Trazodone for Dogs and Cats - dog relaxed on bed

Trazodone for Dogs and Cats

As pet owners, we understand that our furry friends can experience stress and anxiety just like humans. Whether it’s separation anxiety, fear of loud noises, or general nervousness – finding ways to help our pets cope is essential for their well-being. One medication that has gained attention for its potential in calming anxious pets is trazodone. So, what exactly is trazadone? In this blog, Airpets International helps you explore what trazodone is, how it works, and its potential benefits for our beloved dogs and cats. 


Understanding Trazodone 

Trazodone is a medication that belongs to a class of drugs called serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitors (SARIs). Originally developed to treat depression in humans, trazodone has also found its way into veterinary medicine as a potential solution for managing anxiety in pets. While it’s essential to note that trazodone is an off-label use for animals, many veterinarians prescribe it for its calming effects. 


How Trazodone Works 

Trazodone works by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in regulating mood, anxiety, and sleep. By modulating serotonin levels, trazodone helps promote a sense of calmness and relaxation in both humans and animals. 


Common Uses for Trazodone in Pets: 

  • Anxiety Disorders: Trazodone is often prescribed to pets with anxiety disorders, helping them manage stress triggers more effectively. 
  • Noise Phobias: Fireworks, thunderstorms, and loud noises can be terrifying for pets. Trazodone may provide relief by reducing anxiety during these events. 
  • Travel Anxiety: For pets who experience anxiety during car rides, trazodone can be a helpful tool to make the journey more comfortable. However, air travel does not allow any form of sedation for pets.   
  • Medical Procedures: Trazodone is sometimes used to calm pets before medical procedures, making the experience less stressful for them. 


Dosage and Administration 

It’s crucial to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations regarding the dosage and administration of trazodone for your pet. Dosages vary based on the size, weight, and individual needs of the animal. Additionally, gradual introduction and monitoring for side effects are essential to ensure the well-being of your pet. 


Potential Side Effects 

While trazodone is generally considered safe for pets when administered under veterinary guidance, it’s essential to be aware of potential side effects. These may include sedation, lethargy, gastrointestinal upset, or changes in appetite. If you notice any unusual symptoms, contact your veterinarian promptly. 


Trazodone and Air Travel 

Trazodone is a medication commonly prescribed to manage anxiety and behavioral issues in pets. However, when it comes to air travel, there are specific reasons why certain medications, including trazodone, may not be allowed or require special consideration. 

Firstly, the effects of medications can vary from one individual to another, and the response in pets may be unpredictable. The altitude and pressure changes during air travel can influence how a pet’s body processes the medication. This can lead to unexpected reactions, potentially putting the pet’s health at risk. 

Moreover, sedatives like trazodone can affect a pet’s respiratory and cardiovascular systems. The reduced oxygen levels and pressure in the aircraft may exacerbate these effects, leading to complications. 

Another concern is the difficulty in monitoring a sedated pet during the flight. Pets may not be able to communicate discomfort or distress when sedated, making it challenging for owners and airline staff to respond to any potential issues promptly. 

In general, airlines have strict guidelines regarding the transportation of pets, and sedation is often discouraged due to safety concerns. It’s crucial for pet owners to consult with their veterinarians and the airline to determine the safest and most appropriate approach for their individual pet’s needs during air travel. 


Trazodone Alternatives 

 When it comes to managing anxiety or stress in pets during air travel, there are alternative approaches that don’t involve sedation. Here are some options: 

  • Behavioral Training: Gradual desensitization and positive reinforcement can be effective in reducing anxiety over time. Familiarizing your pet with the carrier, the sounds of the airport, and short car rides can make the overall travel experience less stressful. 
  • Adaptil (Dog Pheromone): Adaptil is a synthetic version of the canine appeasing pheromone, which helps to create a sense of security and comfort for dogs. It comes in various forms, including sprays, collars, and diffusers. 
  • Feliway (Cat Pheromone): Similar to Adaptil, Feliway is a synthetic feline facial pheromone that can help reduce stress and anxiety in cats. It’s available in spray or diffuser form. 
  • Calming Supplements: There are various over-the-counter calming supplements formulated for pets. These often contain natural ingredients like lavender, chamomile, valerian root, or L-tryptophan, which can have mild calming effects. 
  • Pet Parent Shirt: This is just a t-shirt with the odors of the pet parent which can help an anxious pet receive comfort. 
  • Consultation with a Veterinarian: Discuss your concerns with your veterinarian, who can provide personalized advice based on your pet’s specific needs. They may recommend specific strategies or medications that are safer for air travel. 


It’s important to note that each pet is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Always consult with your veterinarian before using any products or medications to ensure they are safe and appropriate for your pet’s individual health and circumstances. 



Trazodone can be a valuable tool in managing anxiety in pets, providing relief for both animals and their owners. However, it’s crucial to approach its use with caution, under the guidance of a veterinarian. Always consult with a professional to determine the appropriate dosage and monitor your pet for any adverse reactions. With the right approach, trazodone can contribute to a happier, more relaxed life for your beloved furry companions. 


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