Trazodone for Dogs Guide: How it Works [Dosage & Side Effects]

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It’s frustrating to deal with your pup’s strange and anxious behavior as a dog owner. To understand your canine partner, you need to dig into his stressed action. This article will let you know what causes your puppy to act weird and how you can treat it. Find out if trazodone for dogs is an option for your pet.

trazodone for dogs

trazodone generic tablets

If you are in a hurry, you can get your product from right here:

Chewy Trazodone for dogs Tablet

Trazodone used to treat depression. The tablets treat the major depressive disorder (MDD). Pet owners of three puppies said that the product helps with fireworks, thunderstorms. A few customers advised to lower/adjust the dose if you don’t want your puppy to sleep.

Or you can dig in and read all about Trazodone below.

Abnormal Stress and Anxiety in Dogs

According to UK and Australian studies, nearly 80% of dogs suffer from a behavioral disorder.

Anxiety based behavioral disorders and phobia are the main reason for your dog’s behavioral problem. Fear and generalized anxiety in dogs are fundamental emotions to cope with in harmful situations. But, sometimes, these adaptive responses of your dog can become more extreme and persistent. These persistent behaviors can affect your relationship with your dog.

Your dog can not express shame or contempt but can express happiness, sadness, relief, frustration, and fear. Anxiety and fear affect every breed differently due to stress depending on past experiences and individual nature.

For example, if your pup is afraid, he may seek safety from a threat. It is normal if this behavior lasts only a few minutes, but showing scared behavior for a long time is a signal that your pup has undergone a shock.

How to Determine Dog Anxiety

The primary way of communication between you and your dog is body language. Most often, dogs communicate through bared teeth and wagging tails. Anxious dogs show behavior such as:

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  • hyperactivity
  • reactivity
  • lack of responsiveness

Identifying and understanding the cause of your dog’s anxiety and stress is the key to calm your dog.

Various key points can help you understand the cause of dog anxiety and behavioral problems. Dog anxiety could be due to several reasons, including:

  • Separation Anxiety – fear of being alone or separated from the owner
  • Noise Phobias – fear of strange or sudden noises
  • Resource guarding – fear of losing a valued item
  • Dog to dog aggression – fear of strange dogs
  • Charge to people – fear of unknown people
  • Other canine anxiety disorders

A survey resulted that 17.2% of dogs suffer from separation anxiety and 39.2 % from noise sensitivity—an similar study estimated the prevalence of general fearfulness in 26.2% of dogs. The survey studied 192 breeds, which depicts that any bread can suffer from dog anxiety disorders.

Different causes result in several behavioral and physical reactions. At the same time, generalized anxiety has a prolonged duration and no particular object of threat. When afraid, your dog can show  like:

  • pacing, panting
  • shaking/trembling
  • attempting to hide
  • too distracted to give your attention
  • tries to escape
  • less body language

Understanding your dogs’ emotional response can help fight fear and anxiety.

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The Solution to Your Dog Anxiety

Like other dog owners, you must have tried DIY training and calming techniques. If none of these work, your vet will prescribe doggie downers – drugs for dogs’ anxiety symptoms. The ultimate goal of these is to slow the brain’s activity and make your puppy less anxious.

Dog lying on the grass Trazodone for Dogs

The doggie downer drugs work by enhancing a natural chemical messenger GABA in the dog’s body. One of these drugs is prescribed Trazodone, an antidepressant.

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Trazodone for Dogs

trazodone moleculeThe impact of anxiety and fear disorders in dogs is also evident in the variety of treatment products designed to address the problem. There are two FDA-approved medications to manage separation anxiety in dogs. Recently, Trazodone has gained popularity due to its effectiveness in various conditions in dogs.

Trazodone is an oral sedative drug. It is employed in treating mood and behavioral disorders in mammals and specifically dogs.

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Wait! Isn’t Trazodone for Humans?

Trazodone was first developed as an antidepressant for humans that can be used as an off-label drug for insomnia and post-traumatic stress and has one of the most severe warnings by the FDA: Black Box warning. This warning alerts doctors and patients about the possible side effects of Trazodone.

While this drug is used to treat depression and anxiety, this may cause an increase in suicidal thoughts and actions. Trazodone is observed to have more dangerous effects in children, teenagers, or young adults. These effects are expected to be more visible during a few initial years of trazodone treatment.

