Actor recommends a human antidepressant for a pet who’s ‘addicted to TV’

Surprised Ben the Vet
Surprised Ben the Vet. Screenshot.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

This is weird on two counts for me. Ben the Vet listened in on a phone-in agony uncle radio show in which it seems an American actor, Paul Rudd, dished out advice to a women who was concerned that her dog was ‘addicted to television’. Sounds odd. How does she know? I mean her dog might watch TV a bit but that does not mean he/she is addicted. It is more likely that the dog’s owner is addicted to the TV which is why it is on all the time. She could simply turn it off and take her dog for a walk instead. <.p>

It gets weirder as the actor recommends treating the ‘addicted’ dog with a human antidepressant, Trazodone, which has been adapted for pet use. Ben the Vet politely criticises Mr Rudd because you should only administer drugs to your cat or dog under veterinary supervision.

But also, it seems extraordinary that the tranquilliser was recommended at all. Surely drugs should be minimised at all times as all of them are poisonous to some degree. The only relevant question about drugs is are the upsides bigger than the downsides?

I could be wrong but veterinarians in America tend to be freer in prescribing drug treatments for cats and dogs than their counterparts in the UK. I think you have to be really, really careful when prescribing antidepressants for pets because you can never be sure that the animal is depressed and/or anxious.

The decision is dependent on a good amount of guesswork. The ‘cure’ is likely to be a change to the environment. A change to the caregiving. Those sorts of controllable and physical things compared to altering the brain chemistry with chemicals.

To medicate the pet out of the stresses caused by an environmental problem due to inadequate caretaking (if that is the case and I don’t know) is a bad decision.

Rudd recommended the drug because he had done the same with his dog.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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