Thyroid UK
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Off topic - can our hormone supplements affect our pets?

Hello everyone -

it may seem an odd question, but:

My five month old Boston Terrier is overexcited, won't sleep, bites me (badly) all the time and generally shows the behaviour of an older pup. The animal therapist (yes, until a month ago I made fun of people who needed a therapist for their pets...!) says he is hormonally too developed for his age.

Is it possible that my hormone supplements (T3 and hydrocortisone for Hashimoto's and Hypoadrenalism; Progesterone pills and Testosterone cream) could have caused or contributed to this? Of course there is a lot of cuddling (when he's not in crocodile/piranha mode he is sooo puppyish) and he will lick skin.

Any thoughts? Thank you in advance.

27 Replies

I have no idea milupa; all I can offer is a plug in made by the same people who make Feliway to calm my mental Bombay cats works for them. The pooch product is called Adaptil and you can buy it through Amazon - if that's where you buy it from see Red Apple's post under Pinned Posts (show 4 more) to go through a special link which raises funds for TUK :)

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Hi Rapunzel, thank you for the info!

I just googled 'Bombay cats'. How gorgeous! But alas, good looks don't always come with good manners ;-)

I will look into Adaptil right away, and thanks for reminding me to use the link.


As far as I know, they are dangerous to pets. I had hormone cream for a while (not any more as didn't work for me) and the info leaflet said not to handle pets or let them sit on you for ? (can't remember) hours after application and to be very careful to wash hands. I have also read reports of problems in small dogs being traced back to owner's HRT cream. See (doesn't mention male hormoes but can't see why it would be different)


If you search for "HRT pets" you'll find loads of articles.

Keep skin covered up afterwards and don't let him lick you in areas where you applied cream that day. Don't even handle opposite sex friends, or children.

I shouldn't think pills would be a problem


Hi AngeloftheNorth -

thank you so much for your reply. I have googled this but without success, must have used the wrong search words.

I had asked vets, my docs, the pharmacist who compounds the cream... nothing.

I will peruse your links and will also be very dilligent about keeping the puppy at a distance etc.

I am sorry the hormones didn't work for you. Estrogen supplementation made me feel awful (female, 52) even though my numbers were and are very low.

Take care!


I have sublingual lozenges now. It was just creams that did nothing for me.


Interesting. May I ask: which hormone(s)?

And do you get them compounded?

Thank you (and glad that you found something that works!!)


PS I read the articles and printed them out to take to the vet on Monday. I hope I have not done permanent damage.

I arrange all my own blood tests, now I'll do the same for the puppy ;-)


This is the scary one:


You may need to get him to see a neurologist.


It will be interesting to see if the waiting time for the pup is as long as it was for me...! :-)

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Lots of animals and other things use their tongue to lick/pick vitamins from their hair/skin.Considering the relative bodyweights it would be surprising if the dog did not get a mighty dose of your treatments. Just imagine what it does to us humans. !


Good point, I only recently learned that cats for example get their vitaminD from licking the fur after sun exposure... Pup is now four kilos and of course licks with abandon! Scary to think about the extent of exposure!

I'm still not sure if only the skin where I apply cream is taboo (easy) or the entire skin surface (ok in winter). Is it just the licking or any contact... so many questions. Tomorrow's visit to the vet will be interesting. As I wrote before: I hope I didn't do permanent damage.

Thank you for your help, greatly appreciated.


I think it is quite possible that any animal that you like every closely with picks up in your hormone levels. There are many anecdotes with dogs and cats having the same condition as their human. I listened to a radio program about a woman who had to have her horse euthanassed because of cushions and it wasn't until afterwards that she realised she had the same symptoms and they found a tumour on her adrenal gland which she had removed.


Hi Steenygirl -

thank you for your comment, definitely food for thought. It would be so unfair if my dog 'inherited' all my conditions...! But I'll know what to check for first as and when symptoms appear.

My vet has already warned that many raw fed dogs develop thyroid problems because the gland is in all 'throat' containing meats.

So much to learn.


I hadn't heard of problems with the thyroid relating to raw food with dogs. Our gsd was started on raw food after problems with the gut and skin, so much better. He is 8 and lovely and lean. I think carbs cause lots of problems with diabetes in dogs, just like humans!


