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Is Xanax for Dogs Safe - Here is What Vets Might Tell You

Is Xanax for Dogs Safe - Here is What Vets Might Tell You

Author WDF Staff

01.05.2021.


Dogs can suffer from all sorts of anxiety disorders, just like we can. These disorders can be triggered by different things like their owner’s absence or loud noises like thunderstorms or fireworks. Humans have a great anxiety medication called Xanax, and many dog owners ask themselves the question, “Can dogs take Xanax?”

Before you decide to medicate your dog, you should know that giving your dog any kind of medication, Xanax included, without consulting your vet is not a good idea. Even if a human medication is safe for dogs to take, the dosage needs to be exactly right. There are many cases of owners accidentally overdosing their dogs on human medication. You should avoid becoming a part of this negative statistic and talk to your vet about whether your dog can take Xanax. Here is what you should know about dogs and Xanax.

What type of medication is Xanax?

Xanax is a brand name, and it is a human anxiety medication based on the active ingredient called alprazolam. Alprazolam is used in humans for anxiety and phobia treatments. It is an effective drug that is often prescribed for off-label use to treat different problems in animals.

Off-label Xanax use

Off-label or extra-label use means that the drug is not specifically developed with that particular use in mind. Still, veterinary medicine often uses human medications to treat dogs or cats. However, before you decide to give your dog Xanax, you should call your vet and ask for advice about dosage and frequency.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Alprazolam or Xanax is a schedule IV controlled drug. It is only available with a doctor’s prescription. The doctor will only prescribe it if there is no chance of abuse.

Is Xanax safe for dogs?

Xanax is a potent medication that can be given to dogs. Still, if you can go in any different direction, you should try that first. Dealing with anxiety issues can be difficult, but instead of medicating your dog right away, you might want to try giving them some calming CBD dog treats first. Check out this article for more information - Best calming dog treats.

 Xanax is not a risk-free drug, in fact, most drugs are not risk-free, and they come with potential side effects. If your vet prescribed Xanax for your dog’s treatment, you must strictly follow your vet’s instructions. Some dogs should not take Xanax no matter what. If your dog is in one of these situations, you should let your vet know so they can consider a different treatment option;

  • Allergic to alprazolam
  • Kidney or liver problems
  • Lactating
  • Pregnant
  • Geriatric
  • Glaucoma
  • Debilitated
  • Working dogs

However, if you follow your vet’s instructions and your dog is healthy, there is no reason why Xanax shouldn’t be safe for your dog.

Xanax side effects

Like most medications, Xanax can cause certain side effects. The first time you give Xanax to your dog, make sure you keep a close eye on them and watch their behavior. Your dog might experience some side effects, and you should call your vet immediately if the side effects are severe. The most common Xanax side effects in dogs are;

  • Uncoordinated walking
  • Sedation
  • Appetite increase
  • Lowered learning ability

In rare cases, Xanax can cause completely opposite effects of what you would typically expect. If the dog has an adverse reaction, they can become agitated, more anxious, and even aggressive. If that happens, stop giving Xanax to your dog and call your vet.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Long-term Xanax use in dogs can cause physical dependence. Your dog can develop Xanax addiction, the same as humans can. You should be careful when treating your dog’s anxiety issues with this medication.

How to safely give Xanax to your dog?

Alprazolam, in this case, Xanax, comes in two forms - pills and liquid solution. The medication should be given to the dog 30 - 60 minutes before an anxiety-inducing situation, for example, before going to the vet, traveling, or thunderstorms. The effects will be noticed pretty fast. You should keep an eye on your dog and check for any adverse reactions, especially the first time the drug is administered.

Xanax dosage for dogs

The most important thing to look out for is the Xanax dosage for dogs. You should closely stick to your vet’s instructions and make sure your dog doesn’t ingest more Xanax than they should. Keep in mind that the maximum Xanax dosage for dogs is 4mg per day.

The typical Xanax dosage for dogs is 0.01 - 0.05 mg per pound of bodyweight. The drug is given every 12 hours, or every 4 - 6 hours, depending on what your veterinarian prescribes.

When is Xanax prescribed to dogs?

Different anxiety issues might require Xanax as the best form of therapy. However, vets usually prescribe Xanax for severe disorders. For mild cases, they typically recommend other drugs or supplements. One of the most popular things dog owners use for treating canine anxiety disorders is CBD. You can read more about it here - Should you give your dog CBD oil?

In conclusion

Dogs can take Xanax, and it can be a helpful tool for treating anxiety disorders. The important thing is not to give the dog Xanax that was prescribed to you or your family members and follow your vet’s instructions. Be careful not to overdose your dog and keep a close eye on them after the first time you give them this medication.

One of the most common forms of anxiety in dogs is separation anxiety. Check out this article for more information - Separation anxiety in dogs.

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