Trazodone for Dogs: Dosage, Side Effects, and Alternatives
Nali Macklin - March 22nd 2020
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 Trazodone or other doggie downers (prescription anti anxiety medications).
“Wait, as in Trazodone for humans? Is that safe to give my dog?”
Table Of Contents
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.
Trazodone 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.
When trazodone is given to dogs for instant release or daily use, vets will prescribe anywhere from 3mg per pound per day, all the way up to 40mg per pound per day.
When trazodone for dogs is used in combination with other drugs such as antidepressants, they will generally advise on a dose between 4mg per pound per day and 30mg per pound per day.
This drug should not be given to dogs with hypersensitivity to Trazodone 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 Trazodone 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 Trazodone is developing serotonin syndrome.
The following medications could increase the risk of developing this condition and should use extreme caution when combined with Trazodone
Certain drugs such as Carbamazepine, Modafinil, Phenobarbital, Phenytoin, and Rifampicin can decrease the effect of Trazodone.
As we have discussed, this drug can have severe side effects and many possible drug interactions, so you might want to explore natural alternatives to trazodone for dogs.
CBD works with your dog's endocannabinoid system, which is related to many bodily systems, including those which regulate anxiety.
CBD's calming effects on both humans and animals have been the focus of several scientific studies. One found that CBD reduced stress in rats, with no visible side effects, and another found encouraging results for people with a general anxiety disorder. While more research is needed, these early results are promising.
We make all-natural CBD oil for dogs and CBD chews for dogs from organically grown Colorado hemp. This hemp carefully refined at room temperature to create a safe and effective product, especially for dogs.
Our oils come in multiple strengths with a plastic pet-safe dropper to ensure that dogs of all sizes can get an effective dose. They are always lab tested and made right here in the USA from human-grade ingredients.
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