Trazodone is a commonly used medication in veterinary care and has been in use for as long as half a century. But can dogs take trazodone safely?

Trazodone for dogs is a perfectly safe treatment and is commonly prescribed for anxiety, depression, and to correct various behavioral issues.

As a dog anxiety medication, trazodone can be used alone or in conjunction with other psychotropic medications. It can be used both as a long-term medication and as a one-off option.

In this article, let's explore what trazodone for dogs is used for, trazodone dosage for dogs, and the common side effects of trazodone in dogs you should be aware of.

Bully dog stares at the camera.

What is Trazodone? 

Trazodone belongs to a group of drugs called serotonin modulators, which work by helping regulate serotonin levels in the brain and have a calming and sedating effect that can be useful when trying to reduce anxiety and stress.

The drug was initially developed in the 1960s to treat humans but has since been adopted for use on animals because it's relatively safe, effective, and accessible. Even though it's not officially approved for animal use by the FDA, it's broadly prescribed by veterinary professionals.

Just as in humans, trazodone for dogs has been shown to be helpful in various situations, especially when dealing with dogs that tend to become more anxious in certain situations. 

Let's explore some of the common usage scenarios and whether it's the right option for your pup. 

Trazodone for Dogs: Usage

Trazodone has many applications for dogs, but it's mainly used as a mild sedative that helps reduce anxiety. When prescribing trazodone for dogs, fireworks are one of the more common reasons because it's a common trigger for stress and anxiety in dogs. 

But that's just one of countless scenarios where trazodone dosage for dogs might be necessary. Another stressful event that may lead to a trazodone prescription is putting your dog on a flight. It can also be used to treat more generalized anxiety in dogs that have a tendency to experience stress more often than others.

When figuring out how much trazodone for dog behavioral issues should be prescribed, it's essential to look at the previous experiences with the drug (if any), the possible trazodone side effects in dogs, and weigh the potential benefits of using the drug against the risks that it comes with.

Whether it's stress as a result of travel, veterinary visits, fireworks, thunder, or even separation, trazodone for dogs can be an effective solution that helps keep your furry friend in a less stressed state.

Sometimes, it may be prescribed for more extended periods, for instance, if the dog is recovering from surgery. Trazodone can help reduce activity levels and keep the dog calm, which is essential for healing and a fast and smooth recovery.

Golden retriever looks sadly at the camera.

Trazodone Side Effects in Dogs

As with any prescription drug, trazodone for dogs comes with its own side effects, which should always be considered when weighing the possibility of whether it should be prescribed. Veterinary professionals will evaluate your circumstances, the dog's medical history, and the fit of the drug to the situation before making a specific recommendation.

The good news is that trazodone is a relatively short-acting and mild drug. Therefore, even though some side effects can be expected, they are not common or severe.

Side effects that have been observed in dogs include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Lethargy
  • Panting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Colitis
  • Priapism
  • Increased appetite
  • Drowsiness

However, it’s important to note that combining trazodone with other serotonergic drugs can induce serotonin syndrome, which manifests with vomiting, diarrhea, and even seizures or hyperthermia. In more extreme cases, it can even result in coma and death.

While trazodone is generally considered safe, it's essential to notify your veterinarian of any side effects you observe after having your dog take the medication. The side effects of trazodone in dogs can vary depending on the dog's health and other factors, so you should closely monitor behavioral and physical changes. 

One of the most crucial takeaways from this article is that you must closely follow the dosage instructions provided by the veterinarian. Trazodone dog overdose can result in seizures, loss of consciousness, coma, or death so make sure to stick to the prescribed dose. 

How long does trazodone last for dogs? Typically, you can expect the drug to fully leave the system within approximately 24 hours. If you notice side effects lasting longer than expected, contact your veterinarian immediately. 

Cost of Trazodone in Dogs

Typically, a single dose of trazodone for dogs can cost up to $2-3, depending on how large your dog is. However, since some dogs might need to take trazodone as frequently as three times per day, the cost of buying the drug out of pocket can quickly accumulate.

Because of the costs associated with prescription drugs for dogs, it's always a good idea to protect your dog with pet insurance. Pet insurance provides the necessary coverage to ensure that when your dog needs medication, you can always provide the best care possible to keep your furry friend as healthy and happy as possible. 

Bottom Line

Trazodone for dogs is an increasingly popular medication. It's used to treat anxiety, behavioral issues, and reduce overall stress from travel, loud noises, or lifestyle changes.

At Pet Insurance Review, we can help you find a comprehensive pet insurance policy that will ensure your dog is covered and can receive the medical treatment they need. Get a quote today and choose the best provider for your situation!