Dogs usually remain calm as well as content. However, in case of separation, a stormy weather or occasional fireworks, your canine may exhibit anxiety and /or fear. Highly anxious dogs may cause damages to your properties, and may make you stay up all through your sleep time. An excited state of existence is not a healthy sign among pets – such as dogs. It is hence incumbent on you to take proper care; so that the pet stays peaceful, gentle and calm. Drugs like trazodone are known to allay fears and anxieties; but, can this drug be given to your dog?

Antidepressants are known to allay symptoms of depression, anxiety related disorders and a few other mental conditions. The first version of antidepressants was introduced way back during start of 1960s. Since then, popularity of these meds has only soared with each passing year. As per latest estimates, as high as 13% of people (aged 11 years and above) are considered to live with depression or anxieties. Among adults, women are more likely to be depressed than men.

Antidepressants help restore the balance of neuron-transmitting chemicals such as serotonin, norepinephrine, etc. Adequate levels of these chemicals are a prerequisite to calm your system; this also means, reduction in these brain chemicals can lead to anxieties and depression. Not stopping with mental conditions, antidepressant meds are also prescribed for regulating moods, boosting your appetite levels and also streamlining your sleeping cycles.

What is trazodone?

This drug is an antidepressant drug, mostly used among humans. Its extended use includes treatment of post-traumatic stresses as well as sleep-related conditions (mainly, sleeplessness or insomnia). This med is categorized under a genre known as serotonin receptor antagonist and reuptake inhibiting meds. The two commonly available / prescribed genres of antidepressants are (1) selective serotonin reuptake inhibiting drugs (in short, SSRIs) and (2) serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Of these two categories, trazodone has several capabilities in common with the SSRI-class of antidepressants. It is selective in isolating the effects of serotonin and works towards boosting the presence of this chemical in your nervous system and brain.

Trazodone is widely used to stabilize anxieties as well as depression. It ensures that serotonin – a “mental well-being” chemical is available at a needful level, and thus manages depressive conditions. Its key task is to strike the right balance of serotonin. The remedial effects of this med include better appetite, being in a good mood and a marked reduction in anxiety level. In addition, users reported of deeper sleep cycles.

Can you give trazodone to dogs?

This drug – mainly consumed by humans – is also given to pets. Trazodone is prescribed to dogs living with restless frame of mind (due to fireworks, car-rides or fears), mainly to allay their anxieties. It is taken orally (by mouth); it is available as a white pill in varying strengths. The dosages aim to promote the presence of serotonin in your dog’s brain. This brain chemical – as mentioned above – is linked to mental wellbeing and calmness. Trazodone may also be combined with other drugs if your dog has a few pre-existing ailments.

It is considered to be more effective when your dog is made to take trazodone before / ahead-of a likely trigger. For example – if your dog is afraid of fireworks, you can consider giving this drug prior to 4th of July! A few dogs are afraid to go to a vet’s clinic; in such instances, give trazodone to your dog well ahead of your appointment with the vet. Strength of dosage of trazodone varies based on your dog’s weight as well as age. In general, it is a safe practice to give this drug once every 7 hours if an event (that your dog dreads) comes up.

Side effects of trazodone among dogs

This drug is likely to cause a few side effects in your dog. The good news is – most dogs are tolerant to the side effects this drug may trigger. Common side effects are dizziness, being lethargic or tired, prolonged stretches of penile erection (clinically called as priapism), abdominal discomforts such as vomiting, nausea or cramping of muscles of your dog’s gastric tract. These side effects generally go away once your furry pet gets used to the active chemicals of trazodone.

Severe side effects of this drug are very unlikely. When pet owners give a larger dose of this drug, a condition known as serotonin toxicity may show up. When you observe discomforts such as dilation of pupils, respiratory problems (like wheezing, gasping or shallowed breathing cycles), shivers or tremors, these may be due to presence of a high level of serotonin. However, the biggest merit of trazodone is the comparatively lower risks of convulsions, fits or epileptic seizures. But, if your dog has persistent problems of indigestion (showing up as diarrhea or loss of appetite), it is strongly recommended to offer clinical care on an emergency basis.

If you are giving monoamine oxidase inhibiting drugs (i.e., MAO inhibitors) to your dog, you need to take added precautions. Always remember that these two genres of drugs must never be co-administered. In order to ensure added safety, start your medication plan of either of these drugs after providing a time interval of at least 2 to 3 weeks. Talk to your vet if you need more insights into associated risks. Not stopping with MAO inhibitors, if your dog is being fed with drugs to treat hepatic dysfunction, cardiac problems or any respiratory conditions, the treating vet must be informed of these conditions. If your dog’s behavior tends to get too aggressive, your vet may recommend a few other ways to allay such conditions. Apart from trazodone, behavioral training sessions can be offered to alter your pet’s aggression. However, such behavior altering programs are provided only in very rare instances.

In sum, trazodone can be given to reduce aggression among dogs. This med may be taken along with other meds if your dog has other clinical conditions. Trazodone may trigger a few discomforts such as lethargy, weariness, persistent erection of penis, vomiting or nausea. Severe discomforts like respiratory problems, tremors, dilation of eyeballs, etc. may be due to an excessive retention of serotonin in your dog’s body. In general, it is a safe practice to consult with your vet prior to altering the dosage or discontinuing the treatment plan.

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