How Safe Is Alprazolam for Dogs?

Madeleine A.

Alprazolam for dogs is considered safe when given under the strict supervision of a qualified veterinarian. Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine, or tranquilizer, and is commonly used as an anti-anxiety or anti-seizure medication in dogs. In addition, alprazolam can be quite effective in calming dogs' anxiety during thunderstorms and in a number of other stressful conditions that cause canine stress.

Alprazolam might be given to treat anxiety in a dog.
Alprazolam might be given to treat anxiety in a dog.

Also known as Xanax®, alprazolam works by altering certain activities in areas of the brain that help produce the wanted outcomes. In addition, alprozolam for dogs helps decrease symptoms of panic attacks that may be present not only during thunderstorms, but on the Fourth of July when fireworks are being set off, and for separation anxiety. Although dogs typically get used to their owners coming and going, certain dogs have a very difficult time during even short periods of separation.

A veterinarian may request a blood test for liver function when prescribing alprazolam.
A veterinarian may request a blood test for liver function when prescribing alprazolam.

When alprazolam for dogs is given, owners should watch for side effects like pronounced sedation, lethargy, and confusion. In addition, persistent thirst, coordination problems, and dry mouth can occur. It is possible that side effects may be more pronounced when the medication is taken with certain antibiotics, beta blockers, and antacid medications. If the veterinarian is not familiar with the dog, the owner needs to tell him which medications or dietary supplements the dog is currently receiving.

Alprazolam is used to treat anxiety and seizures in dogs.
Alprazolam is used to treat anxiety and seizures in dogs.

Occasionally, alprazolam is prescribed to treat painful muscle conditions in dogs, but other, less sedating medications are often tolerated better. These medications include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). In addition, when using this medication, veterinarians need to warn owners that the medication might have an opposite effect, causing excitement.

Just like in humans, alprazolam for dogs can cause dependence and withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms may include shaking, vomiting, and extreme photophobia, or light sensitivity. To avoid dependency, dogs, like humans, should not take alprazolam for extended periods of time, and the medication should never be abruptly discontinued, but tapered off gradually.

In rare cases, giving alprazolam for dogs who have anxiety and other problems can lead to liver problems. If the veterinarian suspects liver problems, he may recommend a simple blood test to determine if liver enzymes are elevated. If they are, the dosage may be lowered, or the medication may be discontinued. Generally, however, this medication is safe and well tolerated, even in the smallest of dogs.

Alprazolam may also be given to dogs to increase appetite, relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or spastic colon, and to treat depression. The veterinarian may be able to identify symptoms of canine depression or refer the dog to an animal behaviorist who can further evaluate the dog and recommend an appropriate course of treatment.

A licensed vet should be consulted before giving a dog any sort of medication.
A licensed vet should be consulted before giving a dog any sort of medication.

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Discussion Comments


Don't wait until a plane flight to test alprazolam on your dog. Test at home with a very small dose and observe her carefully. If no effect, try another slightly larger dose at least six hours later or the following day. Be aware that a meal just before dosing can affect the rate of absorption. Be consistent with these circumstances including time of day etc.

I've been on Xanax for over three years, but it is definitely not advisable to use it daily as it is addictive and the body most often develops a tolerance which then necessitates concurrent increases in dosage leading to the maximum dosage. At that point, you will have to taper down and change medications.


My four year old rescued Malti-poo has severe anxiety of fireworks, and thunderstorms. I took him to see his vet before the fireworks this year and his vet prescribed him Alprazolam .25/mg and it worked like magic within 10 minutes after administered. It is a life saving for this little boy.


Alprazolam (1/2 of a 0.25mg) was prescribed for our 9.5 pound dog (nine months old) to calm her down so her spay site could heal because she is a jumper and sprinter which caused her site to retain fluids and bulge.

It seems to have made even more hyper after a week on it even though the vet told us to up the dose to 1 1/2 tabs/day. As a result, we're going to taper down and take her off of it.


I just this afternoon gave two of our dogs Alprazolam for severe panic and anxiety fear of thunderstorms and firecrackers. 'Tis the season for both and we've had some pretty severe storms over the last week, more have just gone through with more coming tonight.

These are large dogs, 84 and 89 pounds, both young and healthy. I'm laughing as I write this. They are wobbling around looking a little drunk or high. I did read this could be a side effect.

If I were you, I would test her reaction prior to a flight, especially one so long! Watch her eyes, her coordination, etc. I could see a change in the eyes, a little glassy/sleepy looking. Has she flown before, is she in good health, and will you have access to her during the flight? Those would be biggies for me. In the future however, I will only be giving half the prescribed dosage for my guys, just to take the edge off. Your situation is a good bit different.


My seven year old dalmatian female is very scared and stressed lately, and unfortunately i have to take her on an 11 hour flight. My vet prescribed alprazolam two tablets twice a day up to four times a day. My question here, is it safe for traveling? My vet said the medicine should not make her sleep, but how can I know when it's taking effect on my dog? How should she react after taking the tablet? Thanks.

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