trazodone for dogs

At Avenue Dogs, we’re committed to being your one-stop-shop for helpful info on all-things-dogs. The information found within this article isn’t intended to replace the advice of your vet. Instead, it should act as a good starting point if you’re considering Trazodone for dogs.

Trazodone for dogs is a well-known and vet-trusted prescription medication. It can be used in both short and long-term capacities for addressing a dog’s anxiety, behavioral issues and/or aggression. While Trazodone for dogs may not be for every situation, there are plenty of positive outcomes for this “off-label” prescription medication.

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If you’d like to know more about home medications that can help your pet, check out our vet-approved list below:

Dyne for Dogs:
For Energy & Weight Gain
Omeprazole for Dogs:
For Ulcers & Inflammation
Enrofloxacin for Dogs:
For Bacterial Infections

Cefpodoxime for Dogs:
For Bacterial Infections
Sucralfate for Dogs:
Chronic Upset Stomach
Cosequin for Dogs:
For Joint Health
Ursodiol for Dogs:
For Liver & Gallbladder
Trazodone for Dogs:
For Anxiety & Aggression
Mometamax for Dogs:
For Ear Infections
Credelio for Dogs:
For Ticks & Fleas
Chlorpheniramine for Dogs:
For Allergy-Related Conditions
Butorphanol for Dogs:
For Painful Coughs
Dinovite for Dogs:
For Irritating, Itchy Coat
Dasuquin for Dogs:
For Joint Health
Meloxidyl for Dogs:
For Pain & Inflammation
Glandex for Dogs:
For Digestive Support
Rilexine for Dogs:
For Bacterial Infections
Enalapril for Dogs:
For Cardiac Conditions
Quercetin for Dogs:
For Allergy & Inflammation
Carprovet for Dogs:
For Pain & Inflammation
Pimobendan for Dogs:
For Congestive Heart Failure
Simplicef for Dogs:
For Bacterial Infections
Clindamycin for Dogs:
For Bacterial Infections

Top 13 FAQs for Trazodone for Dogs

Let’s take a quick look at some of the most commonly asked questions about Trazodone for dogs. If you’re still considering the medication afterward, keep reading to find out more in-depth info on Trazodone for dogs so you can make an informed decision. Let’s get started!

trazodone for dogs

#1 What is trazodone for dogs?

Trazodone is an FDA-approved human antidepressant that veterinarians prescribe off-label to dogs for conditions like anxiety, behavioral issues, and certain types of aggression.

#2 Is trazodone safe for dogs?

Yes, Trazodone is generally considered safe for dogs when administered under a veterinarian’s supervision. It’s crucial to follow the prescribed Trazodone dosages for dogs to avoid potential side effects.

#3 What does trazodone do for dogs?

Trazodone for dogs acts as a serotonin modulator, enhancing mood and reducing anxiety. It’s often used for conditions like separation anxiety, fear-based behaviors, and other anxiety disorders. Additionally, it can help manage behaviors during high-stress situations, like vet visits or thunderstorms, by promoting calmness and relaxation.

#4 What dosage of trazodone is typically given to dogs?

Dosage varies greatly, depending on the dog’s size, condition, and response to the medication. However, it generally ranges between 2.5 to 15 mg per kilogram of the dog’s weight.

#5 How long does it take for trazodone for dogs to work?

Trazodone typically starts working in dogs within 1 to 2 hours after administration. This time frame may vary slightly depending on the individual dog’s metabolism and the specific dosage given.

#6 How long does trazodone last in dogs?

The effects of Trazodone in dogs, such as sedation and reduced anxiety, generally last between 8 to 24 hours. This duration can vary based on factors such as the dog’s size, overall health, and the specific dosage administered.

#7 Can trazodone for dogs be used for long-term treatment?

Trazodone can be used for both short-term and long-term treatments. However, a vet should closely monitor long-term use to avoid potential complications.

#8 What are the potential side effects of trazodone for dogs?

Side effects can include drowsiness, diarrhea, vomiting, panting, hyperactivity, or restlessness. In rare cases, it can cause cardiac arrhythmia or a condition called serotonin syndrome.

#9 Does trazodone make dogs sleepy?

