Trazodone for Dogs – Things You Should Know

Trazodone is a medication typically prescribed for depression in humans. It helps to restore the balance between serotonin and dopamine. It can elevate the mood and energy level that are so often diminished with depression.

You typically feel more energetic as a result of taking trazodone and will sleep better. Lack of sleep seems to be a part of depression that exacerbates the symptoms. Why are dogs given trazodone? Let’s take a look at some information about dogs and trazodone.

Why Give Trazodone to Dogs?

Trazodone is non-addictive and treats anxiety. For dogs who have anxiety in social situations or from environmental factors, trazodone is very effective. It is usually prescribed as a daily medication for dogs who’ve exhibited behavioral issues as a result of anxiety.

Sometimes trazodone can be on an ‘as needed’ basis. A good example of this is the dogs that shake in fear of fireworks on the week of the 4th of July. Trazodone can give them a bit of relaxation from the stress the fireworks cause them.

Some dogs have issues with going for a car ride. Not all dogs love car rides, it’s true. Giving them trazodone before hitting the road will often help them to fall asleep and not be uptight the entire ride. If you are on vacation, this is a great way to ensure that your dog basically sleeps through a long drive.

If you are treating your dog for dog aggression, trazodone can be helpful in curbing the symptoms and reactions, but shouldn’t be the only treatment. You should also be working with a good dog trainer to ensure that you are teaching your dog to have better reactions that are more proper.

Many times the aggression is a result of fear. They don’t understand how to properly socialize or they had a bad experience early on in life. This fear leads to aggression sometimes.

Any behavioral issue will have a better chance of being overcome if you use the medication in conjunction with training that focuses on redirection and rewarding proper behavior.

Why Use Trazodone Instead of Xanax?

Trazodone is not addictive. Xanax is a benzodiazepine, which is highly addictive and can cause side-effects as a result of addiction. They also affect the body differently.

Most pet owners prefer the side-effects of Trazodone against Xanax because it is not addictive and they can choose to use it only when they need to, rather than Xanax which can cause withdrawals from missing one dose.

Trazodone doesn’t stay in their system for a very long time, peaking in approximately 3 to 4 hours. This is why you can use it as needed.

Side Effects of Trazodone

While side effects of Trazodone or rare, you should start out with small doses and gradually increase to the recommended dose. Your veterinarian will explain this to you in more detail. Trazodone may not mix well with other medications or over-the-counter drugs.

You should not, for example, give Trazodone with Benadryl. Extreme lethargy and even coma could result. Some dogs could stop breathing. One or the other but never both. These are some of the more common side-effects that can sometimes be seen from using Trazodone with dogs.

• Extreme sedation

• Diarrhea and vomiting

• Excessive panting

• Shaking or tremors

• Restless or hyperactivity

• Agitation and irritability


Usually, if any of these are symptoms your dog experiences, they will get better and your vet may instruct you to lower the dose to give your dog for a short time until the symptoms subside and then tapering the dose back up slowly.

Trazodone has fewer side effects than many other choices for behavioral issues in dogs.

Trazodone overdose can occur if you are not careful with it. Symptoms of overdose include low blood pressure, slowed breathing, fainting, depression, and seizures.

Natural Alternatives of Trazodone

Even though risks are lower with Trazodone, some pet owners would still prefer to explore alternatives to using medications. This is possible and many natural alternatives do exist.

One of the most common alternatives to medications for behavioral issues is CBD oil. CBD oil isn’t something that veterinarians are ready to recommend as of yet but that day is certainly coming. Because it is only a new thing, relatively brand new for use in animals, many veterinarians hesitate to recommend it as the law is still so gray in the area.

CBD oil is legal in many places but some local authorities don’t understand it, and don’t realize that it is not psychoactive, nor is it from marijuana. CBD oil is a product of hemp and CBD is cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that helps with anxiety, as well as gastrointestinal issues.

How Does CBD Work?

CBD helps the body by interacting with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which dogs, humans, and all other mammals have. When it binds to a receptor of the ECS, it impacts the entire body with a ton of benefits.

CBD has a calming effect, easing symptoms of anxiety, PTSD, panic, depression and more. It even stimulates the body to produce more serotonin, which helps to naturally bring balance to serotonin and dopamine, easing depression and creating better moods.

CBD is a plant-based compound found in the hemp version of cannabis. It is also found in marijuana but what you see for sale in CBD oils is predominantly harvested from hemp, as part of the new projects that were started as a result of the 2018 Farm Bill.

This bill lifted many restrictions on possession of hemp products, which is leading to more grown and more products being developed from it.

Hemp, it is said, could be the crop that saves the American farmer. Within 3 months of the Farm Bill signing, developers have found how to make hemp fibers as soft as cotton, threatening to make it easier to grow and manufacture clothing right here in America.

This abundance of hemp has made CBD oil easy to obtain and use in all 50 states. While there are some shady gray areas of the laws surrounding CBD (because it isn’t specifically mentioned in many of them) there are sometimes cases where having CBD on your person out in public has gotten some in trouble.

It has so far not resulted in jail time for anyone. A grandmother was recently arrested at Disney World and the charges were dropped, for example.

It is safe to use because it is a phytocompound without additives. There are no real side-effects from CBD oil unless you give your dog too much. The oil that the CBD is suspended in can cause some diarrhea. Start slow and gently increase doses as necessary to ease your dog’s symptoms.

Any side-effects of CBD are generally resolved quickly by lowering the dose for a while to give the body some time to adjust. Slowly increase doses and this shouldn’t happen. It only rarely happens to begin with. There are no long-term ill-effects from CBD oil that have ever been documented.

Even With CBD Oil, Consider Hiring a Dog Trainer

Dogs need to know the rules and boundaries. They actually have a better sense of safety when they understand these. Dogs also need direction and to feel they have a job to do. Most dogs are bred to have a specific type of work and even dogs that are mixed will have the desire to do the work of their ancestors.

Being bored is often a lot of their issues when they have behavioral problems. Additionally, dogs who were never socialized at a young age can develop unhealthy fears that become obsessive compulsive as they grow older. Even hormonal changes can suddenly cause behavioral issues.

Working with a good trainer who understands all of these things is the best way for you to learn to understand these things and how to help your dog feel more relaxed and self-assured through proper training and redirection.

Training is very reasonably priced in comparison to the cost of medication and vet bills that can result from not training. Your dog will destroy less, understand more, and be a more trustworthy companion that you’ll be happy to have along with you when you go visit an outdoor patio at a Starbucks or a restaurant.

The more you are able to do this sort of thing, the more he’ll learn to love the socializing. People will want to approach and fawn over your sweet dog and even when he’s naughty sometimes, you will be surprised at how many people totally understand and applaud you for working to make your dog better.