Trazodone for Dogs: A Comprehensive Guide to Safe Usage

Trazodone for Dogs

In the world of pet care, it’s deeply distressing to witness our beloved canines experiencing anxiety, fear, or stress. Be it the loud rumblings of a thunderstorm or the intense crackles of fireworks, many dogs have a hard time finding solace in these frightening moments.

This is where Trazodone for dogs steps in as a beacon of hope for both our furry companions and their worried guardians.

 In this insightful article, we delve into the uses of Trazodone, exploring its effectiveness in managing anxiety, phobia, and stress in dogs. Understand the science behind this medication, understand the optimal dosage, and gain valuable insights into its safe usage. 

Whether your canine friend trembles at the sound of thunder or cowers in fear during festive celebrations, this article will equip you with essential knowledge, empowering you to provide the comfort and care your dog deserves.

Let’s embark on a journey to bring peace and tranquility to our four-legged friends, even amidst life’s most tumultuous moments.

Key Points – Is Trazodone OK for Dogs?

According to the experts at VCA Hospitals

  • Trazodone is a well-tolerated, commonly prescribed serotonin modulator reuptake inhibitor and anti-depressant for dogs suffering from phobias, anxiety, or stress disorders. It is used for treating dogs showing behavioral issues and compulsive behaviors like excessive barking, indoor soiling, aggression, etc.
  • The medicine is given orally with food or an empty stomach. There are generally no side effects. The effect takes place in 1-2 hours and your pet will feel calmer.
  • The dosage can vary depending on your pet’s needs and the size of the tablet. Vets generally recommend starting with a very mild dose.

What Does Trazodone Do To Dogs? Uses of Trazodone and How Does Trazodone Work

Trazodone, a veterinary medicine with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or monoamine oxidase inhibitors originally designed for humans to relieve separation anxiety and treat behavioral disorders, has found a valuable place in veterinary medicine for its multifaceted uses in dogs.

Primarily, Trazodone serves as an effective anxiolytic and supplemental therapy, aiding dogs in managing various separation anxiety-related issues. It works by altering serotonin levels in the brain, promoting a sense of calmness, mild sedation, and relaxation.

This makes it particularly useful in alleviating separation anxiety stemming from thunderstorms, fireworks, separation, or veterinary visits. The drug is used for short-term stress relief to manage behavioral issues and compulsive behaviors in dogs.

Anxiety and Stress Management

 Trazodone is a widely prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor to dogs suffering from serotonin syndrome or anxiety disorders when conventional therapies fail, enabling them to cope with stressful situations more comfortably.

Trazodone for dogs can be administered before stressful episodes like veterinary visits, being left alone for long periods, or before travel, ensuring a less stressful experience for both the pet and the healthcare providers.

In cases of insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns, Trazodone for dogs promotes restful sleep, aiding dogs in maintaining a healthy sleep schedule.

Phobia Treatment

 Dogs terrified of loud noises (noise phobias), such as thunderstorms or fireworks, benefit from Trazodone for dogs thanks to its calming effects, reducing their fear response and relieving anxiety significantly.

Behavior Modification

 Trazodone aids behavior modification and behavioral disinhibition, efforts by reducing fear and aggression, making training and rehabilitation more effective.

Related Content – Can You Give Tylenol to Dogs?

How Much Trazodone Can You Give A Dog?

Determining the safe dosage of Trazodone for dogs is crucial to avoid side effects in dogs. As per experts, the appropriate dosage can vary depending on the dog’s weight, overall health, and the specific condition being treated.

Typically, veterinarians prescribe Trazodone at a rate of 1.7 to 14 mg per pound (3.5 to 30 mg/kg) of the dog’s body weight. 

For instance, a medium-sized dog weighing around 50 pounds might receive a starting dose of 100 mg, which can be adjusted based on the dog’s response. It’s essential to administer Trazodone under the supervision of a veterinarian, who considers the dog’s health history, existing medications, and potential interactions. 

Additionally, Trazodone should always be given with food to enhance absorption and minimize the risk of stomach upset. It’s crucial that pet parents strictly adhere to the veterinarian’s instructions, avoiding any deviation from the prescribed dosage.

Overdosing can lead to side effects, including lethargy, vomiting, or even serotonin syndrome, a serious condition caused by excessive serotonin levels. Therefore, caregivers must keep the medication out of reach and consult a veterinarian promptly if there are any concerns about the dog’s response to Trazodone. 

Is 100mg Of Trazodone A Lot For A Dog?

