Trazodone Dosage For Dogs

For humans, trazodone is a prescription drug that’s considered an antidepressant, and it affects and balances the levels of serotonin in the brain. It can also be used for many off-label purposes including to help with insomnia, fibromyalgia, and a variety of other conditions.

Trazodone isn’t just for humans, however. It’s also a drug commonly used in veterinary medicine, and in particular, in dogs. Below is an overview of what to know about the recommended trazodone dosage for dogs, the trazodone side effects for dogs, and other related information.

Trazodone for Dogs and Trazodone Dosage for Dogs
Trazodone is a generic drug that comes in brand names including Leptro and Desyrel. It can be used not only in dogs but also cats to treat behavioral problems.

According to veterinarians, behavioral problems are one of the biggest reasons animals are euthanized, particularly if the behavior is dangerous, but trazodone may be able to help this.

Veterinarians and animal behavioral specialists have been putting a lot of recent emphasis on the idea of training, and also the use of drugs to help animals who do have behavioral problems.

Trazodone, which is an antidepressant, is one such option and it’s classified as a serotonin antagonist reuptake inhibitor or an SARI. It changes serotonin levels in the brain to help when they are unbalanced, and it can be obtained by prescription from a veterinarian. It’s not officially approved by the FDA for use in animals, but it can be prescribed legally by vets, for these extra-label purposes.

In animals and dogs, in particular, trazodone is used to help treat conditions such as separation anxiety and other anxiety-related conditions. It can also be used to ensure animals rest properly after surgery. It’s not used very often in cats, but it may be used for cats who are anxious about traveling to the vet, as an example.

Trazodone is considered safe and effective in animals when a vet prescribes it and used properly, however, there are potential side effects, which will be discussed below.

Trazodone is available in generic and brand name options, and some of the common dosages include 50, 100, 150 and 300 mg.

The trazodone dosage for dogs ranges but a general guideline is around 2.5 mg per pound per day and up to 15 mg per pound given every 24 hours. On average the trazodone dosage for dogs is 3.5 mg per pound, per day, and lower doses are usually combined with other medications that aim to modify problematic behaviors. In most cases, a veterinarian will start an animal on the lowest possible dosage of trazodone to make sure side effects are minimized.

The trazodone dosage for dogs may be increased after three to five days until the objectives are reached.

In a cat, although it’s not frequently used, the trazodone dosage may range from 50 to 100 mg.

How long a dog or cat takes trazodone depends on what the condition is that the drug is being used to treat, as well as whether or not there are adverse side effects.

It’s important that trazodone is stored safely away from pets and that dosage instructions are followed exactly because if a pet takes too much, it can cause seizures or coma.

Dosages start out small to reduce trazodone side effects in dogs, but some of the possible effects can include:

  • Lethargy
  • Sedation
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Panting
  • Hyperactivity
  • Shaking
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation

For the most part, trazodone side effects in dogs subside or get better over time, so vets recommend waiting for at least a few days before making a determination on side effects.

Along with the above trazodone side effects in dogs, it can interact with other medicines. It’s important to let your vet know if your dog takes any other medicines and in particular substances like monoamine oxidase inhibitors, diazepam, or buspirone. There can also be interactions with anti-fungal medications.

Trazodone for anxiety in dogs tends to be pretty effective, despite the fact that it’s considered an off-label use of the drug. It changes how messages are sent to brain cells, and it inhibits activity at certain serotonin receptor sites. Trazodone can be given to dogs as needed, as well as daily, and for the treatment of anxiety, it’s usually given as a daily medication.

However, when trazodone is used to treat anxiety from a certain trigger, such as during storms, it can be given on an as-needed basis.

Trazodone for dogs is a treatment for anxiety and behavioral issues. It can be prescribed by veterinarians, although it’s only officially approved by the FDA for use in humans. Veterinarians will typically start dogs on the lowest possible dosage of trazodone and then increase it as needed to reduce the likelihood of side effects.
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