03 May 2010

{2may2010: side effects}

Darwin's on her weaning off period from the Prednisone and it can't go by faster.  Has anyone else had their dog on Prednisone?  The side effects of excessive thirst and hunger (equaling excessive peeing and pooping) has been annoying but easy enough to deal with.  The side effect of behavioral changes is another thing.  While the lethargy is worrisome because she's usually a very high energy gal, it's also been good keeping her inactive and resting.  The one behavioral side effect that I don't know how to deal with as well is her new aggression/anxiety she displays now.  Going on walks, she'll bark at people, dogs, anything.  We've been working on her "leave it" command trying to get her to ignore things and it's worked sometimes.  We've been working on her "no bark" command when we're inside and she hears any noise at all.  It's a work in progress, but she's been getting better at it.  
Tonight though, I took her out for a potty break and she was embarrassingly out of control.  As we were heading back in I noticed two ladies walking up the street with their two dogs, so I told Darwin "leave it" and tried to get her to stand to the side so they could pass.  Instead she started pulling me down the street barking at the dogs.  The two ladies understandably were scared of this giant barking, pulling dog and ran with their dogs across the street.  I want to say she was just barking and pulling to go play with the dogs, but I'm not positive and either way she shouldn't (and usually doesn't) behave like that.  I told her "no" and got her inside quickly and put her on timeout on her bed.  
What is the best way to deal with this behavior?  I read online that side effects like this will usually go away once the treatment is stopped, but we still have another two and a half weeks of one pill a day and another three weeks of one pill every other day.  So that's another five and a half weeks of crazy Darwin and I can't have her pulling me down the street barking like a madman.  
Grrr.  So frustrating.


  1. Welcome to my world. Two and a half weeks isn't really long enough to get behavioral changes, but hopefully she will revert back to her old self after the meds wear off. Mango is a barker and puller on walkies and it is pretty terrifying and embarrassing. I've been working with him for years. What is working for me now is to confine his walks to the yard or other safe places and use lots of rewards when he sees things from a distance and ignores them. He has games that we play in our yard to get his physical and mental exercise so that he doesn't really "need" walks. Good luck.

    Mango Momma

  2. Sorry Darwin's Mom - but all us doggies can be embarassing at times. I don't like it when scary kids try to pet me sometimes. I bark and pull my head back. Since I bark really loud it scares the kids and the parents give me the stink eye. They should be glad that I barked and said no, it's a warning! Seriously- dogs that don't give a warning first are the biters - I'm just saying.

    I'm still a big work in progress. Our Dane barks wake the whole neighborhood. Momma understands your embarassment.

    woof - Tucker

  3. Bummer. :( It sounds like you are doing all the right things...just keep consistent with that. Wild that medication has such behavioral effects...I hope the time passes quickly.

    Amber & Nala

  4. I hope all will be back to normal very soon!

  5. Remember that out of character behavior really is a medication side effect, not a Darwin-ism! That said though, keep consistent with whatever training you would do with the bad behavior, that way it will be remembered once the meds are (finally!) done.
    On a somewhat side note: I know the behavioral stuff is more annoying and upsetting than the excessive eating and bathroom side effects. But, just keep an extra eye on her, I have seen many dogs eat something they shouldnt have due to the prednisone....then healing and meds are prolonged! :(

  6. Oh Darwin! You poor thing! I hope the anxiety goes away when those drugs are out of your system! I sure liked what the Mango Mama said about keeping you in a "safe zone" so you don't get scared. Is that possible where you live?
    My great brother Booter had to be on prednisone for periods of time. The drinking and peeing marathons stopped once the meds did. He didn't have any of the behavioral changes, fortunately, but maybe those will be like the other side effects and go away quickly!!!
    Love, Ammy

  7. I came to ask about any side effects and you got that subject covered well. :( At least there are not bad physical ones, more of a nuisance than a problem. About the behavior, while we don't know anything concrete, our mom would continue to discipline and train hoping that the training would help counteract in the long run. Two and a half weeks are manageable. As for your mom not being able to interpret your barking, ours gets it. She thought Linguini was being aggressive while she was clearly playful. You parents worry too much and we deeply appreciate it. Have you considered the hormones (pheromone)? We recently found out you can get them in a collar. Check out a random link we found, but we'd try it for sure ourselves: http://www.amazon.com/Sentry-Behavior-Pheromone-Collar-28-Inch/dp/B001TLS0B0/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1272928760&sr=8-2-fkmr0 Of course there are all sorts of other types (diffusers mainly, like the DAP dog diffusers)

  8. I know prednisone causes weird personality changes in humans, and it does usually go away as the med is discontinued. Hope that helps some.

  9. We don't know anything about the side effects, which I hope disappear once she's done with the medicine. We do know about embarrassing dogs though...

  10. if you truly think it is a side effect of the drug (and i wouldn't debate that at all) I would work it by not letting her in a situation where she can display it. that means LESS public outings. just for now.

    Just because her behavior may be a side effect of the prednisone, do not make the mistake of believing once she's off it she'll go back to normal. in my experience, behavior is learned, so even if prednisone is making her more jumpy and more aggressive than usual, by the mere practicing of that behavior while on prednisone, may lead her down the path of beoming a dog with those behaviors off the drug simply becuase she 'practiced and learned' them.

    I would try to keep her in predictable environments for now (as much as humanly possible, i know you live in a small condo) and when she's off watch how she behaves. if aggression is still there, then you will probably need professional help. Aggression is a tricky beast. There are 150 ways to deal with it. I don't think there's any "right" way. I think there's only the way that works for YOUR dog. What you need then is someone to help assess and decide what will work. Sorry, it's not a one-answer question! :)

    prednisone is a necessary evil, huh?

    thanks for telling me about pittie pack and prongs. i'll go over there and give them some love.
    wild dingo

  11. Looks like you got some great advice! Hope you get back to normal soon!