Can I Give My Dog Xanax?

Can I Give My Dog Xanax?Doubting the use of Xanax for a pet is understandable. Some people do give it to their dogs, but there are usually much safer and equally effective alternatives for treating canine anxiety or insomnia.

In other words, the use of Xanax is questionable since there are likely more appropriate options for your dog. Sure, this drug can work well for humans but it’s truly more dangerous for domesticated animals.

You’ll be exposing your dog to unnecessary risks without a vet’s guidance regarding Xanax. This drug was obviously developed for humans and dosing is tricky. Make no mistake about it, Alprazolam is a strong prescription medication, particularly for pets.

Can I Give My Dog Xanax? Answer: No, though some vets prescribe it

We say no because there are much safer alternatives such as canine-formulated chewable calming aids.

This Benzodiazepine drug is generally not a good option, though people do give Xanax to their dogs for car rides as a quick fix. Admittedly, a small dose on occasion probably isn’t as dangerous as Aspirin or Tylenol or Ibuprofen for dogs. If you must use Xanax, do so only if you are 100% certain of a safe dose which is mostly determined by your dog’s weight.

Understand that Xanax can create physical and psychological dependencies.

It’s Commonly Misused

Not only dogs, lots of people should not be taking Xanax either. In fact, it’s probably the most abused and misused drug out there. People inappropriately take Xanax, much like Valium, by choice but a dog cannot make such an important health decision. This and the fact that there are better choices for calming dogs leads us to our answer. You may disagree but we err on the side of caution.

Xanax Dosing for Dogs

We are reluctant to provide dosage information for something we refuse to use for our own dogs. Since people seek the information, providing a conservative suggestion may help out some desperate owners. Don’t ever exceed 0.025mg of Xanax per pound. For example, if your dog weighs 40 pounds the maximum dose is ( 40 * 0.025 ) 1mg but not more. Be sure to run it by your vet first!

Negative Side Effects

Xanax is a Schedule IV drug so it needs to be taken seriously. Even if you get the dosage right, there are several things to watch for. The onset of Alprazolam is very fast so you may find that your dog’s demeanor has changed suddenly. A change in temperament is common, usually positive but sometimes negative.

A small percent of dogs become very aggressive, even biting at things. This is a paradoxical reaction. Besides a change in behavior, a high dose could result in shallow breathing, poor balance and a dizzy or clumsy dog. A loss of appetite and vomiting are also possible. All these symptoms could indicate too high a dose.

If you witness your dog’s condition worsen, phone or visit your vet immediately.

A Xanax Poisoning Plan

You’ll need some help if your dog accidentally consumed a dangerous dose of Xanax. If you saw it happen, act before it is absorbed into their system. Grab your dog and the pills and head straight to the local veterinarian.

Some Natural Remedies

Some dogs are high strung but we need to seek out safe and effective remedies. Consider using Melatonin instead of Xanax because many owners have had success with it. There’s also an excellent calming aid made for dogs that comes in chewable tablet form. It contains all-natural ingredients and reduces aggression, anxiety as well as excessive barking.

Last but not least is Thundershirt which is a physical solution that we’ve successfully used on occasion.

Conclusion on Xanax

No, do not to give prescription Xanax to the family dog because this drug carries unnecessary risks. It’s too strong, potentially addictive and possibly unpredictable. Whatever the reason you’ve considered using Xanax, there more suitable treatment options for helping your beloved pet dog.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Pat November, 2015

My veterinarian prescribed generic Xanax for my small dog. Used properly it is not dangerous and helps the animal.


Cyndi February, 2015

For three nights my 14 year old dog was panting and pacing all night long. Finally, I gave him a 0.5 of Xanax and prayed my baby would sleep for 10 hours. Thank God, because he did and he’s been okay ever since. I’m not looking forward to the next time but will try Melatonin. Thank you.


Veronica September, 2014

I have a Pug who is about 20 pounds who has occasional panic attacks/seizures (the vet believes the seizures might cause the panic attacks or vice versa). They originally prescribed Diazepam, however it didn’t seem to work at all on him. I am prescribed to Xanax (Alprazolam) for panic attacks and a few years ago during one of my pugs “attacks” I realized that Xanax might help him too.

I made an emergency call to my vet to ask if it was OK and what the dosage should be. He said that in my dog’s case I could give him some (I don’t believe everyone should just start giving their dog Xanax without just cause). He said for his size to start at a dose of .5mg but not to go over 1mg. The .5mg didn’t help much, but the full 1mg helped enormously! He stopped hyperventilating, stopped attacking invisible objects, and stopped running in circles with foam coming out of his mouth within about 20 minutes.

What I am basically saying is that yes you should always try to get your vet’s approval before trying any drug on your dog, however if it’s an emergency and you can’t contact your vet it is safe to give Xanax to a dog (by safe I mean it isn’t toxic from them like many meds are). Panic attacks and seizures in dogs can be horrible and it is devastating to watch helplessly as your dog suffers.

You know they need something to help them right then, you can’t afford to wait a week or even a night for a vet appointment. If you happen to have Xanax you can give them, get the correct dosage and help them! (But do still contact your vet ASAP to let them know what happened and schedule a follow-up and a plan in case of future attacks).


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