Xanax is a prescription medication used to help alleviate behavioral problems in kitties such as aggression, anxiety and fear. If your furry friend seems to be experiencing such issues, consult with your vet to see if a medication like Xanax might help him feel relaxed and more like himself.
What is It?
Xanax is a type of depressant medication known as a benzodiazepine. The active ingredient in Xanax is alprazolam, which has a tranquilizing effect on your kitty. While some types of behavioral medications take a few weeks or months of use to show any results in your furry friend, Xanax produces results almost immediately. The medication works within a few hours by altering the chemical activity in your little one's brain that affects his reactions to stressful or scary situations, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It's a controlled substance and requires a prescription by a veterinarian licensed by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.
Use in Kitties
Drugs like Xanax are used to treat generally stressed-out kitties who are exhibiting their anxiety by eliminating outside of the litter box or spraying their urine around your home. Xanax can also help those who have issues with separation anxiety, phobias or aggressive behavior toward people or other pets, according to PetPlace. In some cases, your vet might prescribe Xanax to increase your kitty's appetite, treat seizures or help with irritable bowel syndrome. While Xanax is approved for use in people by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it is used by veterinarians as an extra-label drug in felines. Extra-label drugs don't state on the label that they are approved for use in kitties but can still be prescribed by veterinarians for pets.
When used in small doses, Xanax has a calming effect on your kitty and can even make him a bit sleepy. Larger doses can actually have the opposite effect on your already feisty feline, increasing his anxiety and causing some insomnia for him. Work with your vet to determine the correct dosage for the desired effect. Ideally, the medication should stop your furry friend's undesirable behavior and keep him calm in short-term stressful situations, like trips to the vet or thunderstorms. Typically Xanax and other benzodiazepines are not used to treat long-term behavioral problems, which other types of medications can be used to alleviate, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
Consult with your vet regarding the usage of Xanax in your kitty. This medication is processed by your kitty's liver and expelled through his kidneys, so your vet should check your furry buddy's kidney function and liver enzymes before and after using this medication, according to Veterinary Partner. Xanax shouldn't be given to pregnant or nursing mother kitties and may make your furry friend very sleepy or unsteady on his feet. Used long-term, it's an addictive medication that your kitty will become dependent on and must be weaned off slowly. If your kitty is on any other medications or suffers from a chronic condition, ask your vet if Xanax is safe for him to take. Xanax does interact badly with certain other medications like some antacids, heart medication, antibiotics or anti-fungal drugs.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- PetPlace: Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Veterinary Partner: Alprazolam (Xanax)
- The Washington Post: Traveling With Pets
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Behavioral Medications for Cats
- The Animal Behavior Network: Guidelines for Behavioral Drug Therapy
- United States Drug Enforcement Administration: Drug Fact Sheet -- Benzodiazepines
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.