A white and orange dog at a veterinarian's office.
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It’s sad, but sometimes our pets get anxious, whether it be due to fireworks over the Fourth of July or a veterinarian checkup. In some cases, veterinarians may dose pets with Trazodone, an antidepressant, to help calm them down. But, is Trazodone for dogs safe, and if so, what are the benefits?

What is Trazodone?

Trazodone is a serotonin antagonist reuptake inhibitor (SARI) prescribed to treat anxiety and phobia in humans. In dogs, Trazodone can treat various forms of anxiety as well, including stress related to owner separation, surgery or hospitalization and even general distress.

Is Trazodone safe for dogs?

In some cases, yes. Veterinarians can prescribe Trazodone to dogs to treat symptoms associated with anxiety disorders, particularly distress. Furthermore, veterinarians can administer an oral dose of Trazodone to dogs post-surgery to treat similar symptoms. 

Dosage

Your pet’s veterinarian will have the best information regarding specific dosage for Trazodone. If you have questions or concerns about your pet taking the medication, make sure to ask them about potential risks and benefits. Dosage will differ depending on your dog’s size, health profile and the condition being treated.

Side Effects

Your dog may experience side effects from taking Trazodone. According to the Veterinary Centers of America (VCA) Hospitals, such side effects may include but are not limited to:

  • Digestion issues, including diarrhea and/or vomiting
  • Increased stress or anxiety
  • Allergic reaction
  • Shaking
  • Lethargy
  • Increased appetite
  • Aggression
  • Vocalization

Please note that serious side effects may also occur, sometimes as a result of serotonin syndrome, including:

  • Seizures
  • Hyperthermia
  • Depression
  • Pupil dilation
  • Salivation
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Paralysis
  • Coma

If you are concerned about potential side effects your pet may experience from taking Trazodone, talk with their veterinarian, who will be able to help you decide the safest form of treatment available.

Final Thoughts

Watching our pets suffer from anxiety is never fun, and in some cases, severe anxiety can call for medical treatment. Always talk to your pet’s veterinarian before starting treatment with any drug, including Trazodone. A veterinarian will have the most knowledge on potential benefits and risks of medication for your pet.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.


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