How will Trazodone Affect my Dog?

Serotonin is a “feel-good” neurotransmitter. This hormone is associated with decreased aggression and an increased sense of well-being in mammals—an imbalance in the brain’s hormone level affects mood and behavior.

This inhibition results in a hypnotic effect. The FDA does not officially approve Trazodone for use in animals. However, it can be prescribed legally by vets for extra-label purposes, such as dog anxiety.

When to Give Trazodone to My Dog?

Often the main objective of Trazodone is to minimize anxiety attacks in short-term situations. However, Trazodone can also keep patients calm after orthopedic surgery or during vet visits.

Sometimes, it is better to give Trazodone to your dog before thunderstorms or fireworks if he is afraid of it. For relieving anxiety-based behaviors, it is suggested to combine Trazodone with other medications. It is better to offer Trazodone and action modification training in separation anxiety-based behavior disorder in dogs. Trazodone is also issued to treat anxiety during hospitalization, travel, and activity restriction.

If you are aware of a particular person or object that can stimulate anxiety in your dog, you can give Trazodone before the trigger happens. It can help your dog stay calm and unaffected by that trigger. For example, if you are near to attend fireworks and are aware that your dog is noise-averse. Then it’s a better choice to start Trazodone administration to your dog before the fireworks start instead of after the first boom.

Trazodone for Dogs under the bed

How to give Trazodone to my dog?

Trazodone is available in the market in solid dosage form, i.e., tablet. It is given orally by mouth. There is no hard and fast rule about its direction. Trazodone may be provided with either food or on an empty stomach.

However, if your dog vomits the tablet or acts sick after receiving the medication on an empty stomach, it’s better to try giving the next dose with food.

The level of Trazadone reaches its peak level in the blood within about 1 to 2 hours. Due to the short onset of action of Trazodone, it is also used for short-term stress relief. It is recommended for long-term medication to give medication a few weeks before full effects are observed.

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Trazodone for dogs side effects

Trazodone is a short-acting drug having a rapid onset of action. of Trazodone’s possible side effects in dogs in dogs are not well documented but are generally very mild if present. A single-dose pharmacokinetic study concludes that oral intake of Trazodone produces mild sedation. A few possible Trazodone side effects include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Sedation
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting or gagging
  • Inflammation of the colon
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Persistent and painful erection of the penis
  • Arrhythmias
  • Increased anxiety
  • Increased appetite
  • Aggression

Serotonin syndrome in veterinary medicine

When Trazodone together with other serotonergic medications (serotonin enhancing drugs) is given, dogs may have a condition called serotonin syndrome. The serotonin syndrome arises due to serotonin toxicity, your dog can show several signs, including:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Hyperthermia – elevated body temperature
  • The sensitivity of the skin
  • Depression
  • Dilation of pupils
  • Vocalization
  • Blindness
  • Excessive salivation
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of control of movements
  • Paralysis
  • Disorientation
  • Coma and death

If your dog has liver or kidney disease, there are chances that the effect of Trazodone prolong.

Trazodone for dogs dosage

Trazodone is available as a generic medication in the market. The tablets come in various trazodone dosage ranges, including 50mg, 100 mg, 150 mg, and 300 mg. You may give Trazodone to dogs with or without food.

The dose of Trazodone in veterinary medicine is 1.7 mg/kg to 19.5 mg/kg per day.

During the therapy, an amount of Trazodone is low from 2 to 5 mg/kg, and the dose titrates to achieve clinical success. If the effect becomes tolerant, increase Trazodone use every 10-12 days. According to a study, the most significant Trazodone dose is 14 mg/kg/ per day.

