Xanax, also known by its chemical name Alprazolam, is often used by people who tend to experience sudden anxiety or panic attacks in order to induce a calm feeling.
However, many dog owners with dogs at home that tend to get anxious over the slightest of things and experience panic attacks (or the equivalent of that in dogs) often ask themselves whether or not dogs can safely be given Xanax in order to help ease their situation.
This is exactly what we’ll be covering in this article, along with information about Xanax side effects in dogs, proper dosages of Xanax for dogs, Xanax overdose in dogs and much more.
Table Of Contents
Can Dogs Take Xanax?
Yes, dogs can take Xanax safely if there’s a need for this medication to be given to them.
You have to keep in mind that Xanax is not an over the counter medication, Xanax is a prescription drug which requires a prescription from a veterinarian and should only be given to dogs under the guidance of a veterinarian that will determine the dosage of Xanax your dog should be taking and for how long they should be taking this medication.
The most common uses of Xanax for dogs are:
- Anxiety (whether we’re talking about general anxiety about something going on or separation anxiety that a dog or puppy hasn’t yet been trained to deal with)
- Panic attacks
- Great fear of something (most commonly thunderstorm phobias)
- Muscle relaxant
- Anti depressant
Xanax Dosage For Dogs
The exact dosage of Xanax that should be given to your dog should be determined by a veterinarian after a careful look at your dog’s case.
One dog that suffers from mild anxiety and/or panic attacks will surely need much less dosages of Xanax than another dog that suffers from intense anxiety and/or panic attacks, so the dosage of Xanax given to your dog should be left for your veterinarian to determine.
With that being said, there is a general range of Xanax dosage for dogs that most dogs fall under.
This dosage is usually a lower extremity of 0.01 mg/lb and a higher extremity of 0.05 mg/lb given to dogs once every 12 hours.
The highest dosage of Xanax that should ever be given to any dog no matter what the case may be is 4 mg of Xanax every 24 hours. Even if your dog weighs significantly higher than average and, if you do the math, the dosage turns out to be more than 4 mg, don’t give your dog this dosage of Xanax and talk to your veterinarian instead.
Any dosage higher than 4 mg per 24 hours that’s given to dogs will put their well-being at great danger.
If you know that your dog will be going through something stressful at one point in time, such as an upcoming grooming session where your dog is usually terrified of the dry blower’s sound or the event of them getting their fur trimmed, it’s advised that you give your dog a dosage of Xanax 60 minutes before in order for it to kick in properly and for your dog to be very relaxed when the time comes.
This way, what used to be something so terrifying and a cause of panic for your dog will go as smooth as possible.
As for when the need for treating your dog with Xanax comes to and end, the last thing you’ll want to do is to suddenly stop giving them this medication, as this will only lead to much more complicated problems than the ones you were trying to solve in the first place.
Instead, when the need for treating your dog with Xanax comes to and end, you should lower the dosage of this medication that you’re giving your dog bit by bit, all the way till the dosage becomes 0 mg/lb.
By doing this, you’ll make sure that any potential Xanax withdrawal effects your dog may experience are greatly minimized.
Either way, this is something that your veterinarian will clearly state to you during your consultation about giving your dog Xanax.
Xanax Side Effects In Dogs
Just like Xanax has its fair share of side effects on humans, Xanax also has the ability to induce several side effects in dogs as well.
However, as long as your dog is being given Xanax under the guidance and supervision of a competent veterinarian that knows what they’re doing, the chances of your dog experiencing any of these negative side effects is greatly minimized.
With that being said, here’s a list of some of the most common side effects that have been documented in dogs that are given Xanax.
- Sudden increase or decrease in food consumption
- Sudden increase in aggressive behavior and/or excitement
- Unusual breathing
- Inability to move in a well coordinated fashion (loss of motor skills)
- Increased clumsiness
- Yellowish eyes (A very serious side effect that usually hints at liver complications. If you notice this in your dog, immediately let your veterinarian know about this as this could ultimately cause liver damage in your dog if left unattended)
Xanax Overdose In Dogs
Be very careful when administering dosages of Xanax to your dog, as this is definitely not the medication you want to allow unexpected over dosages to happen with.
If you see any of the following signs in your dog, these are all serious signs that your dog has overdosed on Xanax and you need to get them to the nearest emergency pet care center right away.
- Extreme and unusual calmness in your dog (This is something you have to evaluate yourself and compare how your dog is at that moment of time to how they usually are off Xanax)
- Extreme and unusual burst of energy (Also referred to as hyperactivity)
- Unresponsiveness (If your dog is unresponsive to you no matter what you’re trying to do, they may have entered into a state of coma due to Xanax overdose)
When Is Xanax Bad For Dogs?
In some cases, dog owners give their dogs Xanax thinking that it will help in their situation, whereas the reality of the matter is that they’re actually worsening their dog’s situation.
One of the most common mistakes dog owners make is thinking that giving their dog Xanax will lead to the reduction of their aggression, whereas in reality Xanax often leads to aggravating their dog’s aggression.
Here’s a list of circumstances and situations where giving your dog Xanax is a terrible idea.
- Dogs that have kidney disease
- Dogs that have liver disease
- Dogs that are pregnant
- Dogs that are nursing
- Dogs that have developed any allergic reaction or hypersensitivity to any medication that falls under the Benzodiazepines family before
Since Xanax is a prescription drug and you’re going to have to get a prescription from a veterinarian before you can give this medication to your dog, there’s a few things you should clearly communicate to your veterinarian before you give your dog any dosage of Xanax.
- Any medication or supplements your dog is currently being given (no matter how minor or you may think the medicine or supplement is, sometimes Xanax interacts negatively with some of the most simple medicine out there)
- What health problems your dog currently suffers from or has suffered from in the past
Xanax VS Natural Methods Of Calming Down
No matter what reason you may be contemplating giving your dog Xanax or already be giving your dog Xanax as we speak, it’s always a much more preferable option for you to follow natural methods and techniques to have your dog lead a calmer life than giving them Xanax.
Just like it’s much better for you and I to implement such techniques in our lives in order to be calmer people throughout our day to day lives, it’s always more preferable to go down the natural route with your dog as well, instead of having all these medications clogging up inside their body.
Before going down the route of giving your dog medication for panic and anxiety like Xanax, try to figure out what it is exactly that’s causing them to panic and get all that scared and see if there’s anything you can do yourself to make them feel better without the need of having to give them Xanax.
For example, many dogs often panic at the sound of very loud dog blow dryers when their owners attempt to dry them off after a shower. In this case, and instead of resorting to giving your dog Xanax so they don’t get scared as much, simply consider investing in a dog blow dryer that doesn’t make as much noise.
Or, some dog owners try to take their dogs to the pool for the first time ever and immediately try to get them in the pool without much pre-practice, something which leads some dogs to go into panic mode because this is all too new for them. In such a case and instead of resorting to giving your dog Xanax, try to take your dog frequent trips to the pool at first just to walk around and explore the environment, maybe only dipping their paws in at first.
It’s baby steps like this that many times make all the difference and save you from having to give your dog Xanax.
Now, of course, it’s not always going to be this simple as some dogs go through anxiety cases that can only be solved with Xanax, but it’s our duty to let you know that you should always try out all the natural methods that are available out there first before you decide to resort to medication like Xanax.