16 January, 2021

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Xanax For Dogs Side Effects & Xanax Alternatives

Side Effects of Xanax For Dogs & Alternatives

If your dog is experiencing anxiety, some veterinarians prescribe Xanax.

What is Xanax for Dogs?

Xanax or Alprazolam is a famous cousin of Valium or Diazepam. This medication acts as a tranquilizer to reduce anxiety and panic attacks in dogs.

At first, it was a popular medication for humans in treating anxiety, PTSD, and panic attacks. Today, veterinarians use this treatment to treat anxiety and behavioral issues in dogs.

Moreover, it works as a sedative, muscle relaxant. For this purpose, Xanax is preferred over diazepam by some vets since the effects last longer.

This medication can treat your dog’s panic and anxiety brought about by loud noises. These noises from thunderstorms and fireworks are dreadful for your dog.

The following are the most common signs of anxiety in dogs:

  • Trembling
  • Drooling
  • Hiding
  • Howling
  • Excessive barking
  • Aggression
  • Too much licking of fur
  • Biting their skin
  • Attempting to escape
  • Unusual urination and defecation
  • Breaking a piece of furniture or surrounding environment

Xanax enhances the natural chemicals present in your dog’s brain that give your dog a happy feeling, thus reducing fear.

Xanax is available by prescription. It is an addictive substance, so there should be control over storage and administration of the drug.

Dosage of Xanax

The dosage given to your pet

should not exceed more than 4mg a day. For dogs, 0.01-0.1mg per kilo of your dog’s weight every 6 to 12 hours is advisable.

You can give Xanax to your dogs orally as needed. For best results, behavior modification therapy could complement the treatment.

This medication comes in a tablet or liquid form. The dosage of Xanax will depend on your dog’s size and weight.

Side Effects of Xanax

Since Xanax is a tranquilizer, it can make your dog sedated or look lethargic. Most pet owners say that Xanax makes their dogs sleep much longer.

Sometimes, dogs can also experience gastrointestinal issues when taking Xanax. As a result, they might exhibit symptoms such as gas, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Moreover, some dogs could also experience an allergic reaction to Xanax. Symptoms such as swelling, hives, bleeding, and seizure could suggest an allergic reaction. 

If you notice any adverse reaction, stop giving the medicine immediately. Since this event could put your dog’s life in danger, seek help immediately.

Cost of Xanax

For a 30ml oral concentrate, the price starts at $86. The pricing of oral tablets ranges from $10.63-$233.05, depending on dosage and quantity. The prices vary depending on your area and the pharmacy you visit.

Interaction with Other Drugs

If your dog is taking certain medications, tell your vet immediately. Drug interactions are sometimes fatal and could lead to death. Tell your vet if your dog is taking one of the following:

  • Cimetidine or Tagamet, an antacid
  • Itraconazole, and other anti-fungal drugs
  • Propranolol, a heart medication
  • Other anxiety medications such as Fluoxetine, Clomipramine, and Amitriptyline

Xanax is safe to use on dogs but should be administered with a veterinarian’s supervision. Do not give Xanax to your dog without your vet’s consent. High doses can make dogs ill and damage their organs.

Ingredients in Xanax

The active ingredient in Xanax is Alprazolam. It is a benzodiazepine class of central nervous system active compounds.

Alprazolam is a white and crystallized substance that is methanol and ethanol soluble. The other inactive ingredients included in Xanax are:

  • Cellulose
  • Corn starch
  • Docusate sodium
  • Lactose
  • Magnesium stearate
  • Silicon dioxide
  • Sodium benzoate

Xanax Alternatives

If you are looking for alternatives, other anti-anxiety medications are a good substitute. Aside from Xanax, these medications also help your dog when dealing with anxiety.

Still, pharmaceutical drugs could develop side-effects in long term use. With prolonged use, these medications could be damaging to your dog’s liver.

If the side effects of the mentioned drug concern you, why not go natural instead?

CBD Oil is a natural substance that does not only benefit humans. It can also be useful for our pets when treating illnesses.

CBD Oil has a natural calming effect which could aid with your dog’s anxiety. It not only treats anxiety, but it also treats other conditions associated with it. CBD Oil can contribute to your dog’s health and well-being.

So how does CBD oil work?

We, including our pets, have an endocannabinoid system. This biological system is a recent discovery, hence not understood yet.

What experts understand is this system acts as receptors throughout the nervous system. These receptors also affect the heart and the brain.

Our body releases chemicals in the endocannabinoid system to stimulate serotonin. This substance is a mood stabilizer, which helps anxiety. 

CBD Oil can promote this natural ability of the body to produce serotonin. This chemical gives us a better mood, resulting in better emotions.

Why treat your dog’s anxiety with CBD Oil?

  • It helps control and prevents anxiety. Anxiety is a complex condition, not only in humans but also in our pets. Sometimes, there are underlying conditions that contribute to feeling anxious. CBD Oil is a natural method for treating, if not preventing, these anxiety-causing conditions.
  • Problems like infection or tumors can cause anxiety. CBD oil helps to target these issues and prevent their progression.
  • It boosts your dog’s appetite. Anxiety can cause your dog to eat less. Your dog may need the appetite boost for proper nutrition intake.
  • Since your pet may feel scared, they tend to forget their biological functions. They need to find a safe place, so they withdraw from the world. CBD Oil can improve your pet’s eating habits and calm them at the same time. Moreover, it does not cause as much gastrointestinal upset when compared to other drugs.
  • CBD Oil also benefits dogs who developed resistance from anticonvulsant medications. This substance complement synthetic drugs.
  • It helps to reduce the feeling of pain and inflammation. CBD Oil has natural anti-inflammatory properties. It can act as a muscle relaxant and reduce muscle pain. It can help dogs with anxiety conditions that come from pain. CBD Oil also works well when your dog has had an operation.

CBD Oil offers benefits as a complement to conventional measures, minus the side-effects. It is an organic and inexpensive treatment for your dog’s anxiety.


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