Amitriptyline for Dogs

Amitriptyline for Dogs

Siberian husky panting

Sometimes our pets can be a little more than we bargained for. From going to the bathroom in inappropriate places, constant chewing or even separation anxiety, all are problems we are just not prepared for in the least.

In most cases, these issues resolve themselves with time. However, with some more extreme cases, your dog will need a little more than time to help them adjust. If you’re still having these kinds of troubles you can talk to your vet about different options.

The vet may suggest Amitriptyline if your pet seems to be having behavioral or anxiety issues that are not improving with proper attention.

What is Amitriptyline and what is it for?

chihuahua standong on grassAmitriptyline is a prescription antidepressant that is generally given to dogs (and cats) to help improve the chances of positive changes in behavior and anxiety disorders.

For dogs, this often means behavioral issues such as excessive chewing on themselves or objects, separation anxiety or fear of loud noises and/or sudden movements. Though these are the most commonly treated conditions there are much more this medication may be used for.

It works by helping to balance the chemicals in your pet’s brain – just as antidepressants do for humans.

Amitriptyline is meant to aid in positive changes, meaning it will not be a miracle cure on its own – you will need to work with other behavior modifying techniques.

How Much Should I Give My Dog?

The first thing you need to know is that your vet is the only person who can prescribe and tell you how much of any drug to administer to your dog. This is for the safety of your dog and the vet’s instructions should be followed exactly.

When it comes to determining how much of an antidepressant medication like this one there are many factors to consider. However, the starting point for most dogs is 0.5-2mg per pound of the pet’s body weight.

This amount should be given every 8-12 hours or as directed. The amount and frequency are often based largely on the size of the dog and the severity of the condition. You should also check with your vet before increasing or decreasing your pet’s dosage.

You should also not stop this medication abruptly as it can have harmful side effects. The best way is to slowly take your dog off the medication with smaller and smaller doses each time.

How Can I Get My Dog to Take a Pill?

anatolian shepherd dog side profileOne of the most difficult parts about having to medicate a pet can be simply to get them to eat the medication in the first place. Many dogs are picky and will not happily swallow down a pill if you were to just give it to them.

There are a few different ways you can go about this. I personally find that the easiest thing to do is hide the pill in a rolled up piece of lunch meat or American cheese. My dogs were always happy to take that special human food treat when it was offered.

They only found the pill a couple times out of all the times I’ve done this. Each time a second slice of cheese was all it took. On the other hand, there are also treats designed just for this purpose.

It’s called a Pill Pocket and it’s a treat that is made with the intention of hiding medication. This disguises the pill as a tasty dog treat and most of the time dogs don’t question it. (Of course, there’s always that one who’s hard to fool!)

Should You Ask Your Vet About Amitriptyline?

In situations with behavior issues, it is often best to try behavior modifying techniques on their own before adding medication into the mix. While most dogs do just fine on the medication others may become ill or their moods may


If after a period of time your dog is not responding to behavioral training alone then you may want to consider talking to your vet about Amitriptyline. You will still need to be consistent about working with your pet, though the medication should help improvement significantly.

However, all medications come with a risk of dependency – which is why this medication should never be abruptly stopped – this is another reason you should attempt to go without prescription medications if at all possible.

Are There Any Side Effects?

boarder collie running down slideThough extremely rare, there are potential side effects when giving your dog Amitriptyline. This is true with all medications, there is always a small chance of adverse effects. Most of the time, symptoms are mild and go away within the first few days of being on the medication.

The most common side effects recorded include excessive sleeping, loss of appetite, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, dry mouth, abnormal heart rhythms and more. If symptoms persist more than 24-48 hours you should contact your vet.

There is also a small chance of an allergic reaction to this medication. An allergic reaction could be hives, swelling of the face or tongue or labored breathing. If your dog is having an allergic reaction discontinue use of this medication and get to a vet immediately!

Common FAQs about Amitriptyline

Is it FDA approved?

No, Amitriptyline is not FDA approved for use in dogs and cats. However, it is common veterinarian practice to prescribe this medication in situations that call for it.

Can my Pet Overdose?

Yes, Amitriptyline is a very dangerous medication when given too much. If you suspect an overdose you should contact your vet or an emergency vet right away.

Click Here to get your pet started on Amitriptyline today!


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