Yes, Trazodone can make dogs sleepy. One of its main effects is sedation, which is why it’s often used to manage anxiety and promote calmness in stressful situations. However, the level of drowsiness varies between individual dogs and depends on the dosage administered. Always consult a vet for appropriate dosing.

#10 Can trazodone for dogs be used in conjunction with other medications?

Trazodone can be used with other medications, but it’s essential to consult with a vet, as certain combinations can increase the risk of side effects.

#11 How should trazodone for dogs be administered?

Trazodone is typically given orally, in tablet form. It can be administered with or without food, but may cause less stomach upset if given with a meal.

#12 What should I do if my dog misses a dose of trazodone?

If a dose is missed, give it as soon as possible. If it’s close to the next dose, skip the missed one. Never double up on doses.

#13 What happens if my dog overdoses on trazodone?

An overdose can be dangerous and may cause symptoms like severe drowsiness, slow heart rate, difficulty breathing, or seizures. Seek immediate veterinary attention if an overdose is suspected.

trazodone for dogs

Now that we’ve given you a quick rundown of what Trazodone for dogs is all about, we’ll take a deeper dive into the medication. Keep in mind, this article isn’t intended to replace the advice of your vet. Instead, our aim is to help you understand a bit more about Trazodone for dogs so that you can begin to make a more informed decision.

So, let’s get started!

What is Trazodone for Dogs?

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Trazodone for dogs is a variant of the human prescription medication, Trazodone, initially manufactured by Angelini Pharma under the brand name Desyrel. Veterinarians often prescribe this medication off-label to manage a variety of behavioral issues in dogs.

Primarily used to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and fear-based behaviors, Trazodone is often a go-to solution for situations that cause stress in dogs, such as separation anxiety, thunderstorms, fireworks, or vet visits.

Despite its proven efficacy in managing these conditions, it’s essential to use this medication under the supervision of a veterinarian to ensure the pet’s safety and well-being.

What Is Trazodone Used For In Dogs?

Trazodone is a versatile medication prescribed off-label by veterinarians to manage various behavioral issues in dogs. Its primary use is to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and instill calm in stressful situations. Here are some specific scenarios where Trazodone is commonly used:

  • Separation Anxiety – For dogs who struggle with being alone, trazodone can help manage distress and prevent destructive behavior.
  • Situational Anxiety – Events such as thunderstorms, fireworks, or car rides can trigger anxiety. Trazodone can help keep the dog calm during these events.
  • Behavioral Disorders – Trazodone for dogs can be used to combat certain behavioral disorders that involve excessive fear or aggression.

Lastly, Trazodone is also used as a sedative for dogs undergoing surgery or other medical procedures. Always consult with a veterinarian before starting a dog on Trazodone.

How Does Trazodone for Dogs Work?

Trazodone for dogs is a type of drug known as a serotonin modulator. It works by increasing the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, in your dog’s brain. Here’s a breakdown of its process:

  • Serotonin Increase – Serotonin is associated with feelings of well-being and happiness. Trazodone blocks the reuptake of serotonin in the brain, effectively increasing its levels.
  • Mood and Behavior Regulation – With higher serotonin levels, Trazodone can help regulate your dog’s mood and behavior. This leads to decreased anxiety and increased calmness.
  • Sedative Effects – In addition to its mood-regulating effects, Trazodone also has mild sedative properties, which can help relax your dog in stressful situations or during medical procedures.

Understanding how Trazodone for dogs works is key to using it effectively and safely for your pet.

Trazodone Dosage For Dogs

Trazodone dosage for dogs varies based on the dog’s size, condition, and individual response to the medication. The general dosage guideline is 2.5 to 15 mg per kilogram of the dog’s weight. Here’s a Trazodone for dogs dosage chart for a rough dosage estimation based on weight:

Dog’s Weight Low Dosage (mg) High Dosage (mg)
5 lbs (2.3 kg) 5 mg 30 mg
10 lbs (4.5 kg) 10 mg 60 mg
20 lbs (9.1 kg) 20 mg 120 mg
30 lbs (13.6 kg) 30 mg 180 mg
40 lbs (18.1 kg) 40 mg 240 mg
50 lbs (22.7 kg) 50 mg 300 mg
60 lbs (27.2 kg) 60 mg 360 mg
70 lbs (31.8 kg) 70 mg 420 mg
80 lbs (36.3 kg) 80 mg 480 mg
Above 80 lbs Consult your veterinarian

Please note that this is a general dosage chart, and actual dosages should be determined by a veterinarian based on your dog’s specific needs and condition. 

