meds and/or supplements which can help ease her mind while you are out on adventures!

Shantor2 karma

Are all the vets registered as a Board certified Veterinary Behaviorist?

DrEvansDutchAMA0 karma

At Dutch, the protocols and treatments are created by board certified veterinary behaviorists, but the veterinarians reviewing each case and prescribing medications where needed are not specialists, but local veterinarians in each state.

gdsoccer111 karma

Hello Brian,

I'm actually in the middle of discussing some options with my vet to help my anxious 3 year old Corgi. Shes always been a very nervous dog and recently those nerves have seemed to lead to her lashing out toward my other dog a 10 year old sheltie. She just started Trazadone last week but I haven't noticed much change in her behavior. Would something like confidence classes be helpful?

DrEvansDutchAMA1 karma

You may want to go back to your vet and let them know the Trazadone is not making a difference. This is a short acting drug so the effect should be seen immediately.

HanShotF1rst2261 karma

I have a 110 lb Great Dane mix who’s terrified of fireworks. July is always a very rough month. We’ve tried many medications but nothing seems to help (his vet prescribed 4mg of Xanax once and it didn’t touch him). Are there any behavioral changes we should try?

DrEvansDutchAMA1 karma

Yes, fireworks are tough. I would wonder about the medications that have already been prescribed. I have had variable success with Xanax. Other options are creating a "Sanctuary space" for your dane that is in an interior room, ideally with no windows, sound proofed as much as possible, and include background noise like a loud TV or radio.