The appropriateness of 100mg of Trazodone for a dog depends on the dog’s size, weight, and individual health condition. For larger dogs, 100mg might be within the typical prescribed range, especially if the dog weighs around 50 pounds or the dog weighs more.

However, for smaller breeds, 100mg could represent a significant dose and might cause adverse effects.

 It’s crucial never to administer Trazodone without veterinary guidance. A veterinarian assesses the dog’s specific needs, considering factors like weight, overall health, and the condition being treated. They might start with a lower dose and adjust it based on the dog’s response.

Pet owners should follow the veterinarian’s instructions meticulously, as inappropriate dosages can lead to harmful side effects. Responsible administration, under professional guidance, ensures the safety and well-being of the dog.

How Long Does Trazodone Calm A Dog? How Long Does Trazodone Sedate A Dog?

According to vets, the calming effects of Trazodone in dogs with situational anxiety or noise phobia typically last for about 4 to 6 hours after administration before the next dose is due. However, the duration can vary based on the dog’s size, metabolism, and individual response to the medication. 

As with any other serotonergic medications, it is crucial to follow the veterinarian’s prescribed dosage and guidelines, as well as monitor the dog’s behavior closely.

If a longer period of calmness is needed, veterinarians might adjust the dosage or recommend additional behavioral therapies to ensure the dog’s anxiety is effectively managed throughout the required timeframe.

When Should I Give My Dog Trazodone Before Flying?

When flying with your dog, Trazodone is often given approximately 1 to 2 hours before the departure time. This timing allows the medication to take effect, helping your dog stay calm and relaxed during the flight. 

However, it’s crucial to consult your veterinarian before administering any medication to your pet. They can provide specific guidance tailored to your dog’s health, size, and anxiety level, ensuring a safe and comfortable journey.

Additionally, airlines may have their own regulations and guidelines regarding the administration of medications to pets during travel, so it’s advisable to check with the airline beforehand for their specific requirements.

What Is The Most Common Side Effect Of Trazodone Dosage?

The most common side effect of Trazodone in dogs is sedation. Dogs may exhibit drowsiness, lethargy, twitching nausea, or appear unusually sleepy after taking the medication.

While sedation is often the desired effect when using Trazodone to manage anxiety or stress-related issues, pet owners need to monitor their dogs closely, especially after the initial doses. 

Other common side effects may include gastrointestinal disturbances like vomiting or diarrhea, which can occur in some cases. It’s worth noting that these side effects can vary in intensity and duration based on the dog’s response and the prescribed dosage.

If severe or persistent side effects, elevated body temperature, or potentially life-threatening conditions are observed, it’s crucial to consult a veterinarian promptly to ensure the dog’s well-being and potentially adjust the medication to a lower dose or explore alternative serotonin receptors and CNS depressant treatments.

How Sleepy Does Trazodone Make Dogs?

Very high doses of Trazodone can make dogs with generalized anxiety quite sleepy, often causing significant drowsiness. The sedative chemical messenger effect varies based on the dog’s size, dosage, and individual response.

While sedation is a desired outcome to calm dogs in cases of anxiety or stress, it’s crucial to start with the lowest effective dose to prevent excessive sleepiness. 

Some dogs may adjust to the medication over time, experiencing less sedation with continued use. Careful monitoring is necessary, as excessive sleepiness can impact the dog’s overall quality of life and daily activities.

Veterinarians can adjust the dosage to strike a balance between anxiety management and ensuring the dog remains alert enough for normal activities.

How Long Do Side Effects Of Trazodone Last In Dogs?

The duration of Trazodone side effects and clinical signs in dogs can vary widely based on the individual dog’s metabolism and the specific dosage administered.

In most cases, common side effects like sedation, painful erection, loss of muscle control, drowsiness, or gastrointestinal disturbances typically subside within a few hours after the medication takes effect. However, it’s important to note that every dog reacts differently.

Some may experience lingering effects for a day or more, especially if the dosage is relatively high. Persistent or severe side effects should be reported to a veterinarian promptly.

Veterinarians may adjust the dosage or recommend alternative medications to minimize side effects while effectively managing the dog’s anxiety or stress-related issues.

How Does Trazodone Make Dogs Feel? Does Trazodone Make Dogs Feel Bad? 

Trazodone works on dogs by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, promoting feelings of calmness and relaxation. When used appropriately for a few weeks to manage anxiety or stress effects Trazodone helps dogs feel more at ease during potentially distressing situations like thunderstorms or vet visits.

