29 November, 2020

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Trazodone For Dogs Side Effects & Trazodone Alternatives

Side Effects of Trazodone For Dogs & Alternatives

Trazodone is an antidepressant that is usually used to manage major depression in humans. It is given orally (by mouth) in the form of a tablet. It’s not just for humans though. It is also used in veterinary medicine, particular for dogs, to help manage behavioral problems and anxiety.

This medication helps improve one’s appetite and mood levels. It also decreases anxiety and other anxiety related conditions. Moreover, Trazodone also treats insomnia. It works to help patients manage depression by balancing the levels of serotonin and other natural chemicals in the brain.

What is Trazodone for dogs?

While it is most commonly used by humans, Trazodone is also offered as medication for dogs and other animals too. It is a medication prescribed by veterinarians since it was approved by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA). It is used as a medication for behavioral problems in dogs. It helps treat anxiety related conditions and is used to make dogs rest better after a surgery. (Sanjai Sinha, 2018)

Dosage of Trazodone

Trazodone is available in various brand and generic names. Common dosage forms are 50, 100, 150, and 300 mg. Trazodone dose for dogs can generally be started at 1-2.5 mg per pound once to twice a day and up to 15 mg per pound given every 24 hours after the initial habituation phase.

In most cases, a veterinarian would usually start with the lowest possible dosage in order to make sure that the side effects of the medication will just happen minimally. The dosage might be increased after three to five days, depending on the veterinarian’s advice.

This medicine can be given with food or on an empty stomach. If your pet acts sick and vomits after taking the medicine, give the next dose with a small treat. (Rania Gollakner, n.d.)

Side Effects of Trazodone

According to Gollakner, Trazodone is a short acting drug. It means that the medication’s side effects don’t last very long. They usually improve within 24 hours.

Some of the side effects of Trazodone for dogs includes sleepiness, lethargy, diarrhea, hyperactivity and restlessness, panting, vomiting, shaking, and agitation. (Trazodone for Dogs and Trazodone Dosage for Dogs, n.d.) These effects, however, might last longer in pets with liver or kidney disease. In any case, it’s best to seek a veterinarian’s medical advice.

Cost of Trazodone

According to the website which is called www.drugs.com, the cost of a 50 mg oral tablet of Trazodone for dogs is usually around $10 for seven oral tablets. Moreover, there are also 100 mg oral tablets at around $12 for 14 oral tablets. But of course, these prices will always depend on the pharmacy as well.

Interaction with other drugs

Trazodone will not and should not to be used if the dog is allergic to it. Moreover, giving trazodone to dogs should be done very carefully. Taking it will require consideration of the other medications that the animal is taking. It is really very important to let your veterinarian know beforehand if the dog is under medications other than trazodone. 

Trazodone is not recommended for pets who are using medications such as monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, SSRI antidepressants, some antibiotics, diazepam, antifungal, or buspirone. If your pet takes one or more of these medications, you should let your veterinarian know before taking the trazodone medicine. This is because these medications might have a different reaction when the trazodone is mixed with them.

Animal studies show that Trazodone should be carefully used with pets, specifically, dogs who have severe heart, liver, or kidney problems. Dogs who have glaucoma are also not advised to receive trazodone.

Ingredients in Trazodone

Each tablet of Trazodone has trazodone hydrochloride as the active ingredient. This ingredient makes the medicine very effective in treating depression. 

The mechanism of this medication is not fully understood, but preliminary research shows that it is related to improvements in the activity of serotonin levels in the central nervous system. Serotonin is the hormone that contributes to feelings of wellbeing and happiness.

The inactive ingredients, however, might be different depending on the brand and manufacturer of Trazadone. Some of the tablets may contain inactive ingredients such as colloidal silicon dioxide, microcrystalline cellulose, magnesium stearate,  pregelatinized starch, and sodium starch glycolate.

Trazodone Alternatives

There are many alternatives for Trazodone that have already been tested by experts and used by humans and animals alike. However, if a natural product is preferred, then CBD oil will be the best alternative. 

CBD oil is a popular natural remedy used for common sickness. It comes from the hemp plant, but it is not psychoactive. It means that taking CBD oil does not affect the animal similar to how other hemps affect them. These plants should be less than 0.3% THC in order to be legal. 

CBD oil is an alternative that benefits a dog’s health. It helps relieve pain, decreases anxiety and depression, reduces acne, improves the mood, coordination, movement, appetite, and thinking of dogs. It also improves heart health of the dogs, which is the reason why many dog owners prefer CBD oil as a natural alternative.

In summary, Trazodone as a medicine is generally good for your dog’s health and is approved by the Food and Drugs Administration. Its use in treating dogs is labeled as ‘extra label’ and requires a veterinarian’s expert opinion. Should you want your dog to be treated using trazodone, visit a veterinarian and follow his or her directions carefully to properly administer the medicine to your dog. If your dog experiences any reaction, it is always best to call your veterinarian immediately.


DR Gullamune Hoareau

Reviewed By Dr. Gullamune Hoareau

Dr. Hoareau earned his veterinary degree from the Toulouse National Veterinary School, France. He completed a residency from the University of California-Davis and is now board-certified by both the American and European Colleges of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. Dr. Hoareau holds a PhD from the University of California-Davis in Integrative Pathobiology, specifically in resuscitation and haemorrhage control. He completed a research fellowship in military trauma and critical illness. His interests include haemorrhage control, cardiac arrest, and working dog health.


University of utah