Appetite Stimulant For Dogs
Appetite stimulants are medications that can help increase the desire to eat in dogs and cats. These drugs are used when animals refuse to eat, or if they eat less than normal for a period of time. Some pets with cancer, kidney disease or neurologic disorders will also lose their appetite. These drugs may be helpful for both pets and people who suffer from depression or anxiety issues that can lead to weight loss as well.
For dogs who refuse to eat, there are medications that help stimulate the appetite.
Dogs can lose their appetite for a variety of reasons. For example, dogs with cancer may not feel like eating because they have lost their sense of smell and taste. Dogs that are recovering from surgery may also not feel like eating because they’re in pain. Additionally, dogs may refuse to eat if they have painful teeth or gums, or if they have a condition such as diabetes mellitus.
In these cases—and others—there are medications that help stimulate the appetite and get your dog back on track with his daily routine.
Medications that can help stimulate appetite in dogs include:
- Medications that can help stimulate appetite in dogs include:
- Amino acids (e.g., arginine, lysine)
- Steroids (e.g., prednisone, dexamethasone)
- Thyroid hormone replacement drugs like levothyroxine (Synthroid)
These medications may take several days to start working. Your dog’s appetite should improve within a few days, but continue giving the medication for as long as your vet prescribes it, even if they seem to stop having an effect on your pet’s eating habits. Side effects of these medications include stomach upset or diarrhea; contact your veterinarian if they occur and cease giving them to your pet immediately if you see no improvement in their appetite after three days of use.
Mirtazapine is an antidepressant that may help with appetite loss. It is also the only FDA-approved appetite stimulant for dogs.
Mirtazapine can be used to treat depression and anxiety in humans, and many people use this medication for dogs that are anxious or depressed due to a lack of appetite. Most dog owners should not give their pet mirtazapine without consulting a veterinarian first, as there are some side effects that could be dangerous for your pet’s health if they are not properly monitored by a professional.
Clotiazepam (Valium®) is a benzodiazepine that works by reducing anxiety, relaxing muscles and suppressing seizures. It is used to treat acute vomiting and nausea in dogs.
It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your veterinarian.
Fluoxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which means it blocks the removal of serotonin from the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that may be involved in appetite regulation. The drug is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
Cyproheptadine is a prescription drug that works as an appetite stimulant. It’s not safe for use in pregnant dogs, who may suffer from abortion or stillbirth following consumption. Cyproheptadine blocks histamine receptors and increases the production of serotonin in your pet’s brain. This action stimulates appetite in dogs and cats by triggering feelings of satiety.
Since it’s a derivative of an antidepressant medication, cyproheptadine (Periactin®) can also be used to treat allergies by reducing itching and inflammation caused by pollen exposure during springtime months when most allergies flare up.”
Dronabinol (Marinol®) is a man-made version of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. It acts on cannabinoid receptors located throughout the body and brain. Dronabinol is used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, weight loss due to AIDS, and loss of appetite from chronic medical conditions such as cancer or dementia.
Dronabinol should not be taken by pregnant women or people who have had seizures (fits).
Megestrol acetate (Megace®)
Megestrol acetate is a synthetic steroid hormone that is used to treat breast cancer in women. Megestrol acetate can be used as an appetite stimulant for dogs and it can also help control weight gain in dogs with Cushing’s disease. This drug works by lowering levels of prolactin and corticosteroids (cortisol) in the body.
Megestrol acetate must be given to your dog by mouth on a daily basis for the rest of his life. The amount of megestrol that you give him each day will depend on what type of cancer he has, how much weight he has gained from taking steroids, and if he has any other medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.
There are medications designed to make dogs want to eat again.
- Mirtazapine (Remeron®)
- Clotiazepam (Valium®)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac®)
- Cyproheptadine (Periactin®).
These medications can be used to treat anorexia in dogs. They are not meant to be used as a long-term solution, but they can help your dog feel better while you search for a more permanent solution.