Trazodone For Dogs: What To Expect

Trazodone For Dogs

Last Updated on August 27, 2023 by Fumipets

Trazodone for Dogs: A Closer Look at Canine Calmness


Trazodone, a medication originally developed for humans, has found its way into veterinary medicine as a solution to address anxiety and behavioral issues in dogs. This prescription medication works as a serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor, helping to manage stress and promote relaxation in our canine companions. Here’s a summary of what you need to know about using Trazodone for dogs.


Like humans, many dogs sometimes feel scared or anxious. Unfortunately, some suffer from extreme anxiety that impairs their quality of life, just as individuals generally do. Good news! Modern medicine may be of assistance. One antidepressant medication used for dogs with anxiety and other behavioural issues is trazodone.

Some pet owners are hesitant to treat behavioural issues with medicines because they fear “drugging” their pets. To lessen fear and anxiety, many people would prefer to concentrate on techniques like training and socialisation. While these methods may assist some dogs in overcoming their unwanted emotions and behaviours, other canines need a bit more assistance. Drugs like trazodone are tools to be used together with mild behaviour modification strategies like positive reinforcement training and socialisation; they are not designed to totally heal behavioural issues.

Although it’s difficult to see your beloved dog struggle with unpleasant emotions and desires, you’re not fighting this battle alone. To create the best treatment strategy for your dog, work together with your doctor. For extra assistance, your veterinarian could recommend a qualified animal behaviour consultant or veterinary behaviourist.

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What Is Trazodone Used for in Dogs?

A selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor and serotonin type 2 receptor antagonist, trazodone is an antidepressant medication. A neurotransmitter, also known as a sort of chemical messenger in the brain that transmits impulses to neurons (brain cells), is serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is crucial for many physical processes, including mental processes like mood. Trazodone and other medications increase the amount of serotonin in the brain by preventing its resorption.

In humans, trazodone is often used to treat sleeplessness and depression. It is sometimes used in veterinary medicine to address behavioural problems in dogs and cats. Trazodone treatment may be beneficial for dogs that are fearful or anxious. It could be recommended by veterinarians to help patients cope with stressful events including thunderstorms, fireworks, veterinary appointments, and boarding. It’s often used with anaesthesia medications for surgery and other medical procedures since it also has sedative effects. Trazodone has also been used to relax dogs that need to be confined and have their activities limited while recovering from surgery or an accident.

An anxious dog may find it challenging to learn new things, making socialisation and training less successful. Trazodone may assist in lowering anxiety levels enough so that canines can benefit from methods like desensitisation and counterconditioning exercises, training sessions, and socialisation events. When taking trazodone, it’s crucial to engage closely with your dog since the drug by itself won’t deal with the underlying issue. Consult a licenced animal behaviourist or trainer for advice on training and socialisation methods.

There are generic versions of trazodone as well as brand-name versions under the names Oleptro and Desyrel. Trazodone does not have a veterinary label, yet some veterinarians do carry it. With a prescription from your veterinarian, you may also get it from a human drugstore.

What Are Potential Trazodone Side Effects in Dogs?

Trazodone is typically well tolerated by dogs, although the following adverse effects are possible:

  • Sedation/drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Colitis (inflammation of the colon)
  • Ataxia (drunken gait)
  • Heart arrhythmia
  • Increased appetite
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Some dogs may react negatively to trazodone and become more agitated or anxious. If trazodone is escalating your dog’s fear or anxiety, stop using this drug and call your veterinarian.

Trazodone Dosage for Dogs

Dogs are given oral pills containing trazodone. Trazodone for dogs is often prescribed in doses of 1 to 19 milligrammes per kilogramme of body weight per day. The extended-release pills are to be taken daily and may be recommended for dogs with persistent behavioural problems. As long as you are not utilising extended-release pills, trazodone may be taken as required with a quick onset. For unexpectedly frightening occurrences like thunderstorms, this may be really beneficial.

Can Dogs Overdose on Trazodone?

If dogs mistakenly take too much trazodone or ingest the pill container, they may have an overdose. Make sure your dog cannot get this or any other drugs. Serotonin syndrome, a severe disease that may result from a trazodone overdose, can lead to the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Drooling
  • Hyperthermia (high body temperature)
  • Seizures
  • Blindness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Paralysis
  • Coma
  • Death

If your dog takes too much trazodone, seek assistance from a specialist right away. Call your neighbourhood vet, a nearby animal emergency facility, or a pet poison hotline like ASPCA Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435 or Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 if your pet has consumed poison. If the overdose has place within the last hour, you could be told to induce vomiting. In order to treat symptoms and provide comfort, your dog may also need veterinarian supportive care.

Trazodone Drug Interactions and Warnings

Tell your veterinarian about all of your dog’s prescription medicines and dietary supplements since many medications may interact with trazodone. Trazodone raises the risk of serotonin syndrome and other problems when used with other medications that influence serotonin. Other SSRIs, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), certain antifungal medications (such as fluconazole and ketoconazole), and some antibiotics (such as erythromycin) fall within this category.

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Q&A: Trazodone for Dogs


Q1: What is Trazodone used for in dogs?

Trazodone is prescribed for dogs to manage anxiety, fear, and behavioral problems. It can help dogs stay calm during stressful situations such as thunderstorms, car rides, or veterinary visits.

Q2: How does Trazodone work in dogs?

Trazodone works by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain, which helps regulate mood and promote relaxation. It has a calming effect without causing significant sedation in most dogs.

Q3: What are common situations where Trazodone might be prescribed?

Trazodone can be prescribed for separation anxiety, noise phobias, generalized anxiety, and other situations that cause stress and fear in dogs. It’s often used as part of a comprehensive behavior modification plan.

Q4: Is Trazodone safe for dogs?

Trazodone is generally considered safe when prescribed by a veterinarian and administered as directed. However, individual dogs may react differently, so it’s important to closely monitor your dog’s response to the medication.

Q5: What are the potential side effects of Trazodone in dogs?

Common side effects of Trazodone may include drowsiness, sedation, gastrointestinal upset, or changes in behavior. If you notice any concerning side effects, consult your veterinarian.



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