Hi - I like the leanness as well, raw fed dogs do look different!

My local raw food shop has removed all throat meat from their mixes since they became aware of the potential danger. I now wonder if all other glands that end up being fed to our dogs might cause problems as well?

We use thyroid or adrenal cortex (I have even tried pituitary and hypothalamus) extracts to treat deficiencies, so not an outlandish thought.

And yes, I feel best on a low carb diet.

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No, definitely not.

My guess is that your pup is just being a bit more hormonal than normal. Did the therapist suggest techniques for teaching him how unacceptable his behaviour is? And are you taking him to classes?

Whenever he jumps up turn your back on him and refuse to respond. If he doesn't stop then put him into another room for a couple of minutes. Praise him when he stops, go silent when he misbehaves. You might need to leave a lead on him (trailing from a harness) so you don't need to put your hands in harm's way. Be UTTERLY consistent. One chink in your armour and he will find it. Everyone in the house needs to be on board. Cuddles only when he is good, and put him on the floor the moment he gets mouthy. In truth 5 months is very young, and most puppies are mouthing, but if it is getting out of hand then nip it in the bud now.

Do LOTS of training. 5-10 minutes at a time, sit, down (means lie down, not off which means all four feet on the floor) come. Simple stuff that he can excel at and earn rewards. He needs to learn that it is really worth pleasing you! Lots of videos on the net for force free training.

Never hit him. NEVER. And don't shout either. They just don't get it. But you can say OW loudly when he hurts you and turn away.

All that being said, some dogs are just excitable, and so self control for them is much harder. He may never be perfect, but he can certainly learn not to hurt you.


Hi Ruthi -

thank you! I will get his hormone status checked tomorrow, a trainer who knows Bostons has commented on his hormone-led behaviour and appearance which is a few months ahead.

The trainers have tried everything, the situation is getting worse. I fired the first trainer because he used physical punishment which I agree is unacceptable and counterproductive.

Sadly I cannot get out of the room without his teeth embedded in foot or leg or him standing in front of me.

My main take away from your post is 'One chink in your armour and he will find it'. Oh my he is smart! Also: consistency. Hubby feels sorry for the little guy and we have a good cop/bad cop situation way too often.

I am training but had not thought of using a command for 'all four on the floor'. I'll add the 'off' this afternoon. Again, thank you!


You definitely need a house lead! He is only little so a short lead at arm's length should protect you.

It sounds rather as if he is frightened of losing you. Has anything happened? And are you sure of his age when you got him? Have you talked to the breeder and literature owners?

How much walking do you do with him?


Dear Ruthi -

thank you for your reply. I hope it is ok to keep this off topic going? In a way it is relevant, because the ongoing stress is affecting my health, I was finally recovering a bit...

Anyway, I use a soft leash at home but when he is 'angry' he jumps high enough to bite my hand and pulls with amazing strength, hard to control.

The birth date is confirmed in the papers, and sadly the breeder doesn't respond to questions.

The last trainer told us to not play or exercise, but to keep him calm all day. Big mistake because it led to three crazy hours every evening.

I have introduced more structured walks (20 mins, he's five month old, long legs and breed typical potential hip problems) twice a day and mental problem solving, which he loves plus training sessions. No tug of war.

He literally freaks out every time he cannot have what he wants.

And I cannot recall a traumatic situation that would have caused the attachment. He will only fall asleep on my lap, after an hour I can transfer him to the crate. Nights are fine.

Apologies for the long post. I adore the puppy and want him to be happy and feel safe. But I also need a little bit of time to look after myself I am so scared of backsliding healthwise.

Ruthi, if you have any additional ideas: Thank you! PM me if you want.


Where are you? And who is your better trainer? (I nearly said PM me, and then remembered that its Doctors we have to be careful about!) There are trainers and trainers!

There are also Boot Camps. Expensive, and it only works permanently if you follow the instructions they come home with to the letter. But its not that much over the life of the dog! I know only one trainer I would trust to do the boot camp work.

I once had a foster dog who was pretty mad and uncontrolled. Different behaviour of course, and not a puppy. At the time I was under huge pressure, and he eventually went to someone else who could put the training in. But I know the desperate feeling when you love them, but just cannot do a thing with them! I just cannot imagine what parents of challenging children feel!!