Trazodone dosage chart by weight

Adjust the dose of the Trazodone based on dog’s weight, condition, and tolerance. One of the essential methods of Trazodone for dog dose change is by total mg size based on weight. The initial dose of Trazodone should be lower, For example:

  • If your dog is less than 22 pounds, the initial Trazodone dosages should be a total of 25 mg every 8 to 24 hours.
  • If your dog is 22 to 44 pounds, then the full amount of Trazodone should be 50 mg every 12 to 24 hours.
  • Commonly prescribed 100 mg trazodone every 12 to 24 hours to dogs that are over 44 pound

Recommend a higher target dose after 3 to 5 days of the initial dosing with Trazodone. Like initial dosing, adjust Trazodone for dog according to weight. For example:

  • Target dosing Trazodone for dogs less than 22 pounds is a total dose of 50 mg every 8 to 24 hours,
  • If your dog weighs between 22 to 44 pounds, give the full amount of 100 mg Trazodone every 8 to 24 hours,
  • If your dog weighs between 44 to 88 pounds, prescribe 200mg trazodone every 8 to 24 and
  • If your dog weighs over 88 pounds, recommend administering a total dose of 200 – 300 mg Trazodone every 8 to 24 hours.

Takeaways: Increase the Trazodone dose for dogs every 10 to 14 days. For high tolerance, increase the amount within 3-5 days. Trazodone doses for dogs can vary from every 8 hours to every 12 hours.

Sad Dog lying on the bed

Risk factors associated with Trazodone

Before giving Trazodone to your dog, check for various risk factors. If your dog is hypersensitive and has heart disease, liver or kidney impairment, do not provide it. Several animal studies show severe adverse effects of Trazodone on fetus health. Thus, choose to check the drug effect and focus on the benefit to risk ratio in pregnant dogs.

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Medication to avoid with Trazodone

Several studies proved that Trazodone with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors is safe. This combination may lead to serotonin’s synergistic effects, but Trazodone tolerates when combined with flea, tick, and heartworm medication.

Antifungal drugs can enhance the effect of Trazodone. But, Studies didn’t report any adverse effects related to anesthetics and Trazodone.

Serotonin syndrome is a complication of an overdose of serotonergic medications, including Trazodone and SSRIs. Although the chance of serotonin syndrome is not common, check patients for signs of other serotonergic drugs.

Some drugs must be used with caution when given with trazodone: antihypertensive drugs, aspirin, azole antifungals, cisapride, CNS depressants, digoxin, diuretics, fluoroquinolones, macrolide, metoclopramide, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, NSAIDs, ondansetron, other serotonin enhancing drugs, phenothiazines, SSRI antidepressants, and tramadol.

Toxicity with Trazodone for dogs

Trazodone having a wide dosage range is becoming more common as veterinary medicine. Due to tolerance with Trazodone, recommend to titrate up its dose. ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center studied that Trazadone at 5g/kg gives several toxicity signs to naïve dogs. But, several mild symptoms can occur at a lower dose. These signs include depression, hypotension or hypertension, apnea, seizures, tremors, and many more. These signs usually appear within 30-60 minutes post-exposure. It is common to observe that the clinical signs can last 10-12 hours, but they may last over 24 hours. Often the symptoms associated with serotonin syndrome are essential to identify. These signs can be severe and may result in a life-threatening condition that is often hard to manage.

Attempt decontamination in case of exposure to a toxic dose. Although clinical signs are too rapid to allow any emesis or activated charcoal, if your dog is asymptomatic, recommend induction of emesis within 1 hour of exposure, and activated charcoal and sorbitol suggest in large directions only.

Treatment of trazodone toxicity is symptomatic and supportive. It indicates diazepam in case of toxicity resulting in tremors and seizures. Administer Cyproheptadine for serotonin syndrome, suggest atropine for the treatment of bradycardia.

Now you are ready to pick Trazodone

You now feel more confident about deciding to treat your puppy’s anxiety. Trazodone would be an excellent choice for dogs’ anxiety. It is best to consult your vet before using Trazodone to treat your canine’s behavioral issue.

You’ll find detailed reviews on the best trazodone products as well as the pros and cons. If you know what you need, here are the quick links to products:

1. Chewy Trazodone for dogs Tablet

trazodone generic tablets

Trazodone tablet is an oral tablet used to treat depression. Trazodone is available as a salt of HCl. Trazodone hydrochloride tablets treat major depressive disorder (MDD). To make giving these tablets easier for your dog, you can use a pill pocket. The product focused on the ways of administration into your puppy. If you’re confident that your puppy isn’t allergic to it, then you can go for this product. “Parents of three puppies said that the product helps with fireworks, thunderstorms.” A few customers advised to lower/adjust the dose if you don’t want your puppy to sleep.

