Mirtazapine for Dogs | Usage & Effects

Mirtazapine for Dogs | Usage & Effects

Author WDF Staff


There are different reasons our dogs might lose their appetite. They can get a health problem that will cause a lack of appetite, or they can simply be stressed or anxious and refuse to eat. Humans can suffer from similar issues. Luckily, some medications can help both species. It is called mirtazapine. If your vet prescribed mirtazapine to your dog, here’s what you might want to know about it.

What is mirtazapine for dogs?

Mirtazapine is the active ingredient in Remeron, an antidepressant for humans. However, off-label use of medications in veterinary medicine is not uncommon. In fact, many human drugs are used to treat certain conditions in dogs and cats. Mirtazapine is one of them.

This drug is most commonly used to treat appetite loss, nausea, and vomiting in cats. However, there are cases where vets decide this drug might be the best possible choice for your dog. It has the same effects on dogs as cats, and it is used to treat the same conditions. A bit of good news is that dogs react to it a lot better than cats do. That means that side effects are rarer.

VET TIP: Mirtazapine is most commonly used to treat motion sickness and appetite loss in dogs. However, in some cases, vets can prescribe it to dogs that need help with behavioral issues.

dogs in garden

Is it effective?

One of the first questions dog owners ask their vets is, “Is mirtazapine effective for dogs?” We would like to know if the drug will help our dogs. If it will, how fast can we expect to see results? These are all valid concerns, and most of us want to know the answers to these questions. Your vet might tell you that mirtazapine is considered very effective.

The FDA has not approved the use of this medication for animals. That means there are no official studies that can give us exact numbers on mirtazapine’s effectiveness. Nevertheless, vets know what they are doing, and you should take their advice and treat your dog’s conditions with this medication. Mirtazapine should take 48 hours to cause significant clinical improvements for dogs.

Is it mirtazapine for dogs safe?

Since this is not a medication specifically developed for dogs, many dog owners question its safety. This is a valid concern, especially because antidepressants should not be taken lightly. Even we should think about it before agreeing to take such a potent drug.

Vets generally consider mirtazapine safe for dogs. However, the administration and dosage should be followed carefully. There are a few things you should look out for, like allergic reactions and overdose. If your dog happens to be allergic to mirtazapine, you should stop giving them the drug immediately. If an overdose occurs, you should immediately call your vet or Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680. An overdose might happen even if we follow the vet’s instructions. Dogs can get ahold of the bottle and eat the pills without our knowledge. Make sure you keep the drug safely stashed where your dog can’t reach it.

schnauzer on the floor

Side effects of mirtazapine for dogs

Most drugs can cause side effects. It doesn’t matter if we take it or our dogs take it; side effects are something you can expect. When giving your dog human medication, something that might be completely normal or expected, like diarrhea, can be pretty worrying if you don’t know what to expect. If your dog has to take this medication, it would be best to learn all the side effects that can happen. If you do that, you will know what to expect or whether something is a valid cause of concern. The most common side effects of mirtazapine for dogs are;

  • Drowsiness
  • Vocalization
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • High or low blood pressure
  • High or low heart rate
  • Agitation
  • Tremors
  • Incoordination
  • Restlessness

VET TIP: While side effects might be possible, that doesn’t mean your dog will necessarily develop them. If you notice your dog developed serotonin syndrome, you should call your vet. Another thing you should probably know is that dogs tolerate this drug pretty well, and they rarely develop side effects.

Dosage of mirtazapine for dogs

One of the critical things when treating dogs with human medication is getting the dosage right. If you give your dog too small a dosage, the drug will not have the desired effect, and you will effectively give your dog medication that will do nothing for them. However, if you give your dog a too large dose, the dog might suffer an overdose. Overdoses are considered medical emergencies, and you can never be sure how your dog will react to them or what kind of damage it will sustain.

sleeping viszla

The precise mirtazapine dosage for dogs should be determined by your vet. They know your dog’s medical history and will know if your dog needs a larger or a smaller dosage. However, the most common dosage vets prescribe to dogs is 0.6 milligrams per kilogram or 0.27 milligrams per pound of body weight. Dogs should never take more than 30 milligrams a day.

Where can I get mirtazapine for my dog?

If you think your dog can benefit from this medication, you should visit your vet. Only a licensed vet can prescribe this drug. After you get a prescription, you can pick the drug up at your local pet pharmacy or order it on Chewy’s online pharmacy.

World Dog Finder team

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