Trazodone For Dogs: Uses, Dosage, & Side Effects

Trazodone is a medication that belongs to a class of drugs known as serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitors (SARIs). Primarily used as an antidepressant and sleep aid, it can also treat anxiety in dogs.

It is generally considered safe for dogs with a vet’s recommendation. Most pet parents only report rare and minimal side effects.

Here’s what you should know about the uses, dosage, and side effects of trazodone in dogs.

Uses Of Trazodone For Dogs

Sedated dog
(Photo Credit: Dima Berlin / Getty Images)

Trazodone is a versatile medication that can assist with various behavioral issues, including separation anxiety, compulsive behaviors, excessive barking and howling, as well as aggression.

A veterinarian may give your pup this medication to sedate them if they are experiencing anxiety or fear. Some pups don’t like the vet! Following surgical procedures, it is commonly prescribed to keep dogs calm and relaxed during the post-operative period.

Prior to veterinary visits, dogs exhibiting fear or aggression can benefit from trazodone administration. It can also be used as a safe and effective solution to assist dogs during travel. Whether it’s car rides, plane journeys, or any other form of travel, this medication can help alleviate anxiety for a more comfortable experience.

Dosage Of Trazodone For Dogs

The dosage of trazodone for dogs can vary depending on several factors, including the dog’s weight, overall health, and the specific condition being treated. It is crucial to consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate dosage for your dog. Veterinarians typically consider the following dosage guidelines when prescribing trazodone for dogs:

For anxiety and behavioral issues: The typical starting dose ranges from 1 to 2 mg per pound of body weight, given every 8 to 24 hours. This can be adjusted based on the dog’s response and individual needs. The maximum recommended dosage is generally around 6 mg per pound of body weight.

For sedation during veterinary visits or grooming: A single dose of trazodone, given about 1 to 2 hours before the event, is often sufficient. The dosage may range from 2 to 5 mg per pound of body weight.

It’s important to note that these are general dosage ranges and may not apply to every dog. Your veterinarian will consider your dog’s specific situation and may prescribe a different dosage based on their professional judgment.

Always follow your veterinarian’s instructions regarding the dosage and administration of trazodone for your dog. Do not adjust the dosage or discontinue the medication without consulting your veterinarian first, as abrupt changes can have adverse effects on your dog’s health.

Side Effects Of Trazodone For Dogs

Trazodone is considered safe for dogs when administered by a veterinarian. However, like any medication, it can have potential side effects. Some possible side effects of trazodone in dogs may include:

Sedation and drowsiness: Trazodone can cause drowsiness and sedation, especially when given at higher doses. It is important to monitor your dog’s activity level and adjust the dosage if necessary.

Gastrointestinal upset: Trazodone can occasionally cause digestive disturbances such as vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite. If these symptoms persist or worsen, it’s important to consult your veterinarian.

Changes in behavior: In some cases, dogs may experience changes in behavior, such as increased agitation, restlessness, or unusual excitement. If you notice any significant changes in your dog’s behavior, it’s essential to inform your veterinarian.

Low blood pressure: Trazodone can lower blood pressure in some dogs, leading to symptoms like weakness, dizziness, or fainting. If your dog exhibits these signs, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Allergic reactions: Although rare, dogs can have allergic reactions to trazodone. Signs of an allergic reaction may include swelling, itching, hives, difficulty breathing, or collapse. Seek veterinary assistance immediately if you observe these symptoms.

It’s important to note that not all dogs will experience side effects, and most side effects are generally mild and temporary. However, it’s crucial to closely monitor your dog after starting trazodone and promptly report any concerning symptoms to your veterinarian.

Always follow your veterinarian’s instructions regarding the use of trazodone and do not adjust the dosage or discontinue the medication without consulting them first.

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