Trazodone For Dogs



Shaking. Whimpering. Scratching at the door. While dogs are often seen as happy animals, they can experience negative feelings just like us. If your dog gets anxious in certain situations, you may want to look for a safe, vet-approved alternative like Trazodone for dogs.


But what is Trazodone for dogs, and will it help your dog specifically? While all dogs are different, Trazodone generally treats anxious behaviors and feelings for most pups. Read on to find out what Trazodone can do for your dog and how to safely use this veterinary medicine.



What Is Trazodone For Dogs?

Trazodone started as an anti-depressant for people, used for insomnia and stress. Because Trazodone was so effective and safe, researchers started giving it to dogs and cats. And the results were positive! It's now commonly prescribed to dogs for anxiety-based behavioral issues.


Trazodone commonly comes as a white tablet that's taken orally. It works by keeping serotonin in the brain longer, making it a "serotonin antagonist." Serotonin is what makes people and dogs feel good, which is why it positively affects your dog's mood when it's in the brain longer!


When Is Trazodone Prescribed?

Veterinarians will prescribe Trazodone for your dog to treat anxiety and other behavioral issues. It's commonly prescribed for dogs to take daily but can also be used to help dogs cope with specific situations.


  • Separation anxiety: This is a common anxiety disorder in dogs, characterized by a dog's fear or stress when left alone. A dog with separation anxiety will react negatively to you leaving, even if it's just a different room, including howling, pacing, excessive grooming, urinating, vomiting, and chewing.
  • Scary situations: Dogs can get triggered by certain situations, including thunderstorms, fireworks, or visiting the vet. Sudden, scary moments like these can make some dogs hide, whimper, vomit, or lash out aggressively.
  • Social anxiety: While dogs are often seen as social creatures due to their pack animal history, some dogs get anxious around new people, pets, or places. Dogs with social anxiety will become defensive or aggressive when put in new situations.



yorkie on vet table with pills



Dosage Of Trazodone For Dogs

You're probably wondering, "how do I use Trazodone for my dog specifically?" Trazodone is prescribed for dogs either for certain situations or to treat canine anxiety disorders. The way your dog takes Trazodone is specific to your dog's needs, preferences, and genetics.


Trazodone is often given daily to dogs to treat anxiety, usually every eight hours. If your dog has a behavioral issue or anxiety disorder, you'll want to use this veterinary medicine each day at the same time. This ensures that your dog will feel its effects consistently.


If your dog only becomes anxious in certain situations, give your dog Trazodone before these short-term situations. Make sure that you give your pup Trazodone about 30 minutes to 60 minutes before the triggering event, making your dog calm well before it starts.


So how much do you exactly give your pup? The most common Trazodone dosages are 50, 100, 150, and 300 mg. The general daily guideline is to give your dog 2.5 mg to 3.5 mg of Trazodone per pound, although some dogs are given more (even up to 15 mg) depending on the reason they are taking the medication.


In most cases, veterinarians will start your dog on the lowest possible dosage of this veterinary medicine. This allows you to monitor your dog's reaction to the Trazodone, studying their behavior and possible side effects.



Side Effects Of Trazodone for Dogs

Research on Trazodone has found that it's a generally safe veterinary medicine for dogs with very minimal side effects.


The most common side effects your dog may experience are:


  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiousness
  • Aggression
  • Shaking
  • Panting
  • Dilated pupils


These symptoms are said to be uncommon. When a dog does experience these symptoms, they are said to be usually quite mild. But it's still smart to be aware of these possibilities.


Certain dogs may be more sensitive to Trazodone than others. This includes that are hypersensitive to Trazodone or dogs that are already using monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Dogs that have severe heart disease or liver or kidney impairment may also want to be closely monitored as well as pregnant dogs.




Cost of Trazodone

The cost of Trazodone depends on the amount of mg you purchase and where you buy the prescription. An average cost is $12 for seven pills. You can find generic versions of Trazodone for cheaper, including on websites like Chewy. Generic versions of medications have the same ingredients but don't carry the name brand on the label.



Interaction With Other Drugs

When taking Trazodone, it's important to remember what other veterinary medicine your dog is taking.


If your dog is taking other serotonin-enhancing drugs or anti-depressants, combining them with Trazodone may lead to an uncommon side effect called Serotonin Syndrome. While rare, Serotonin Syndrome is quite serious, leading to tremors, dilated pupils, vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing. Serotonin Syndrome can also lead to seizures, so contact a veterinarian immediately if you suspect something is happening.