How is Trazodone for Dogs Administered?

Trazodone for dogs is typically administered orally in tablet form. The medication can be given with or without food, but giving it with a small meal can help to reduce the chances of gastrointestinal upset. 

trazodone dosage for dogs

As with any medication, it’s important to administer Trazodone exactly as directed by your veterinarian, and to not abruptly stop the medication without consulting your vet first.

What if I Miss a Dose of Trazodone?

If you miss a dose of Trazodone for dogs, administer the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it’s close to the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with the regular dosing schedule. 

Note: Never give your dog two doses at once or give extra doses, as this could lead to an overdose.

Does Trazodone for Dogs Require A Prescription?

Yes – Trazodone for dogs requires a prescription. It’s important that this medication is only used under the supervision of a veterinarian, as they will be able to determine the appropriate dosage for your pet based on their weight, overall health, and specific needs. 

What Alternatives Are There for Trazodone for Dogs?

There are several alternatives to Trazodone for treating behavioral issues and anxiety in dogs. These may include other medications, natural remedies, and behavioral training.

what is trazodone for dogs 1

Here are a few possible alternatives to Trazodone for dogs that your vet may suggest:

  • Other Medications – There are other pharmaceutical options available, such as fluoxetine (Prozac), clomipramine (Clomicalm), and amitriptyline. These are also used to manage anxiety and other behavioral issues in dogs.
  • Pheromone Products – Certain products such as Adaptil, a synthetic version of a dog-appeasing pheromone, can help to reduce anxiety in some dogs.
  • Dietary Supplements – Some natural supplements, like L-Theanine, Melatonin, or certain probiotics, are thought to have calming effects.
  • Behavioral Training – In many cases, behavioral training can be very effective in managing anxiety and other behavioral issues in dogs. This might involve working with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.
  • CBD Oil – Some pet owners have found that CBD oil can help to reduce anxiety in their pets. However, research in this area is still ongoing, and it’s important to use CBD oil designed specifically for pets if you choose this option.

Always consult with a veterinarian before starting any new treatment or changing your dog’s treatment plan. They can provide guidance based on your dog’s specific needs and overall health.

Trazodone for Dogs Side Effects

Trazodone for dogs can cause several side effects, although not all dogs will experience these. Side effects can range from mild to severe, depending on the individual dog and the dose given. Here are some of the potential side effects of Trazodone for dogs:

  • Sedation – One of the most common side effects is sedation, or drowsiness. This effect is often the reason why Trazodone is used in dogs, particularly those that suffer from anxiety or hyperactivity.
  • Ataxia – Some dogs may experience a lack of coordination or difficulty moving, known as ataxia.
  • Gastrointestinal upset – Dogs may also experience gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting, diarrhea, or decreased appetite.
  • Agitation or Anxiety – Some dogs might experience an increase in anxiety levels or become more agitated, although this is less common.
  • Increased Heart Rate – Trazodone can sometimes cause an increase in heart rate.
  • Panting – Excessive panting can also occur as a side effect.
  • Changes in Behavior – Changes in behavior such as aggression or hyperactivity can also occur, although these are less common.

Some dogs may not experience any side effects at all, so it’s important to monitor your dog closely when they start taking Trazodone. Contact your veterinarian if you notice any concerning side effects. 

Are There Any Risk Factors for Trazodone for Dogs?

