Dogs on Xanax…is it a Good Idea?

Xanax has been used (and misused) a lot by us humans due to the dose of satisfaction that it provides. So, this got me thinking: is it a good idea to have dogs on Xanax?

In this article, we'll be covering all the aspects of using Xanax for a dog. In our quest to understand Xanax and its uses in our canine buddies, we'll discuss its proper dosage, uses, side effects, cost, its interactions with other drugs, the addiction factor, ingredients, and alternatives.

What is Xanax?

Xanax is the trade name for alprazolam which is a short-acting drug sedative. Like all sedatives, Xanax is routinely used for treating anxiety and euphoria and is also misused recreationally.

Regardless, it’s a wondrous drug that can provide your dog relief from panic attacks and eventually, to you too. Prices may alter from place to place but on average, a 30 ml oral concentration may start from $86 while oral tablets range from $10-$233.

Dog on Xanax

When Should You Give Xanax to Your Dog?

A dog is a lovely creature and a man's best friend. But there are some instances when your dog isn’t at his best.

If you see the following signs and symptoms in your dog, then you should consult your vet on whether you should give Xanax to your pooch:

  • Aggression
  • Frequent urination in the house
  • Depression
  • Destructive behavior
  • Panting
  • Drooling
  • Pacing
  • Excessive barking

Uses of Xanax for Dogs

Xanax has a fair amount of uses that dogs can benefit from. Following are the uses of Xanax for dogs:

1. Treating anxiety

If your dog has severe anxiety issues, you should certainly take him to the vet. The veterinarian may prescribe Xanax (alprazolam) to provide some relief to your dog from the hectic day he has been through.

Xanax acts as an anti-anxiolytic drug, meaning that it induces calmness for your dog. It is sometimes given in combination with anti-depressants to relieve stress.

2. Sleep onset

Xanax can promote sleep onset and increase the duration of the sleep state. It is an important drug used in dogs that are going through primary insomnia/sleeplessness and for the management of a host of other sleep disorders.

Xanax is quite helpful and some people use it regularly for their dogs so the latter can sleep well and maintain their health. Lower doses should be administered to dogs who are old because of the drug’s depressing effect on the nervous system.

3. Muscle relaxant

For dogs that need to be paid a tribute for a long and tiring day at the fence, Xanax can be used as a muscle relaxant. It provides a soothing effect to the muscles that calms him down and leads to quiet and peaceful sleep.

4. Seizure suppression

Xanax is an essential drug for seizure suppression. So, many vets prescribe alprazolam to dogs that have a history of seizures.

Xanax is routinely used for treating anxiety

Precautions for Dogs on Xanax

The following are some precautions you should keep in mind while using Xanax for your dog.

  • Alprazolam or any other sedative-hypnotic is not recommended for breathing-related sleep disorders. For example, a dog suffering from sleep apnea can not be prescribed alprazolam. In this condition, your vet would substitute Xanax with some other drug.
  • You should store Xanax at 25 degrees Centigrade.
  • Do not expose this drug to direct sunlight.
  • Dogs who have liver or kidney problems should not be given Xanax as it can have prolonged effects on these organs.
  • When administering alprazolam for the first time to a dog, do not leave him unattended or unsupervised to ensure that the drug is well-tolerated by him.
  • Xanax should not be used for a pregnant female dog.
  • Mothers that feed their young should avoid this drug as it can cross into the milk and produce sedating effects in the baby.

Recommended Dosage of Xanax for Dogs

Xanax is in stock in 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg, and 3 mg tablets. The actual dosage always depends on the age and weight of your dog, as well as the diagnosis and severity of its condition.

Keeping in mind the side effects of this drug, the final dosage for your dog should only be prescribed by a vet. However, here are some examples of what a Xanax dosage for dogs looks like:

  • For an anxious medium-sized dog, the recommended dose is 0.005-0.045 mg/lb twice daily.
  • For separation anxiety, an oral dose of 0.12-0.9 mg/lb thrice a day is recommended.
  • If insomnia is suspected, then administer 0.005-0.045 mg/lb every 4 hours.

The dose should be given at least half an hour before you expect anxiety or a panic attack. It generally produces its maximum effect within 1 or 2 hours.

Dog overdosed with xanax


An overdose of Xanax can most likely cause kidney or liver failure. With a regular, high dosage of Xanax, your dog can also become tolerant to it. In such a case, you’ll see a decrease in the responsiveness of your dog.

Additionally, your dog can also become dependent on the drug, making it harder for him to survive without it.

Side effects of Xanax for Dogs

Adverse side effects that come with alprazolam are indigestion, loss of memory, a halt in reproduction and disturbed sleep cycles.

It is worth mentioning that you should use Xanax as the last option of treatment after exploring all other methods. A licensed vet should prescribe this drug and you should refrain from using it for recreation.

Xanax Addiction in Dogs

When Xanax is administered for a long enough time, your dog can become addicted and tolerable to the drug. In such a case, the drug would not affect your pooch until the dose is increased.

This conversely may harm your dog’s health. Xanax withdrawal signs in dogs may include anxiety, tremors, hyperreflexia, and seizures. It may also cause day time sedation, which I’m sure, you and your dog won’t appreciate.

Xanax Alternatives

Since Xanax has documented side effects and can harm your canine mate if used for an extended period, you can also go with the following natural substitute to treat your dog’s ailment.


CBD oil is a cannabinoid (trade name Sativex) that can be used as an alternative for treating anxiety in dogs. This oil has proved to be very valuable in the medicinal world as it can manage several other diseases. You should prefer using this natural oil as it can effectively treat anxiety.

However, there is no scientific data as to what effect CBD oil produces to treat dog anxiety and it is not well regulated either if you compare it to Xanax.

My verdict

Xanax is routinely used for treating anxiety in dogs. Still, it should be refrained from using excessively because although it is a drug of wonders, it surely harms your dog’s body as well.

To keep your dog healthy and friendly, never try Xanax without a vet’s prescription. After all, dogs on Xanax aren’t much of a pretty sight.



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