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Serotonin Antagonist/Reuptake Inhibitor

Prescriber Highlights

An antidepressant that may be useful for adjunctive treatment of behavior disorders in dogsPotentiates serotonin activity in the central nervous system

Uses, Indications

  • Used for treating behavior disorders, especially those related to anxiety or phobias  
  • Commonly used in dogs as an antianxiety agent, particularly in the intensive care environment
  • Well tolerated over a wide dose range
  • Anecdotally used to treat hyperesthetic effects associated with strychnine toxicity

Contraindications, Precautions, Warnings

  • Contraindications

Patients with a history of hypersensitivity to trazodone or any of its components; patients receiving concurrent MAO inhibitors (eg, amitraz, selegiline)

  • Precautions

Use with caution in patients with severe cardiac disease or hepatic or renal impairment 

Side Effects

  • A side effect profile in dogs is not well documented
  • Potential side effects include sedation, lethargy, ataxia, priapism, cardiac conduction disturbances, increased anxiety, and aggression

Drug Interactions

  • May cause serotonin syndrome when used in combination with other serotonergic drugs


  • Clinical efficacy
  • Side effects

Client Information

  • Commonly used in dogs for anxiety-related conditions, including thunderstorm or fireworks phobias and activity restriction after surgery; also often combined with other medications to help reduce anxiety
  • May be given with food or on an empty stomach

Dosage Forms

  • Trazodone oral tablets: 50, 100, 150, and 300 mg
  • Trazodone extended-release tablets: 150 and 300 mg 

Compiled and summarized from Plumb’s Veterinary Drugs by Shannon Palermo, VMD

Information about this drug was adapted from Plumb’s Veterinary Drugs. Further details and more therapeutics can be found with a subscription at

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