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Health & Wellness

If your dog has anxiety, ask your veterinarian about acepromazine

Ask your vet about acepromazine for motion sickness, too.

Planning a road trip with your dog means packing their travel essentials, picking out fun stops for bathroom breaks and getting the camera ready for photo ops. But, if your pup struggles with anxiety or motion sickness while traveling, talking to your veterinarian about ways to make them comfortable is also high on your prep list. 

That’s where acepromazine may be able to help. Read on to learn more about why you should ask your veterinarian about this medication. 

What’s acepromazine for dogs?

Acepromazine is a tranquilizer commonly used to treat pets’ anxiety or motion sickness and before administering general anesthesia, Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch’s on-staff veterinarian, says. 

If your veterinarian prescribes your pup acepromazine, it’ll come as a tablet you can serve inside a treat. However, acepromazine given before surgery is administered as an injection. 

No matter what form of acepromazine is given to your dog, Dr. McCullough says that the effects usually last between 6 and 8 hours. 

Side effects of acepromazine in dogs

Acepromazine might cause mild, non-harmful side effects, like the elevation of dogs’ third eyelids and pink to reddish-brown urine, Dr. McCullough says. In rarer cases, some dogs might become aggressive. 

If your dog is a herding breed, like a border collie, you’ll want to ask your veterinarian about testing them for the MDR-1 gene mutation, which may make your pet more sensitive to the effects of acepromazine. 

Genetics might cause certain dog breeds like whippets, Greyhounds, Salukis and Wolfhounds to be more sensitive to acepromazine’s side effects, too. These pups don’t have the MDR-1 gene mutation, so they’re unable to participate in testing. However, Dr. McCullough says acepromazine is commonly prescribed to these dogs without any issues. 

Stop giving your pup acepromazine and contact your veterinarian if you think they have an allergic reaction.

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Is acepromazine safe for dogs?

If your vet recommends acepromazine for your pup, they’ll likely be OK while taking it. However, you’ll want to talk to your veterinarian about how your dog’s current conditions could negatively interact with the medication before administering it to them. 

Dogs with liver disease shouldn’t take acepromazine because the liver removes it from the body and if the liver is weak, the side effects could be prolonged, Dr. McCullough says. 

Acepromazine also changes dogs’ blood pressure, so it shouldn’t be prescribed to dogs with reduced blood circulation, like dehydration, injuries, shock or anemia, she adds. 

How long do dogs usually take acepromazine for? 

Depending on what acepromazine is treating, your dog might take it just once (like before surgery) or more often if they have anxiety or are struggling with motion sickness. Your veterinarian can explain your pup's proper dosage amount and serving schedule.

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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