Moderate to severe anxiety often responds best to a prescription anti-anxiety medication. This is not a quick fix, however. Dogs usually need to be treated for about four weeks before the effectiveness of the medication becomes fully evident, and treatment needs to continue for at least two months after an adequate response is observed. Some dogs can eventually be gradually weaned off of anti-anxiety medications while others require life-long treatment.
A veterinarian who is knowledgeable in behavioral medication is best able to determine which anti-anxiety medication is most likely to be successful based on your dog’s particular situation.
One such medication, Alprazolam, is often prescribed to help dogs who become anxious during thunderstorms but may also be used for other types of situational anxiety. It is a member of the benzodiazepine class of sedatives that work by depressing activity in certain parts of the central nervous system (the exact mechanism of action hasn’t been identified). The drug is most effective when given at the earliest sign that a dog is becoming anxious or even beforehand, if possible. Alprazolam is dispensed in the form of tablets or liquid and is given orally, either with or without food.