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Buspirone is an anti-anxiety medication that treats a range of fears, phobias, and anxious behaviors in dogs. Also commonly known by the brand name BuSpar, buspirone is a prescription drug that can take up to a few weeks to reach full effectiveness.

If buspirone has been prescribed for your pet, or if you’re looking for ways to help reduce your dog’s anxiety, keep reading for more information on its uses, efficacy, and side effects.

Dosage

Buspirone is available in tablet form, with dosage strengths ranging from 5 mg to 30 mg. The dosage amount of buspirone varies on the size of the dog and the condition. However, the typical dose ranges anywhere from 2.5 mg to 15 mg 2 to 3 times a day. Make sure to follow your veterinarian’s dosage instructions when giving buspirone to your dog.

Dosage instructions

Buspirone for dogs is a prescription medication and should only be given on the advice of a veterinarian. It can be given with or without food, and is sometimes combined with other sedatives or tranquilizing drugs.

The duration of treatment with buspirone varies depending on the condition and how the pet responds to the medication. However, single doses are unlikely to be effective, as buspirone may take a few weeks to achieve its full effects. 

Stick to the dosage schedule recommended by your veterinarian. Your vet may also adjust the dosage level based on your pet’s response to buspirone.

Efficacy

Buspirone was first developed as an anti-anxiety medication for use in humans. It was designed to replace drugs like diazepam and can help manage anxiety with minimal sedation and muscle relaxation, plus no risk of addiction.

Buspirone for dogs most commonly treats mild, generalized fear and anxiety. It helps reduce anxious and abnormal behavior in dogs who suffer from fears and phobias, such as thunderstorm phobia or fear of loud noises. 

While researchers don’t fully understand how buspirone for dogs works, it binds to serotonin receptors in the brain. Buspirone also increases prolactin, a hormone that enables socialization, and can help manage adaptation-related problems.

However, while studies show that buspirone is effective at treating urine spraying in cats, it doesn’t seem to be any more effective than benzodiazepines at controlling anxiety-related behaviors. It also has a delayed onset period of between 7 and 30 days, so it’s not recommended for cases of acute anxiety.

Finally, because buspirone has been anecdotally linked to the disinhibition of aggression, it may be better suited to treating anxiety in pets with no history of aggression towards humans or other dogs.

Side effects

The side effects of buspirone for dogs are generally quite rare. However, they can include:

Seek veterinary attention if you’re concerned about the effect buspirone is having on your dog.

Considerations

Be sure to discuss your dog’s full medical history and regular medications, including over-the-counter supplements, with your vet. Buspirone for dogs may produce adverse reactions in some pets. It can also interact with other medications your dog is taking, including ingredients in some flea and tick collars. Additionally, it may not be suitable for pets with underlying health issues. 

Drug interactions

Buspirone for dogs may interact with some other drugs, such as:

  • Antibiotics (such as erythromycin)

  • Antifungals (such as ketoconazole and itraconazole)

  • Antacids (such as cimetidine)

  • Appetite stimulants (such as mirtazapine)

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (such as L-Deprenyl)

  • Flea and tick preventatives (such as amitraz)

  • Heart medications (such as diltiazem)

This is not a complete list of drugs buspirone may interact with. Consult your veterinarian to find out whether it’s safe for your dog to be given buspirone along with their current medication.

Allergic reactions and sensitivity

Never give buspirone to dogs who are allergic to it. Exercise caution when giving buspirone to dogs who:

Frequently asked questions

How should I store buspirone?

Store buspirone at room temperature in a sealed container away from direct sunlight.

What happens if I miss a dose?

If you’ve missed a dose, give your dog their next tablet at the regular scheduled time. Never give a double dose of medication to your pet.

What should I do if my pet has an adverse reaction to buspirone or overdoses?

Seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.

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