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Trazodone For Dogs: Does It Calm Anxiety?

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Trazodone For Dogs: Does It Calm Anxiety?

Humans and dogs both go through periods of distress and melancholy. When humans experience anxiety often they go through therapy and are prescribed various medicines. Dogs can actually have very similar treatments to people under these circumstances.

Behavior modification training for dogs is similar to human cognitive-behavioral therapy, and some prescriptions for dogs are indeed the same medications given to people for anxiety.

If your best friend isn’t playing the way they used or suffering from separation anxiety every time you walk out the door, then medication might be the answer. Trazodone not only treats deep-rooted depression but can be administered in an ad hoc manner during especially nervous moments.

This article will cover everything you need to know about Trazodone for dogs.  We will also outline an alternative if Trazodone does not seem like the right answer.

Trazodone for Dog Anxiety

What is Trazodone?

First developed in the 1960s, Trazodone is a popular antidepressant built to raise people’s pain threshold in order to handle stressful situations. Currently, over 22 million Americans take Trazodone for depression and anxiety. 

Specifically, Trazodone is a serotonin modulator. It regulates serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain responsible for mood, cognition, and memory. Trazodone acts as a mild sedative and calms the brain to alleviate anxiety disorders. The sedation effects initially turned off some doctors from recommending it, but after proper modification, it has become extremely popular. 

An imbalance of serotonin is the cause for many symptoms of anxiety, including:

  • Insomnia
  • Destructive episodes
  • Poor appetite
  • Low self-esteem
  • Irritability
  • Dejection
  • Anxiety

The use of Trazodone is accepted as a normal part of life for many people experiencing those symptoms of anxiety. In general, it has been proven as a safe and effective treatment.

Since Trazodone was approved in the USA by the FDA in 1981, doctors have trusted it to treat a variety of symptoms. In the past decade, veterinarians have begun to prescribe it to dogs exhibiting similar expressions of anxiety.

Does Trazodone Calm Anxiety?

Yes, it can do. Vets prescribe this treatment to dogs exhibiting behavioral disorders, many of which are caused by anxiety or phobias (such as loud noises triggering anti-social behavior and loud barking; separation anxiety; and fears of traveling, vet visits, fireworks, etc.).

It is important to note though that it may work for some pets and not others - there are many factors that affect Trazodone’s impact on your dog, such as its size, any other medications it’s taking, dosage, and more. Your vet will decide if this is the appropriate medication for your pup and you then monitor if their anxious behavior improves.

cbd oil for dogs

When is Trazodone Prescribed for Dogs?

In veterinary medicine, Trazodone is considered if symptoms are so bad your pet is destroying property or having accidents in your home. This behavior needs to be treated right away before it gets even more out of control.

If your dog is exhibiting symptoms of anxiety caused by an imbalance of serotonin then there are two ways Trazodone is prescribed:

  1. Long-Term Relief: Twice daily consumption of Trazodone to maintain a constant calm state. For example, giving a pill every morning If your dog suffers from anxiety when you go to work.
  2. Short-Term Relief: Have Trazodone pills at the ready to administer before an anxiety attack can begin. For example, giving a pill before a trip to the vet, or before a loud thunderstorm begins.6

If your dog has been displaying one or more of the above symptoms during stressful situations, then Trazodone can make a huge difference.

While it is easy to think of our pets as completely different from us, we have more in common than you might think. Our brain chemistries are so similar that the same medication provides the same results. When taking care of an animal it is important to empathize and realize you may already have plenty of insight into what they need to start feeling better.

Trazodone Dosage For Dogs

Tradazone for Dog Anxiety

Always talk to your vet about specific dosages of Trazodone as every pup comes in a different shape and size. Big dogs in general require a larger dose than small ones. Trazodone comes in a small tablet that can be taken with food if your dog has trouble with pills. A dose of Trazodone will kick in fairly quickly, expect to see a change within one to two hours. 

Vets often start with the smallest possible dosage and slowly increase until they begin to see the desired effects of Trazodone. Doses should always be spaced 8 hours apart to prevent possible overdoses. If you miss a dose of Trazodone, just make sure to return to your normal schedule once you administer it. 

Always keep your medication safely locked away and out of reach of any curious fluffy friends who might mistake a dose of Trazodone for a treat.

Possible Trazodone Side Effects in Dogs

Possible side effects in dogs can be mild, such as lethargy from the sedative effects of Trazodone, to more serious complications.

Trazodone can cause an allergic reaction in some dogs, so if your pooch has a history of allergies to medication, make sure to consult your vet.  Make sure to tell your vet if your dog has a history of heart, liver, or kidney disease.

If Trazodone is mixed with other antidepressants, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) then a major side effect is the potential of serotonin syndrome.

Studies have shown dogs are at high risk for serotonin syndrome. This syndrome has many adverse effects, from low-risk to life-threatening. 

Here are a few signs your pet is suffering from serotonin syndrome:

  • Stomach pain: vomiting, diarrhea, excess salivation
  • Muscle pain: tremors, shivering, stiff joints
  • Nervous system: constant loud barking, whimpering, confusion, seizures, restlessness
  • Mental: temporary blindness, sweating, high blood pressure

If your dog shows any of these symptoms, take them to the vet right away.

Possible side effects in dogs of Trazodone are rare, and dosages do not need to be altered unless otherwise instructed by your veterinarian. 

Alternatives to Trazodone For Dogs

If harsh medication like Trazodone doesn’t seem like the right fit for your dog, there are other options out there. CBD treatment has been gaining more and more recognition between vets as an acceptable and holistic treatment for dogs.  CBD activates serotonin receptors without any psychoactive effects of THC.

Just as some people take CBD to ease joint pain and help relax, dogs can benefit from CBD. Studies have shown CBD provides anti-anxiety assistance without the potential for side effects. Dogs cannot overdose on CBD so you don’t need to worry when administering it. If medication does not seem like the right choice for your pet at this point, check out other, gentler remedies for anxiety.

Innovet Pet’s full-spectrum CBD Oil is a 100% organic, non-toxic, natural way to help your anxious dog. Our CBD products come in a variety of dosages to help any dog suffering from a depressive disorder. Innovet Pet even offers CBD-infused Peanut Butter as a tasty way to promote pain relief and relaxation. 

Do What’s Right to Help Your Best Friend

Taking care of your dog is a conversation between you and your vet. But you should know all the facts before discussing your options. Trazodone does not have to be the go-to drug without careful consideration of natural treatments.

Innovet Pet was founded by animal lovers who always put the health and safety of dogs first. Our products support healthy and happy pups that might be having a hard time on their own. 

Before jumping into medications with potential side effects, try out our safe and natural CBD treatment, because we know you love your pet and only want the best for them!


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