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Are you thinking of giving your dog Xanax as a way to calm them down?
While some vets do prescribe this drug (generic name Alprazolam) to dogs for anxiety and insomnia, it is a practice that is questionable.
We cannot, in good conscience, recommend that you provide Xanax. It could expose your pet to unnecessary danger.
Thankfully there are other, equally effective options.
Avoid Giving Your Dog Xanax
This Benzodiazepine is just not safe enough.
Consider that Xanax is a powerful Schedule IV drug. When it comes to dogs, it has an even higher potential for harm.
We asked Sara Redding Ochoa (DVM) of Whitehouse Veterinary Hospital for some better ideas and she told us the following:
The Results of a Study
The Animal Poison Control Center (ASPCA) evaluated 238 suspected cases of dogs being poisoned as a result of being given Xanax.
Here is the gist of what they found:
“Clinical signs were ataxia/disorientation, depression, hyperactivity, vomiting, weakness, tremors, vocalization, tachycardia, tachypnea, hypothermia, diarrhea, and increased salivation that developed within 10-30 minutes post-ingestion.”
As you can see, a lot can go wrong (and fast) if you provide your dog with Xanax!
Testing Done on Dogs
Mylan’s Alprazolam Product Monograph leaflet documents 2 separate studies in which dogs were given various doses.
Some of the adverse effects included:
- Ataxia (lack of muscle coordination)
- Higher cholesterol
- Lack of appetite (a withdrawal symptom)
- Weight loss (another withdrawal symptom)
The dogs given the highest dose, 45mg per pound of body weight per day, experienced convulsions.
Careful Xanax Dosing
Alprazolam is one the most abused pharmaceuticals out there.
People misuse it by choice, much like Valium. Dogs obviously cannot decide.
In any case, we are reluctant to give dosing info for something we don’t advocate for. However, a conservative reference may help desperate owners avoid an overdose.
Never exceed 1/4th of a milligram of Xanax per 10 pounds. So, for example, the maximum dose would be 1mg if a dog weighed 40 pounds (lbs. X 0.25)
Warning: Confirm any amount of Xanax with your vet before use.
Unpredictable Side Effects
The onset of Alprazolam is super fast.
Your dog’s demeanor may suddenly change. A different temperament is common (usually positive, but sometimes quite negative).
Some dogs become aggressive, even biting at things. This is what’s called a paradoxical reaction.
Have a Poisoning Plan
You’ll need help if your furry friend has consumed either too much or an unknown amount of Xanax.
Due to the quick absorption, do not delay! Grab your dog, and the pills, and head to your veterinarian.
A professional’s assistance is essential and it is especially critical if their condition seems to be worsening.
Some Natural Remedies
As far as alternatives go, another option is Melatonin. Many dog owners have had success with it.
You could also try chewable calming tablets which contain taurine and theanine. The amino acids will reduce aggression, anxiety as well as excessive barking.
Last, but not least, is Thundershirt which is a physical solution that is worth a shot.
The Bottom Line
Don’t give your dog Xanax.
Providing a pet with these anti-anxiety pills is precarious at best. Alprazolam often produces unreliable results.
Why not forget about Xanax and look into better, safer treatment options for your dog!