Amitriptyline Uses in Dogs

Amitriptyline uses in veterinary medicine are multiple even though the drug is not approved by the FDA as a veterinary formula. This medication is generally used to treat various illnesses in humans but if the drug is administered appropriately, it can also benefit dogs suffering from certain ailments. The drug is available in tablet form in varying potencies. Since it’s a prescription medication it can only be used under veterinary supervision.

What Does Amitriptyline Contain?

Amitriptyline contains a mixture of active and inactive ingredients. The primary active ingredient that’s present in this medication is Amitriptyline HCL. Some of the inactive ingredients that are present in all available potencies include colloidal silicone dioxide, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose and magnesium stearate amidst others. Higher potencies also contain additional ingredients. The medication should be administered exactly according to the vet’s instructions since it can cause adverse reactions if it’s wrongly used.

Uses of Amitriptyline:

  • Controls behavioral problems in dogs
  • Is effective for pets suffering from separation anxiety
  • Controls other anxiety disorders
  • Helps pets that are nervous or fearful

How Does the Medication Work?

Amitriptyline belongs to a class of drugs known as tricyclic antidepressants. Such medications alter certain chemical compositions in the brain and reduce anxiousness and other behavioral problems in pets. The tablets increase the level of serotonin that’s present in the pet’s brain and helps him to deal with separation anxiety or other nervous disorders.

Dosage and Administration

The dosage for each pet varies according to the type of disorder he’s suffering from. As a general guideline dogs require 0.5 to 2 mg of the medication per pound of body weight. The medication has to be administered orally every 12 hours or once a day, depending on the severity of the dog’s illness.

The medication is generally prescribed as a course and shouldn’t be suddenly discontinued. You should also follow the instructions listed on the package or contact the vet when in doubt. Overdose is dangerous and can cause severe side effects. You should monitor your pet after you administer the drug and seek medical help if any adverse reactions develop.

 Side Effects of Amitriptyline Include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dryness of the mouth and eyes
  • Nausea
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Constipation

What to Watch For

Apart from the symptoms mentioned above, your pet could suffer from certain side effects that warrant immediate medical help. These symptoms are usually indicative of an overdose. Some such symptoms include allergic reactions, arrhythmia, increase in blood pressure, inability to urinate normally and stiffness of the muscles.


Since the medication is a trycyclic antidepressant it may not be ideal for use along with other depression medications or monoamine oxidase inhibitors. You should therefore inform your vet about all medications (both prescription and over the counter drugs) that the pet is taking.

While the pet is being administered amitriptyline, you must make sure he drinks plenty of fresh water. Although you may not see instant results, the medication will act on your pet and the symptoms will subside within a few days.