Read This Before Giving Your Dog Xanax!

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Are you thinking of giving your dog Xanax as a way to calm them down?

Can I Give My Dog Xanax?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:

“There are certainly alternatives to Xanax. Veterinarians often prescribe trazodone, gabapentin or even Prozac for dogs with anxiety and some animals respond really well to CBD oil.”

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:

  • Sedation
  • 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!

What Do You Think? Have Your Say Below…

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29 thoughts on “Read This Before Giving Your Dog Xanax!”

  1. We rehomed a female German Shepherd with serious fear-based aggression. We have worked with a trainer specializing in these problems for over a year. She gets 2-3 hours of vigorous exercise a day and weighs 70 pounds. At heart she is very sweet, but even a pan banging in the kitchen can set her off. We have tried melatonin, pheromones, CBD oil, you name it.

    Last night was New Year’s Eve and, of course, there were lots of fireworks. I gave her 0.5 mg of Xanax out of sheer desperation. She calmed down immediately and I was able to take her for the evening walk. I will be checking with our vet on whether this is okay, or if we should try an alternative. I don’t want to hurt her, but she lives in a constant state of anxiety which cannot be healthy for her.

  2. Charmayne says:

    I have an English Bulldog who hates his nails trimmed. My vet gave me 2mg of Xanax to use 1 hour before I bring him in cut his nails. He weighs approximately 70 pounds. Is this too much?

  3. 1mg of Xanax saved my dog’s life when he was stuck in a cluster of seizures. It broke the cycle and now he has been resting for the first time in 48 hours. He is a Boxer-mix and is about 55 pounds.

  4. My dog is a 5 year old, 125 pound Rottweiler. He is very calm almost all the time except when he is playing. He lets me clip his toe nails with very little resistance. But brushing his teeth is an entirely different situation. He needs his teeth brushed in the worst way.

    I’m worried about major problems coming soon if I can’t find a way to brush them at least once a month. Tooth decay, gum disease and he has the worst breath. I’d rather not have to take him to the vet and pay them a small fortune every time he needs his teeth brushed.

    Does anyone have any advice?

    1. Dan, I buy my Rottie knee bones at our local pet store. Better yet, Lucky grocery store has about 6 in a package and they aren’t as greasy as the ones the pet store carries.

      Her teeth look perfect and the vet thinks I brush them. I would think two a month would keep your dog’s teeth really nice. It has worked for me so maybe it would for you too.

  5. I have a 13 year old diabetic hound. He is 65 pounds. I was wondering if Xanax would help him in case I have to put him down.

    1. No, don’t do that! It’s likely to take far more than Xanax to successfully end his life. The side effects of a failed attempt could be awful.

    2. If the dog needs to be put to sleep please take him to a vet!

  6. I have a small mix breed that is scared of his shadow and does exhibit aggressive behavior when we try to take him for a walk, clean his ears, bath him or do anything that frightens him. A vet suggested we start him on Prozac daily and Xanax before baths, etc.

    It’s been two weeks and, at the start of week two, he’s willing to go on very short walks. We were considering the Xanax but I’m admittedly reluctant. It’s about time to go to the groomer and I’m not sure what I’ll decide yet.

    After visiting this website, it’s given me more options and I’m thankful for that. Thank you to all that have shared your experience. It is appreciated.

  7. My vet prescribed 2mg of Alprazolam for my 45 pound English Setter. The first time I gave it to him, I knew it was way too high a dose. I’ve cut those in half and only use them if he is really upset by the weather. I’m trying the calming chews instead. I still think 1mg. Is too much for him?

  8. My 8.5 pound Yorkie has skin allergies really bad. I gave her approximately 1/16th of a Xanax. Is she going to be okay until I get her to the vet when they open in the morning?

  9. My Pekingese swallowed a piece of a piece of a 1mg Xanax. What are the side effects and what should I do? He is panting.

  10. I have a 16 year old Silky Terrier who has severe anxiety. He is so scared of the dryer and laundry machine and almost everything else.

    He’s very high strung and constantly shakes, barks and yelps at random things. I was prescribed 2mg of alprazolam (Xanax) and I break it down to 0.5mg and give him one every morning and 0.5mg at night time.

    It’s a miracle drug. He drinks so much more water and eats much more food. He used to bite when he was scared. Now, he sits on my lap and chills in a very calm state. Best of all, his nose gets wet. When I don’t give him Xanax his nose is dry.

    I would highly recommend giving your dog small amounts. No more than half a miligram at a time. It works wonders!

    1. I wanted to know how much I could give my Boston Terrier to make him go to sleep so I can safely pull a bad tooth.

      1. Take him to the vet, unless you’re a certified dentist.

  11. I need suggestions on how to sedate my Schnauzer in order to cut her nails. She goes berserk! She’s my baby girl and it traumatizes her. I usually get bitten and scratched. We have Hydroxyzine but it is not that effective.

  12. My vet prescribed Xanax for my dog on occasion and when I am out of anxiety pills. It does the opposite of calming, but the pill is a low dose. Can I give him a 3 melatonin to calm him? I cannot give the other anxiety pill until latter this evening.

    1. Yes. Make sure the melatonin doesn’t contain xylitol.

      1. Is the melatonin vet-prescribed or off the shelf? And can you recommend what dosage for a 20 pound dog? I need to travel an extended distance next week and my dog gets anxious. Thank you!

        1. Your brain actually only makes like 1/50th of a milligram of melatonin. Use low dosage to start for any dog or person.

          The medication tells your brain that is night time or time to sleep. It is mostly used for jet lag, but in many cases people use it for sleep.

  13. Thank you so much for this information. The abused rescue dog I am trying to work with needs more patience than drugs. Thanks again for opening my eyes.

  14. I give my 70 pound, 10 month old Labraheeler 100mg of L-Theanine a day. Towards the evening she gets very hyper. Can I give her more?

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

    1. Thank You Pat. I am moving out of state and want to be sure my service dog will be calm on the plane.

  16. My 11 year old Spaniel has sleep issues, especially if I leave her with a sitter. She sleeps all day and goes to sleep at night. But inevitably wakes in the middle of the night, pawing at the bed, panting and pacing. She has terrible separation anxiety and fear of thunderstorms. She also thinks planes are thunder sometimes too, which is a problem at night.

    My vet has prescribed Xanax which does no good at all. In fact, I think it scares her that she feels wobbly, and it makes the anxiety worse. I’m thinking about trying Melatonin. Any suggestions?

  17. 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.

  18. 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 0.5mg but not to go over 1mg.

    The 0.5mg 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 saying is that yes you should always try to get your vet’s approval before trying any drug on your dog. If it’s an emergency and you can’t contact your vet, it’s 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’s 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, 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).

    1. Thank you, that was extremely helpful.

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