Americans spent $49 billion on their pets last year, with an ever-growing percentage paying for treatment of behavioral issues with tailor-made psychotropics, reports James Vlahos in the New York Times Magazine. Frustrated owners are feeding dogs drugs like Reconcile—beef-flavored Prozac—-for "mental illnesses that eerily resemble human ones," from separation anxiety to compusive disorder. There are even doggy diet pills.
"Owners want their pets to be more like little well-behaved children," says one industry observer. "People always want the magic pill," a veterinarian adds. For some, however, drugs may be the only thing saving a beloved out-of-control animal from euthanasia. "It's a lifesaving thing," says another vet.