Everyone loves a rambunctious dog or a playful cat. But is there such as thing as being too energetic when it comes to pets? Depending on which side of the electric fence you're standing on could determine the answer to this buzz worthy question.
One of the more arguable and controversial practices that is being implementing in the field of pet care is the use of antidepressant medication such as Prozac and Xanax to act as a calming influence. Pet owners who decree that they simply can't handle their hissing cat or the incessant barking of their dogs jettison to their nearby, neighborhood veterinarian in search of medication to keep their dog or cat mindful of the rules, and turning these previously palpable pets into a more demure version of themselves.
According to various research, Americans spend upwards of $15 million per year on antidepressant medication for their pets. That staggering number includes both household pets and those kept within the confines of zoos.
Dogs are supposed to run, jump and be incredibly energetic. The same could be said for cats, jetting between living room and dining room and playfully pawing at your toes or fingers.
But at what point did "man's best friend" turn into man's biggest problem or the "cat's meow" transform into something not too inviting?
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Some would point to the owners, not the pets, as the source of the problem. Gone are the days of working traditional hours, coming home and taking dogs for a walk or playing for hours with cats. Whether you're an adult or child, life rarely revolves around a routine that can be kept consistent on a daily basis. You're staying late at work, your second job starts in 30 minutes or an impromptu soccer practice has you skipping dinner for the sake of your son or daughter hitting the field.
All the while, your pet is playing to an empty arena, starved for attention and acting out accordingly when they get little to none. Their behavior is really not much different than that of a husband, wife, daughter or son that simply can't buy a few minutes of free time from a spouse, parent or sibling.
The result is doing something you shouldn't, just so someone finally takes notice.
Why would we, as pet owners, assume that dogs and cats would be that much different? An extra walk during the week or simply making more time for them could prove potent for the battle between owner and pet. Animal experts also point to something as rudimentary as a change in diet that increases protein and limits fat and starch content.
Anyone who has owned a dog can attest to the fact that when they're ignored, they tend to get into trouble throughout the house, whether that is a tipped over garbage can or tearing through your brand new down comforter in the bedroom.
The flip side to this argument is supported by consumers and pet physicians alike who point to results over ramifications when writing prescriptions for pets. Owners have stated without fail that Prozac or Xanex have quelled any misgivings perpetrated by their pets, and many notice a change for the better within a few days of the first dose.
Dogs and cats suddenly embody a sense of calmness that previously was missing and their missteps within the house have since vanished. Sounds like a win-win for everyone, but did anyone bother to ask the dog or cat?
A closer look could reveal that the medications act as a nothing more than a means to an end for the person who, often at no fault of their own, succumbs to the hustle and bustle of life and simply struggles to devote time to themselves, much less their at home pets. Let's also not forget the drug company angle, either. They're certainly not going to discourage an entirely new demographic or segment of the population pursuing their drugs and thus leading to increased revenue and a better year end bottom line. That $15 million dollars has to go in someone's pocket, right?
Medicine is much easier to break apart, stuff inside a food bowl and go about your day as if it is the norm; it certainly is more efficient and simpler than saying quietly to yourself "how about a walk tonight?"
Another pending and equally pressing question that needs answered is another that comes from within; as a pet owner, can you truly say you've done everything possible to nip the bad behavior from your pet in the bud before turning to medication? Any veterinarian will tell you that mood altering drugs should be seen as a last resort, rather than an impromptu detour at the early stages of your pet ownership journey.
Sure, some cats simply don't stop hissing, scratching or clawing at children. Dogs that don't play well with others certainly exist and probably deserve more than just a few strokes to their shoulders. No one argues the effectiveness of antidepressant drugs when it comes to pets, but rather question whether they should be the first on the treatment pecking order.
Your next course of action should be predicated on the notion that you've exhausted every traditional option, rather than simply acting on the first signs of liveliness or less than admirable behavior from your pet.
That is a leash that is far too short to be seen as sensible.
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