Amitriptyline For Dogs: Uses, Dosage, And Side Effects

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Amitriptyline, also known by the brand name Elavil, is a tricyclic antidepressant drug used to treat conditions in dogs such as anxiety, behavioral disorders, and other problems. The drug works by increasing the amount of serotonin and norepinephrine in dogs’ brains by blocking reuptake of these neurotransmitters. When used to curb anxious behaviors, amitriptyline is often combined with behavioral modification programs for dogs that need them. Amitriptyline also works as a pain reliever for certain conditions. You should ask your veterinarian about the proper dosage and possible side effects before you use this drug to treat your dog. Here is what you should know about the uses, dosage, and side effects of amitriptyline in dogs.

Uses Of Amitriptyline In Dogs

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Amitriptyline can be used in dogs to treat a variety of anxious behaviors, as well as certain kinds of pain. Here are some common conditions in dogs that amitriptyline might be prescribed to treat.

When used to treat anxious behaviors, amitriptyline should be combined with behavior modification until a dog can control unwanted behaviors without the need for medication. The dog should be weaned from amitriptyline when it is no longer necessary.

Dosage Of Amitriptyline For Dogs

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The usual initial dosage of amitriptyline in dogs is 0.5 to 2 mg per pound, which should be given every 8 to 12 hours. While the drug is not FDA approved for use in animals, it can be given by a veterinarian safely. Symptoms may not clear up immediately, and it may take several days or even weeks for visible results. Your veterinarian can increase or decrease the dosage depending on your dog’s response to the drug.

Follow your veterinarians instructions for use, and do not suddenly stop giving your dog amitriptyline, as this can result in symptoms of withdrawal that include nausea, headache and malaise. Try to give your dog the medication at the same time every day and make sure they have plenty of water.

Side Effects Of Amitriptyline In Dogs

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Amitriptyline can have some side effects in dogs that you should look out for. If they become severe, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. Your vet can adjust the dosage to try and minimize symptoms. Here are some common side effects of amitriptyline in dogs.

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Thirst
  • Panting
  • Dry eyes
  • Decreased urination
  • Upset stomach
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Excitability
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Behavioral changes
  • Muscle weakness or stiffness
  • Seizures in epileptic dogs

Amitriptyline may react poorly with other medications, including pain killers, other anti-depressants, sedatives, muscle relaxants, and antihistamines. Dogs that have liver or heart problems, diabetes, or seizure disorders shouldn’t take amitriptyline. Pregnant dogs should also avoid this drug. Make sure your veterinarian is aware of any medications your dog takes or other medical conditions your dog has before giving your dog amitriptyline.

Has your dog ever taken amitriptyline? Did it work for your pup? Let us know in the comments below!