A survey of dog owners’ perceptions on the use of psychoactive medications and alternatives for the treatment of canine behavior problems

Karen A. van Haaften, Emma K. Grigg, Cheryl Kolus, Lynette Hart, Lori R. Kogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

To evaluate dog owners' opinions regarding the use of psychoactive medications and alternatives in dogs, 513 past or present dog owners completed an online, anonymous survey. Owners reported their comfort levels, concerns, and relevant decision factors regarding the use of psychoactive medications (divided into categories of fast-acting/situational and slow-acting/daily medications), herbal or nutritional supplements, pheromonal products, and cannabinoid products for their dogs. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and nonparametric correlation analysis. Dog owners were more comfortable overall with the use of fast-acting versus slow-acting medications (62.3% [N = 320] and 42.7% [N = 219] were comfortable, respectively). The most concerning undesirable effects for owners were sedation, potential for addiction, and changing their dog's personality in a negative way. Most dog owners (90.3%, N = 463) considered proven effectiveness to be an important consideration factor when considering psychoactive medication or alternative use for their dogs, followed by ease of administration (79.9%, N = 410), veterinarian recommendation (77.4%, N = 397), and cost (76.6%, N = 393). Owners who had a personal history of taking psychoactive medications for anxiety or depression expressed higher comfort levels giving their dogs fast-acting medications, slow-acting medications, pheromonal products, and cannabinoids than owners who had not taken these products. The information gathered in this study will help veterinarians understand their clients' attitudes toward psychoactive medications and alternatives and be prepared to address owners' questions and concerns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Veterinary Behavior
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020

Keywords

  • canine anxiety
  • cannabinoid
  • herbal supplement
  • nutritional supplement
  • pheromone
  • psychoactive/psychotropic medications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

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