Sometimes, dogs get extremely anxious. Whether it’s anticipating a serious surgery or it’s an overwhelming sense of dread before a big event, some dogs experience debilitating anxiety that may require medication. Acepromazine is one option veterinarians prescribe when dogs may become anxious. But is this medication right for your dog?

What is acepromazine?

Acepromazine is an antipsychotic/tranquilizer that veterinarians prescribe to dogs and cats to reduce anxiety and stress, particularly before a surgery.

Is acepromazine safe for dogs?

It depends. Acepromazine is FDA-approved for veterinary use, but the safety of any medication, including acepromazine, will differ from one dog to another based on the dog’s health history, any medication(s) they take, their age and weight and their current health standing. It is important to discuss potential risks of giving your dog acepromazine with their veterinarian.


Dosage will vary for every dog, based on the various health aspects mentioned above. You should always consult a veterinarian about dosing instructions specific to your pet.

As a general dosing guideline, 1-800-PetMeds states the following:

  • 0.25-1mg per one pound of body weight of your pet 45 minutes to one hour before procedure

Again, please note this is only a general dosing recommendation, and you should always ask your pet’s veterinarian for personalized dosing instructions. Dosing may also differ for other animals, including horses and cats.

Side Effects

Just like with any other medication, acepromazine may cause your dog to experience side effects, including but not limited to:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Hives
  • Slow breathing
  • Allergic reaction
  • Depression

Please note this list is not exhaustive. If you notice your dog is experiencing any side effects with acepromazine, contact their veterinarian immediately.

Final Thoughts

Keeping an anxious dog at bay can be difficult. In severe cases, especially before a major surgery, your pet’s veterinarian may recommend a medication such as acepromazine to ease their stress. Still, you should always discuss the potential risks and side effects before your dog starts treatment with the drug to ensure they are safe and healthy.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute professional medical advice, nor can it replace the advice of a licensed professional.

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