Pros:

  • It improves mood, appetite, and energy levels in pups with a major depressive disorder (MDD).
  • Trazodone also helps decrease the anxiety and insomnia that can go with depression.
  • It’s a flat tablet; you can hide it in your dog’s wet food.

Cons:

  • tablets are difficult to dissolve in water when mixing with dry food.

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2.  TEVA TraZODONE Rx

trazodone behavior medication for dogs rx

This product TraZODONE is an antidepressant medication. The product works by affecting chemical signals called neurotransmitters in the brain. This product can product is available in dosage ranges, i.e., 50mg, 100mg, and 150g tablets. One parent complimented the product on being best for his dog when given with cheese.

Pros:

  • Treat types of depression, anxiety, fear-based aggression, and behavioral disorders.
  • Useful to calm your dog
  • Price is cheaper

3. Apotex Rx Trazodone 50 mg x 100 Tabs

apotex rx trazodone 50 mg x 100 tabs

The product’s container looks like a tamper-proof bottle containing 100 mg of 50mg each.

Pros:

  • The product manages depression and types of depression, anxiety, aggression, and behavioral disorders.
  • The product increases the brain’s chemical signal that helps your pup calm.

Cons:

  • The product is only for a prescription.
  • Product price is within the range of the average pup parent.

 4. Zydus Trazodone for dogs

zydus trazodone

Trazodone product is sold per tablet and requires a prescription from your veterinarian. The product received positive reviews from customers. One parent complimented the product’s efficacy in helping dogs travel 3,000 miles in a chill and calm mood. This product is right to go for your best canine buddy. Only you have to be careful about his allergies.

Pros:

  • It can calm your dog from thunderstorms or fireworks, separation anxiety, and travel.

Cons:

  • It gives a bad reaction to puppies.

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5. Walmart Trazodone Tablet Rx

walmart trazodone tablet rx

This product is Sold as Individual Tablets in strengths of 50 mg, 100 mg, or 150 mg. The store provides a service to contact the pharmacist about this prescription veterinary medicine. Customers agree with the brand’s claims about efficacy. This product allowed a dog to suffer from insulin-dependent diabetes in high sugar levels.

Pros:

  • Treat dogs with separation anxiety.
  • Teat fear and phobias.
  • Price is cheaper
  • Perfect for diabetic pups due to its calming effect during high sugar levels.

Cons:

  • A dog might have appetite suppression due to other comorbidities.

6. Allivet Trazodone for dogs Tablet Rxallivet trazodone tablet rx

The product is useful for both short-term stress relief and long-term treatment.

Pros:

  • It gives in quick, one-time bursts to address your dog’s anxiety.
  • Pills’ smaller size helped the buyers fit these into pill pockets.
  • The product helps dogs with nightmares, anxiety attacks, and noise.
  • The product received a positive response from almost all 88 customers.
  • Cheaper

Cons:

  • The product is only useful for a short duration.
  • The product’s effects wear off about 6 hours before the next dose.

7. Trazodone HCL Tablets, 150mg, 100ct.

trazodone hcl tablets 150mg 100ct

This product comes in a sealed container with 100 mg of 150mg each. This high dosage strength recommends using caution. But, according to the weight chart, the product will be best to avoid frequent dosing in your pet.

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8. TraZODONE for dogs Hydrochloride Tablets, USP

trazodone hydrochloride tablets usp

The product comes in a variety of doses and tablets per package. The variations include;

  • 50mg/Single – Tablets
  • 50mg/100ct – Tablets
  • 100mg/Single – Tablets
  • 100mg/100ct – Tablets

Pros:

  • Has variation to choose from based on your dog’s need.
  • Effective for anxiety and Phobias

Cons:

  • This product must have a prescription from a licensed vet. The vet must direct its use after proper diagnosis.

9. Trazodone HCL Tablets, 50mg, 500ct.

trazodone hcl tablets 50mg 500ct

This product is the best antidepressant for dogs. It increases serotonin activity in the brain. The tight and appealing container of the product contains 500 tablets. That means this will be enough to handle your dog for a long time individual dosing. The product hasn’t had a customer review yet, so it will be hard to predict any cons related to the outcome.

