Updated date:

Using Trazodone for Dog Anxiety

Dog Anxiety

The use of Trazodone for dog anxiety is not unusual considering that this drug is categorized as a medication that alters brain function. While the use of prescription medications can be valuable for treating anxiety-based behaviors in dogs, it's important noting that their use along with behavior modification therapy is what benefits the dogs the most. Because sometimes a single drug is not effective enough on its own, sometimes veterinarians find it beneficial to prescribe two drugs that can be combined together, what's known as "adjunctive therapy." An example of this, is the use of trazodone along with clonidine.

[otw_is sidebar="otw-sidebar-1"]

Apoquel for dog allergies

Trazodone for Dog Anxiety

Trazodone is categorized as a serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI). Basically, it belongs to a class of drugs that work as antidepressants, anxiolytics and hypnotics.

Trazodone is often used along with other drugs to treat anxiety in dogs and facilitate sleep. It can be prescribed after surgery to keep dogs calm during recovery and for mild cases of thunderstorm phobia, firework phobia, travel anxiety and separation anxiety.

According to a study, trazodone was found to be effective in reducing signs of stress (lip licking, panting, and whining) seen in dogs visiting veterinary hospitals. This would make trazodone for dog anxiety a better option than acepromazine for dog fear when it comes to managing stress in hospitalized dogs.

How it is Prescribed

Trazodone for dog anxiety is often prescribed to be given as needed when an exact trigger for the anxiety is identified as in the case of fear of thunderstorms, fireworks or separation distress, but for dogs who are suffering from generalized anxiety disorders, where an exact trigger isn't identified, it may be given on a daily schedule as often as every eight hours.

Discover More

dog flowers

Ask the Vet: Help, My Dog Got Stung By a Wasp!

If your dog got stung by a wasp, you are right to be concerned. As humans, dogs can be allergic to wasps and there is always the chance for serious consequences such as anaphylactic shock. Veterinarian Dr. Ivana shares tips on what to do if your dog got stung by a wasp.

puppy in the grass

Are Puppies Born With Parasites?

Whether puppies are born with parasites is something new breeders and puppy owners may wonder about. Perhaps you have seen something wiggly in your puppy's stool or maybe as a breeder you are wondering whether you need to deworm mother dog before she gives birth. Veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Masucci shares facts about whether puppies can be born with worms.


Ask the Vet: Help, My Dog Ate Donuts!

If your dog ate donuts, you may be concerned about your dog and wondering what you should do. The truth is, there are donuts and donuts and there are dogs and dogs. Some types of donuts can be more harmful than others and some dogs more prone to problems than others. Veterinarian Dr. Ivana shares whether donuts are safe for dogs and what to do if you dog ate donuts.

Generally, for cases of expected anxiety to specific triggers, it is given less than an hour prior to the event, considering it's a medication that works quickly, explains veterinarian Dr. B. Because of the large variability in response and conditions treated, Trazodone for dog anxiety should be given at a dosage and frequency as suggested by the vet.

[otw_is sidebar="otw-sidebar-1"]

Potential Side Effects

doxie back issues

Dogs treated with trazodone for dog anxiety may develop digestive problems such as vomiting or diarrhea, low blood pressure, sedation, trouble walking, paradoxical excitement and panting.

When combined with an SSRI or a TCA, trazodone can increase the risks for seizures. The good news is that side effects may diminish with time. To prevent side effects such as digestive upset many veterinarians prefer to prescribe a lower starting dose for the first 3 days and than an increase in dosage afterward.

It's also important to recognize the risks for what's known as serotonin syndrome, which occurs from the use of certain combinations of serotonergic drugs, for example the use of trazodone concomitantly with an SSRI such as fluoxetine (Prozac), warns veterinarian Dr. Michael Salkin. 


  • DVM360, Using clonidine and trazodone for anxiety-based behavior disorders in dogs
  • DVM360, Trazadone may lessen patient stress while in the veterinary hospital
  • Gilbert-Gregory SE, Stull JW, Rice MR, et al. Effects of trazadone on behavioral signs in hospitalized dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2016;249(11):1281-1291.

Related Articles