Yes – there are a few risk factors to consider when using Trazodone for dogs. It’s important to discuss these with your veterinarian before starting the medication. Here are some potential risk factors:

  • Pre-existing Medical Conditions – Dogs with certain medical conditions may be at higher risk for complications when taking Trazodone. This includes dogs with kidney or liver disease, heart disease, or a history of seizures.
  • Age – Older dogs may be more sensitive to the effects of Trazodone and may require a lower dosage.
  • Pregnancy and Nursing – Trazodone should be used cautiously in pregnant or nursing dogs, as the effects on puppies are not fully known.
  • Drug Interactions – Trazodone can interact with certain other medications, potentially causing harmful effects. This includes other sedatives, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), certain pain medications, and some types of antifungal medications. 
  • Allergies – As with any medication, there’s a risk of an allergic reaction. If your dog shows signs of an allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing, swelling, or hives, seek immediate veterinary care.
Trazodone for dog side effects

If your pet has any of the potential risk factors listed above, you should take extra care when administering the exact Trazodone dosage for dogs based on their individual needs. Monitoring your pup while on the medication is also a good idea.

How to Store Trazodone for Dogs

Like most medications, Trazodone for dogs should be stored in a safe location that follows these guidelines:

  • Temperature – Store the medication at room temperature, away from extreme heat, cold, or moisture. Avoid locations such as the bathroom or kitchen where the temperature may fluctuate due to humidity and appliances.
  • Light Exposure – Keep the medication away from direct light as it may degrade the drug over time.
  • Safe Location – Trazodone should be kept out of reach from pets and children to prevent accidental ingestion.
  • Original Container – It’s recommended to keep the medication in its original packaging. The container is usually designed to protect the medication from harmful environmental factors. It also provides you with necessary information like the drug’s name, expiration date, and instructions for use.
  • Avoid Contamination – Make sure your hands are clean before handling the medication, and replace the cap securely after use.
what is trazodone for dogs side effects

Remember, if you have any doubts about the storage conditions or the integrity of the medication (e.g., if it has expired or if the tablets appear damaged or discolored), it’s best to consult with your veterinarian or the pharmacy where you obtained the medication.

Is Trazodone Safe For Dogs?

Yes, when prescribed by a veterinarian and used correctly, Trazodone is generally considered safe for dogs. It’s important to note that Trazodone should not be stopped abruptly if it has been given for a period of time, as this can lead to withdrawal symptoms. 

what is trazodone for dogs side effects 1

Trazodone for Dogs Reviews

After scouring the web, we’ve found some pretty good Trazodone for dogs reviews. Here’s just a small sampling of what pet owners have to say about the prescription medication:

“Our Samson can enjoy life!”

This reviewer purchased a 7-month-old male dog who had many phobias. After starting Trazodone, the owner reports that the dog is now able to live comfortably in their home without constant fear. Importantly, the medication does not heavily sedate the dog. Now 11 months old, Samson has completed both basic and advanced training courses.

“Traveling cross-county became so much easier with our 2 year old German Sheppard.”

A 2-year-old female German Shepherd who previously had trouble with car rides longer than 10 minutes was able to comfortably travel 3,000 miles thanks to Trazodone. The owner describes the dog as relaxed, sleepy, and chill during the journey. There was no loss of appetite or any other side effects, leading the owner to refill the prescription for the ride back.

“Trazodone helped a lot!”

An owner of a 10-year-old adopted German Shepherd reported significant improvements in the dog’s behavior after starting the medication. Previously, the dog showed clear signs of anxiety, was unsettled, and would constantly pace around while whimpering. After starting Trazodone, the dog became much calmer, able to eat properly, and rest without exhibiting signs of anxiety.
trazodone for dogs

It seems for the most part, owners are happy with the outcome they’ve seen from Trazodone for dogs. Reviews seem to be heavily positive. However, misuse of the medication can lead to unwanted side effects. 

Where Can You Buy Trazodone for Dogs?

Trazodone for dogs is a prescription medication, which means it can only be obtained with a prescription from a licensed veterinarian. Once you have the prescription, you can get Trazodone for dogs from your local pharmacy.

Final Thoughts on Trazodone for Dogs

Trazodone for dogs has been shown to effectively reduce anxiety and correct behavioral problems in many dogs. Many pet owners have seen positive outcomes in their household when administering this prescription medication.

Choosing Trazodone for dogs is a decision that should be made between you and your vet. They may ask you several questions about what issues you’re looking to address, discuss potential risk factors, and help you make an informed decision.

what is trazodone for dogs
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