To avoid Serotonin Syndrome and other possible side effects, always use caution when giving your dog Trazodone if they are currently on:


  • Aspirin
  • Zole antifungals
  • Cisapride
  • CNS depressants
  • Digoxin
  • Diuretics
  • Fluoroquinolones
  • Macrolide Antibiotics
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
  • NSAIDs
  • Ondansetron
  • Phenothiazines
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
  • SSRI anti-depressants
  • Tramadol


You should also tell your vet if your dog is using vitamins, supplements, or any herbal therapies before they start taking Trazodone.



owner giving tablet to black dog



Ingredients In Trazodone

Before giving your dog its Trazodone dosage, always check the ingredients to make sure there is nothing your dog is allergic to or sensitive to.


The active ingredient is Trazodone Hydrochloride. Other ingredients commonly found in Trazodone medication include:


  • Gelatin
  • Artificial coloring
  • Lactose monohydrate
  • Magnesium stearate



How Long Does It Take Trazodone to Work?

Trazodone is a prescription medication, meaning that you won't often see results the first time it's taken.


For humans, Trazodone can take one to two weeks to start working initially. And it can be up to six weeks until you feel the full benefit of the drug, according to NHS. It's even said that you can feel a bit worse the first few weeks of treatment before you start feeling better.


It's actually a quite similar experience for your dog! VCA Animal Hospital reports that it can take one to two weeks for your dog to experience the benefits of taking Trazodone.


It can be a bit disheartening to not see any changes in your pup at first. It might even make you feel worried seeing them anxious and distressed even after being given Trazodone. But remember that it's all about consistency when you want to treat behavioral disorders.




Give your dog Trazodone at the same time every day. Meanwhile, monitor your dog's behavior and any possible side effects of the prescription. Don't switch up the routine even if your dog doesn't appear to be any better after a week. Keep giving your dog the medication at the same time, and make sure it's always the same amount.


Your dog will start to feel an improvement over time. You'll notice a difference in behavior during moments that usually trigger them, like you leaving the house for work or a new dog entering the home.


Remember to discuss your dog's behavior with your vet, whether it's noticing an improvement or feeling like your dog is still anxious. This will give your vet a better understanding of what to do next to help your dog. This could mean a larger or smaller dose or even a different medication altogether.


Read More: Antibiotics and medications for dogs



Trazodone Alternatives

Trazodone is a generally safe medicine for dogs, but some pet parents understandably don't feel comfortable giving their pups over-the-counter prescriptions. If you're looking for a natural alternative to Trazodone, CBD oil provides the same benefits without the side effects.

Pet CBD is a natural, non-intoxicating compound found in the hemp plant. It interacts with the receptors in your dog's endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is in charge of their overall balance and well-being, known as homeostasis. The receptors are found in all major body systems, including the digestive, immune, and nervous systems.


CBD interacts with these receptors in a unique way that provides positive benefits throughout your dog's body. One of the common benefits of CBD oil is feeling a sense of calm and comfort. This makes CBD oil very popular for dogs that are anxious or experiencing behavioral issues. You'll notice your dog appearing relaxed and confident, negative emotions slipping away.


Pet Hemp Co's CBD oil is completely natural and organic. You'll find no artificial ingredients or chemicals. There are no known common side effects of CBD oil, with the most reported being drowsiness and a dry mouth. It's very safe for pets, making it a great alternative to prescribed medication.


CBD oil can be given to your dog twice a day or every eight hours. Giving your dog CBD oil on a consistent schedule will make the effects more potent, even if you lower the dosage.



Final Thoughts - Trazodone For Dogs

Trazodone for dogs is an increasingly popular way to help your dog remain calm and treat behavioral disorders. Dogs are prescribed Trazodone for generalized anxiety and separation anxiety, keeping your dog calm, relaxed, and content.


If you want to decrease anxiety for your dog in specific situations, provide your dog with Trazodone or CBD oil. These will allow your dog to deal with triggering moments like being left alone, going to the vet, or an upcoming thunderstorm.


Read Next: Benadryl For Dogs: Side Effects, Dosage & Alternatives




Before giving your dog Trazodone to treat behavioral disorders, remember to contact a veterinarian and schedule vet visits to determine if it will help your dog specifically. A vet with a veterinary medicine degree will be able to study your dog for anxiety-based behavioral disorders and determine the right path of action for your dog's specific needs.



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