What did the trainer say about the going to sleep on your lap (awww!) and jumping up?

Its difficult to say without seeing the body language, but this is NOT normal behaviour for a companion breed. If you told me he was a working Irish Terrier I would be less surprised.

At 5 months you can do 25 minutes under the minute rule - 2 or 3 times a day.


A foster dog? How nice of you to do that, isn't it hard to let them go again once they've settled in, feel safe and establish a bond?

The first, female trainer was inexperienced and had basically read the same books as I, was happy to play with a puppy. The second, male, was harsh and got a result but it looked like fear to me. The moment the trainer left the 'aggressive' behaviour came back double. And the third has experience, runs a dog school and pointed out the early development signs, he looks and acts too male for his age. Hence the question about hormones.

Yesterday it was still very cold but dry and sunny so I took him for a longer walk plus he got to run on a super long leash. Then some 'seek the treat' games and today he has barely barked nor bitten and slept for hours after breakfast next to me. I have never allowed jumping up, he sits if he wants something (except during crazies, when he doesn't hear a thing of course).

As adorable as the insistence on body contact is, I am reducing it cm by cm. I need the confidence to do the right thing, I guess. Thank you for your encouragement!!!


I love fostering, but can't now because Reggie is such a pillock when it comes to strange dogs. Yes, it was sometimes hard to let them go, but I'd not be able to keep them all so that would mean no more fostering. Dogs are happy as long as they have a pack, I know that. So its only me that suffers when they go.

They taught me SO much about handling scared dogs, and 'vicious' dogs. Little Jimmy was number 15 or so. He was scared most of the time, inclined to bite when truly terrified, and far too cute looking for his own good. So all the people who wanted a little dog saw how gorgeous he is, and just didn't get it! On top of that Seamus, our top dog and puppy trainer really liked him. The first visiting dog he's actually liked as opposed to being polite to. So we let Seamus keep Jimmy as a pet.

So it sounds like lots of exercise is the answer. He is too young to do agility, but keep it in mind for later, it really wears them out. But definitely a good idea to go to classes! If he can make friends you can get together for a cuppa and the dogs wear each other out.

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Hi Ruthi - if Seamus is ever in Berlin send him my way..! So lovely that he adopted Jimmy (or Jimmy adopted him?)

The vet looked the puppy over, said he needs some supplements for joints and bones for a while (now I have a supplement drawer for the puppy).

He agrees that dogs licking the skin after hormone application is dangerous. Alas he was only aware of estrogen creams. When I pointed out that I use testosterone he said he's look into it and that it might explain some of the pup's actions.

I am keeping up the physical and mental exercises, he regularly demands more of the brain games and when he starts losing concentration he's ready to fall asleep (on me) within minutes.

Thank you so so much for sharing your experiences and stories.


Hi I've just read your post. I don't know where you live but I know of a brilliant dog behaviorist. He will travel. His methods are kind and calm. He adores dogs. He also works for the courts assessing so called 'dangerous dogs'. He has all the qualificstions. His name is Nick Jones at Alpha dog behaviour. If you Google he will come up. He isn't cheap. But he is good. Sounds likeyou and your puppy need some help. Some dogs pick up that their owners have illness or some weakness and take advantage. Good luck!


Hi Amala -

thank you, some very good points. The dog trainers I hired could not figure out the behaviour pattern, in fact the puppy was so intimidated by the male trainer he barely moved. So finding a dog behviourist is definitely the next step. I am in Berlin, but will google your recommendation - never enough info.

Your comment about taking advantage of weakness/illness makes sense. The more desperate I am for a break/nap the more outrageous he acts, even if he is super tired and falling asleep standing up. So much to learn!


I have studied a little dog behaviour. Dogs are pack animals. In a pack the leaders are the elders ie the parents, grandparents etc. Mother dogs never have unruly pups! If a dog comes into a situation where no one is consistently fulfilling the 'leadership' role, then they will try to fill it! It's in their DNA. Never let them through thefront door before you. Very important for dogs! When you come home they must enter after you. Never reward or praise excitement. 2 walks a day are crucial but never let dog walk or pull in front of you. Simple things can make all the difference. Cesar Milan has written some good books on rearing puppy's. He is contravertial but I think he is very good. I have 2 rescue dogs and now they are good as gold! Good luck!