Trazodone for Dogs: Dosage, Side Effects, and Alternatives
Nali Macklin - March 22nd 2020
Table Of Contents
You’ve desperately tried everything from Googling do-it-yourself training to spending hundreds of dollars on professional dog trainers, but nothing seems to help ease your dog’s fear & anxiety.
Whether it’s vet visits, loud noises (like thunderstorms & fireworks), or just leaving him alone for 10 minutes, your pooch becomes nothing less than a nervous wreck.
Finally, your vet suggests prescribing him Trazadone.
“Wait, as in Trazadone for humans? Is that safe to give my dog?”
For humans, Trazodone is an antidepressant prescribed to treat anxiety, depression, and mood-related disorders. However, this drug is also commonly prescribed by veterinarians for dogs suffering from separation anxiety and other anxiety-related issues.
Trazadone works by increasing the serotonin levels in the dog’s brain when it’s unbalanced.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates many of the body’s functions, including behavior. When your dog doesn’t get enough serotonin, it can result in behavioral issues such as fear, aggression, and anxiety.
Vets can prescribe Trazodone for dogs (and sometimes cats), but this drug is only FDA approved for humans.
This drug is commonly available in 50mg, 100mg, 150mg, and 300mg tablets. Your vet can determine the proper dosage for your dog; the general rule of thumb is 2.5mg per pound per day.
This drug should not be given to dogs with hypersensitivity to Trazadone as it can cause an allergic reaction.
While side effects of Trazodone are uncommon, the following symptoms can occur:
- Increased Aggression
- Increased Anxiety
- Priapism (prolonged erections)
In some cases, your dog can develop a condition called “Serotonin Syndrome” - the most severe potential side effect of Trazodone and can be life-threatening.
Serotonin syndrome occurs when Trazadone is taken in high doses, taken with other medications, or has a poor reaction with certain foods.
Signs of serotonin syndrome may include rapid heart rate, difficulty breathing, dilated pupils, or tremors/shivering. If your dog is showing these symptoms, you should contact your vet immediately.
Trazodone is available as generic and brand names (Desyrel and Leptro).
According to drug.com, the average cost for 50mg of Trazodone is $10 for seven tablets.
Prices will also vary depending on the pharmacy you visit.
As mentioned earlier, the most severe potential side effect of Trazadone is developing serotonin syndrome.
The following medications could increase the risk of developing this condition and should use extreme caution when combined with Trazadone
Certain drugs such as Carbamazepine, Modafinil, Phenobarbital, Phenytoin, and Rifampicin can decrease the effect of Trazadone.
If you’re looking for a natural alternative to Trazadone for your dog, CBD oil will be your best choice. Many people have turned to CBD oil for dogs the help with anxiety-related issues.
CBD oil calms and soothes anxiety naturally by interacting with your dog’s natural endocannabinoid system.
CBD oil also has other known benefits for pain management, arthritis, seizures, cancer, and improve the overall heart health of dogs.
Some side effects of CBD oil include dry mouth, lowered blood pressure, drowsiness, but nothing has caused severe harm to pets as far as we know. However, there are still ongoing researches on the side effects of CBD oil.
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