Buspirone for Dogs

Buspirone is an anti-anxiety drug designed for humans to replace drugs like diazepam, which were used as anxiety relievers, having a tranquilizing effect. Buspirone has become more popular with veterinarians that use it to relieve pet anxiety, instead of tranquillizers that only have a temporary effect, have unpleasant side-effects and can be addictive. Buspirone causes minimum muscle relaxation and minimal sedation. In dogs, it is used to soothe restlessness and anxiety, in cats it has proven effective in eliminating urine marking and the pariah-cat syndrome.

The Uses of Buspirone in Dogs

Buspirone is used in veterinary medicine to treat anxiety, abnormal behavior and phobias (fear of people in uniform, fear of thunder or other loud noises) in cats and dogs. 

Buspirone can also help dogs who are marginalized by the group of pets, relieving anxiety without leading to aggressive behavior.

The Side Effects and Precautions of Buspirone in Dogs

In humans Buspirone has side effects such as drowsiness, headache, nausea, appetite loss, restlessness. The side effects in dogs are more commonly met when the dog receives these drugs for a longer period of time. Watch out for side effects such as:

  • Agitation
  • Increased assertiveness or aggression
  • The dog becomes more friendly and playful
  • Buspirone can have aggravating effect on the liver and kidney of dogs that already have some condition involving these organs
  • In working dogs, Buspirone can affect their performance

Should your pet show any side effects or change behavior, you need to contact your veterinarian.

Buspirone is not approved for veterinarian use, so it will be prescribed as an extra-label drug. The human formulation is BuSpar and there is no special formulation for dogs.

Buspirone may interact with other drugs, so be sure to tell your veterinarian about all drugs and supplements the dog is taking.

Buspirone should always be stored in cool and dry places. Storing it a kitchen cabinet or bathroom and thus exposing it to moisture or heat can alter the composition of the medicine and make it inefficient.

Buspirone shouldn’t be administered during pregnancy and nursing.

Giving Buspirone to Dogs

Buspirone shouldn't be administered unless prescribed by the vet. Make sure to measure doses carefully.

Buspirone needs to be taken for several weeks before becoming effective. Its effect can last up to 2 months after administration has stopped.

The duration and dosage of Buspirone will be recommended by your veterinarian. Even if positive effects are showing, you should never interrupt the treatment before consulting the veterinarian. Not following the exact duration recommendations can cause relapses or resistance to the drug.

Establish an administering schedule and stick to it as much as possible. The medicine should be given to the dog at about the same hour every day, so choose a time when you are sure you’re at home.

Should you miss giving one dose, you should administer it as soon as possible. If the time for the next dose has already arrived, do not give a double dose at a time, this can prove dangerous for your pet.