Don’t Say “No to Drugs”. Say “Yes” to Modern Medicine


Last in a series

Koko’s anxiety extended far beyond her antipathy against aerial aliens and her TV predator panic. She pestered for attention, nudging and pawing her people to distraction. She followed from room to room. They couldn’t even enjoy their privacy in the loo. Annoying? Sure. But from my side the of the exam table I saw a dog who desperately needed peace, not to mention her long suffering humans.

Half -baked attempts to improve behavior disorders deliver paltry results. Pets like Koko deserve the best shot at a good life. Research-based behavior modification and management methods were essential. Caring for the physical neurochemical imbalances in their brains is no less important. Safe, carefully selected antianxiety medication can make a very big difference.

There are many medications from different classes, each targeting different receptors in the brain. We don’t prescribe tranquilizers. No side effects are acceptable. Koko feels much better now with no risk, short or long term, to her internal organs.

Koko’s anxiety responded well to sertraline but sudden noises still caused her to jump out of her skin. Gabapentin, likely the safest medication of any kind, was added at a low dose. No longer on the edge of hysteria, this sweet girl was able to learn. She started playing more and began losing her fear of the backyard.

But that @#%&!! television continued threatening Koko’s survival. Her covered crate, now a cozy den, was parked next to Jan’s and Marty’s chairs, its open door facing away from the wall-mounted digital repository of marauding carnivores. A food-dispensing toy, called a Twist ‘n Treat, and stuffed with canned food and frozen overnight, provided Koko a scavenging opportunity. Fiendish TV creatures? Who cares?

Sadly, activities like gymnastics and ballet were off the table. Something about a lack of opposable thumbs. Getting Koko out of the house to play and sniff the rear ends of others of her ilk would get her good and tired. I know this. The Nichol family Border collie “Mick” runs his tail off at K9 Resort. A tired dog is a happy dog,

For help with behavior problems, you can sign-up for a Zoom Group Conference on my website,

Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in-person and in groups by Zoom ( Each week he shares a blog and a video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at Email pet behavior or physical questions to or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.