Trazodone for Dogs: Dosage, Side Effects, and Alternatives – Relievet

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Trazodone for Dogs: Dosage, Side Effects, and Alternatives

Jason Jones MBA - March 22nd 2020

 Accuracy Review & Edit: Nicole Wanner, DVM - June 7th 2021
Dosage Of Trazodone For Dogs Side Effects

My vet quickly suggested prescribing Louie Trazodone. I looked confused and asked, "Wait, as in Trazodone for humans? Is that safe to give my dog?"

I have tried everything from do-it-yourself training to spending hundreds of dollars on professional dog trainers, but nothing seems to help ease my Louis' fear & anxiety.

He becomes a nervous wreck when he has to go to the vet, hears loud noises (like thunderstorms & fireworks), and even when he's left at home for ten minutes.

Table Of Contents

What is Trazodone
Dosage Of Trazodone
Side Effects Of Trazodone
Cost Of Trazodone
How does Trazodone interact with other drugs?
Are there any Natural Alternatives to Trazodone?

What is Trazodone?

Medications like Trazodone rebalance serotonin levels in the brain, which can help improve behavior issues like fear, aggression, and anxiety. Louie was having problems similar to these, so I thought Trazadone might provide a solution. 

Dosage of Trazodone

When Trazodone for dogs is used in combination with other drugs such as antidepressants, they will generally advise a dose between 1mg per pound per day and 3 mg per pound per day. Thank goodness Louie was not on any other antidepressants. He was not showing the signs of a dog that may need antidepressants like obsessive licking, nibbling (often of paws), and tail-chasing. Louie's problems seemed to be based on anxiety and fear. 

Side effects of Trazodone 

One of my primary concerns about giving Louie Trazadone was the side effects. While side effects of Trazodone are uncommon, the following symptoms can occur:

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sedation
  • Incoordination
  • Increased aggression
  • Increased anxiety
  • Priapism (prolonged erections in males)

Signs of serotonin syndrome may include vomiting, diarrhea, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, and seizures. If your dog takes Trazodone and is showing these symptoms, you should contact your vet immediately.

Cost of Trazodone 

While I would do anything to help Louis, another concern I had is how much the medication costs. Trazodone is available as generic and brand names (Desyrel and Leptro). Always look for generic options as they should be identical but are often less expensive.

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.

How does Trazodone interact with other drugs?

Thankfully, Louis wasn't on any other medications, so I didn't have to worry about drug interactions. But pet parents should be aware of them.

Trazodone may interact with the medicines listed below. Look out for the starred medications as they could increase the risk for serotonin syndrome when combined with Trazodone. Your vet will help you design the safest medication regimen for your dog.

Drug
Drug 
Amitraz*Amitriptyline*
AmphetaminesClarithromycin
Clomipramine*Dextromethorphan
ErythromycinFluconazole
ItraconazoleKetoconazole
Metoclopramide*Paroxetine
PhenelzineSelegiline*
SertralineTelithromycin
Tramadol*Fluoxetine*

Certain drugs such as Phenothiazines, Phenobarbital, and Rifampin may decrease the effectiveness of Trazodone.

The safest thing to do is to always let your vet know if your dog is taking any other drugs. 

Are There Any Natural Alternatives to Trazodone?

As Louie continued taking Trazadone, I concluded that the side effects were too harsh to manage. While your experience might be different, Louie and I were overwhelmed by the lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, sedation, and incoordination. I just wanted him to be happy and healthy.

Unfortunately, Louie also displayed aggression and increased anxiety, something I'd never seen in my sweet dog. It was devastating to see such a happy dog take a drastic turn, so I searched for natural alternatives in my desperation.

A friend suggested I try a Full-Spectrum CBD oil for dogs, and by this time, hopelessness drove me to give it a shot.

While the oil worked great for some things, it was dark and stinky, and I could tell my dog was under the influence. Louie's eyes were blood-shot red, he was unhealthily eating anything and everything placed in front of him. He was also lazy to the point where he was not even playing with his favorite toys or his pet siblings.

Things got worse from there. I often caught Louie staring at the wall, and I panicked, not knowing if he was having a seizure or if there was something wrong on a different level. It turns out he was suffering from ataxia. Static ataxia means incoordination within the nervous system. It causes abnormal movement in the legs, the head, and the torso, impaired social interactions, and, as seen in my pet, frozen posture. Static Ataxia is a known side effect of THC in dogs and not something I wanted for Louis. 

I continued my search online, determined to find a safe solution for Louis. Strangely, I kept seeing Hempseed oil ads. I was wondering if Hempseed oil may be the solution. However, I was let down again when I discovered that Hemp Seed Oil and CBD oil are very different products. Hemp seed oil manufacturers were misleading about their products and how they worked. CBD oil is made from the leaves and flowers of the hemp plant, which contain a higher concentration of CBD, the compound I wanted for Louie. Hemp seed oil does not contain CBD. Thankfully, I knew enough to avoid being scammed.

By this time, I had given up and was ready to deal with Trazadone and the side effects Louie and myself would have to manage. I felt there was nowhere to turn, and the product I needed did not exist. Then of all people, my parents told me about a product they give their dogs, cats, and even their birds.

My life and Louie's life have improved. CBD oil for dogs has been fantastic for Louie's issues, and I'm not the only one who's had an experience like this. 

Related Post:

CBD For Dogs Anxiety

Finding the best CBD oil for dogs with anxiety could dramatically change your dogs' life and yours. Making the correct choice could help your dog avoid a lifetime of pharmaceutical drugs and the side effects that come with them.

Fortunately, there is research on CBD for dogs suffering from anxiety. This article breaks it down and draws from our decades of experience to help you find the best CBD for dogs with anxiety.

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Accuracy Review by:
Dr. Nicole Wanner is a veterinarian and published scientific researcher. She studies the effects of CBD as a Ph.D. candidate.

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