 It doesn’t inherently make dogs feel bad; rather, it alleviates negative emotions associated with anxiety. However, improper dosage or usage without veterinary supervision can lead to adverse effects, making the dog feel lethargic, overly sedated, or unsteady.

It’s crucial to follow the vet’s recommendations to ensure the dog’s well-being. When administered correctly, Trazodone significantly improves a dog’s quality of life by minimizing stress and fear, helping them feel more secure and comfortable in challenging situations.

Is Gabapentin Or Trazodone Veterinary Medicine Better For Dogs With Separation Anxiety or Serotonin Syndrome?

The choice between Gabapentin and dogs Trazodone (which are both FDA-approved) for dogs depends on the specific condition being treated. Gabapentin is primarily used for managing pain and seizures, while Trazodone is an anti-anxiety medication.

If a dog suffers from anxiety, phobia, or stress-related issues, Trazodone may be more appropriate due to its calming effects. 

Conversely, for pain management or seizure control, Gabapentin is often preferred. Each medication has its own set of benefits, and the decision should be made in consultation with a veterinarian who can assess the dog’s condition and medical history to determine the most suitable and effective treatment option.

When Should You Not Give Your Dog Trazodone?

Trazodone should not be given to dogs with a history of hypersensitivity or allergic reactions to the medication. Pets with a history of seizures or epilepsy should avoid dogs with Trazodone, as it may lower the seizure threshold.

Additionally, it is not recommended for dogs with certain pre-existing health conditions, including liver or kidney disease problems, or those taking other drugs like macrolide antibiotics, other serotonergic drugs, or antihypertensive drugs. Drug interactions with these medications can be dangerous.

Pregnant or nursing dogs should not be given Trazodone due to potential risks to the developing puppies. Always consult a veterinarian before administering dogs Trazodone, especially if the dog is already on other medications, to prevent adverse interactions or health complications of administering trazodone to pets.


Does trazodone make dogs sleepy the next day?

The sedative effects of Trazodone can sometimes linger into the next day, making dogs feel sleepy or lethargic.

Individual responses or most common side effects can vary, and factors such as Trazodone dosage for dogs, the dog’s metabolism, and overall health can influence how long the drowsiness persists.

Dog owners may plan activities accordingly, allowing their dog ample time to rest and recover, especially if there are residual signs of sleepiness.

What to expect when I give my dog trazodone?

When giving your dog Trazodone, expect a calming effect within 1-2 hours. Your dog may appear relaxed, less anxious, or even drowsy. However, individual responses vary. Some dogs might feel sleepy, while others become calmer but remain alert.  

Is trazodone hard on dogs?

Trazodone is generally safe for dogs when prescribed and administered by a veterinarian. However, improper use or dosage can lead to side effects like sedation. It’s essential to follow veterinary instructions closely, ensuring the medication is given responsibly.

With proper guidance, Trazodone can effectively manage anxiety and stress in dogs.

Is 50mg of trazodone a lot for a dog?

The appropriate Trazodone dosage for dogs depends on their weight, health, and specific condition. 50mg can be a standard starting dose for a small to medium-sized dog but can vary.

It’s essential to consult a veterinarian who can determine the proper dosage tailored to your dog’s needs, ensuring safety and effectiveness and avoiding trazodone overdose.

Is it normal for dogs to gag after taking trazodone?

Gagging after taking Trazodone is not a common side effect. However, individual reactions can vary. If your dog consistently gags after medication avoid giving it on an empty stomach and consult a veterinarian.

It could indicate an issue with swallowing or an adverse reaction due to serotonin antagonist, requiring a professional evaluation to ensure the dog’s well-being and adjust the medication if necessary.

How to store trazodone?

The chief veterinary officer recommends storing Trazodone at room temperature, away from moisture and heat, in its original packaging. Keep it out of reach of children and pets.

Do not store it in the bathroom. If the medication has expired or is no longer needed, dispose of it safely according to local regulations or ask a pharmacist for guidance.


Trazodone stands as a beacon of hope for dogs struggling with anxiety, offering them the serenity they deserve. Through this comprehensive exploration, we’ve uncovered the transformative power of Trazodone in alleviating canine anxiety, providing both dogs and their caregivers with a lifeline during challenging times. 

By understanding its uses, proper dosages, and potential effects, you’re equipped to make informed decisions about your furry companion’s well-being.

With the right guidance from veterinarians and responsible administration, Trazodone paves the way for a calmer, happier life for your beloved pet, ensuring they find comfort and peace in every moment.

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