Pros:

  • It treats depression, anxiety, sleep, and pain.
  • This product claims to be useful for the management of pain.

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FAQ’s About Trazodone for dogs

1. How much Trazodone should I give my dog?

The dosage of Trazodone for dogs varies according to the weight of the dog. A general guideline recommends a daily dose of around 2.5 mg to 3.5 mg per pound. But, in the case of long-term treatment, you may give dogs 15 mg per pound every 24 hours.

2. Is Trazodone a sedative for dogs?

A recent single-dose pharmacokinetic study of Trazodone performed on six dogs. The research found these effects when Trazodone produces mild sedation with no observable side effects.

3. How long does it take for Trazodone to wear off?

Trazodone has a half-life between 5 and 9 hours. That means Trazodone will take (on average) around seven hours to end half of the drug. The short half-life asks for frequent dosing.

4. What is a good sedative for dogs?

One of the most prescribed oral sedatives for dogs is Acepromazine. Various other drugs use a combination for sedation. Moreover, a high dose of Trazodone can also make your dog sleepy.

5. What is a natural sedative for dogs?

Various dog calming supplements contain sedative herbs that can sedate your dog. These herbs are Valerian and chamomile. In areas where CBD is legal, you can also buy CBD products for dogs.

6. How long does it take for Trazodone to work in dogs?

For Short term stress relief, Trazodone hydrochloride will show its effect about 1 to 2 hours. But, this medication can take a few weeks before you can observe the full impact.

7. Does Trazodone make dogs sleepy?

Not always, but high doses of Trazodone can make your dog sleepy and lazy. If you don’t want your dog tired, you need to adjust the quantity.

Dog peeping on the car window

8. What does Trazodone do to dogs?

Trazodone increases the serotonin hormone level in your dog that can decrease anxiety. Higher doses can also make your dog sleep.

9. What can I give my dog to sedate him for grooming?

It would be best not to give your dog sedatives for grooming unless your vet prescribes the drug. In some cases, But Benadryl helps. Use the best dog clippers that are as silent as possible.

Author: Dr. Saba Iqbal – I am Dr. Saba Iqbal, a Pharmacist by profession. I got my Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D) degree from the University of Sargodha. Currently, I am working in a US-based Biotech firm. My expertise includes pharmacology, pathology, pharmaceutics, physiology, and medicinal chemistry. My interest and vast knowledge about drugs, doses, and formulations help me understand Trazodone’s effects in veterinary medicine and on dogs much better than an average. Drug dosage adjustment, therapeutic drug management, and pharmacovigilance are the primary pharmacist responsibilities I employed while writing this article.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Riley

    I recently adopted a dog that was rescued from an abusive owner. It was quite difficult the first few days but trazodone helped a lot however you need to be very careful with dosage.

  2. Lydia Hanson

    I have to had the need for trazodone, I just needed clarification on the side effects and now I have my answers. Thanks

  3. Jack Millman

    We will be traveling with our dog. We have given her Acepromazine in the past about 1/2 hour before the plane left she slept and recovered fine after a couple of hours.
    The possible side effects of trazodone be dangerous as she will be in a confined space under the seat on the plane.
    She is 9 years old, in good heath about 25 pounds
    Looking forward to your advice

    1. Priit Kallas

      If you already have something that’s working, stick with it. Why fix it, if it isn’t broken.

  4. Chris

    I have an anxious rescue dog who is fearful around new people and shows aggression when strangers visit and move about the house. I am having guests and would like to try trazedone for 5 days while my guests are here Which btw include 2 toddlers. My terrier mix has a mild heart murmur what is your advice. I don’t want to lock her in the bedroom while they are here. But I am nervous about having her free with 2 young children. In my small house. Help

    1. Priit Kallas

      For using the drug you have to consult a vet who knows the dog. If you have a separate room where you sleep, let the dog sleep with you. In the beginning, try to introduce the dog to your quests. You have to start somewhere to make your dog comfortable around new people.

  5. Joe

    I have Trazodone prescribed for my dog. I also have a Trazodone prescription for myself. If same dose can I use mine for the dog?

    1. Priit Kallas

      If it contains nothing else but Trazodone, then it’s the same thing. However, sometimes there are other ingredients that may not be safe for humans or dogs.

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