Pet Medication 101: Trazodone

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Pet Medication 101: Trazodone

It’s important to understand a medication’s uses and side effects before giving it to your pet. This medication info sheet is meant to give you a good understanding of what trazodone (Desyrel) is used for, how it works, and potential side effects in cats and dogs. Always consult a veterinarian before giving your pet any medication.

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1. Drug Name:


2. Common Names or Brand Names:

Desyrel, Oleptro

3. How Dispensed:


4. Forms:

50mg, 100mg, 150mg, 300mg tablets

5. Drug Type/Class:

  1. 1.Serotonin Alpha 2 antagonist/reuptake inhibitor

6. Uses for Cats and Dogs:

Used in pets to treat short-term anxiety concerns. This is especially helpful for post-operative recovery, to keep the animal calm and relaxed. Trazodone is also used for travel anxiety and noise phobias.

7. How it works:

Trazodone increases serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin 2A antagonist/reuptake inhibitors limit the brain’s ability to remove serotonin, causing serotonin to last longer. The more serotonin animals have in their brains, the less anxiety, obsession, and fear they have.

8. Side Effects and/or Signs of Overdose:

Limited side effects. Rarely see aggressive food-seeking, increased drowsiness, nausea, and GI upset. Signs of overdose include ‘serotonin syndrome’ (elevated heart rate, shivering, dilated pupils, respiratory distress, hyperthermia, and/or high blood pressure).

9. Drug Interactions:

Aspirin and other NSAIDs, azole antifungals, Cisapride, CNS depressants, diuretics, fluoroquinolones, SSRI / Tramadol (increased risk of serotonin syndrome)

10. Cautionary Statements:

Not recommended for pets sensitive to MAO inhibitors. Use caution with severe heart disease or liver and/or kidney impairment. Do not use in pets with angle-closure glaucoma.

Read more:

Separation Anxiety in Cats

Noise Anxiety in Cats and Dogs

Preventing Separation Anxiety: How to prepare your pet for time alone after your COVID-19 quarantine

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Published: 10/28/2021

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