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Can I Give My Dog Xanax To Cut His Nails?

Can I Give My Dog Xanax To Cut His Nails?

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Part of taking care of your dog includes trimming his nails.

When they grow too long, the nails run the risk of being caught in something and tearing apart.

They are also downright uncomfortable for your pup to walk or run.

 If you are one of the unlucky few, your sweet doggie doesn’t mind having her nails trimmed.

However, for the majority of us, our pups loathe the idea to the core.

The minute they notice they are about to be groomed, they will put up a fight that ends up with you being frustrated, sad, and physically hurt.

To make the process simpler, some pet parents opt for calming agents or sedatives to get their dogs relaxed before the exercise.

One of the popular products for calming an anxious dog is Xanax.

If you are desperate for something to make the exercise comfortable for both you and the dog, Xanax is worth your consideration.

But does it work? Most importantly, is it safe for your dog?

What is Xanax?

Xanax is simply the brand name for the common drug known as alprazolam (a benzodiazepine).

Humans often use it to calm down in anxious times. It has the same calming effects for dogs as well.

It enhances the effects of GABA- a natural neurotransmitter found in the body.

The chemical slows down impulses between brain cells thereby creating a calmer outcome.

 Xanax is used to treat panic, PTSD, separation anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, muscle stress, grief-related depression, and general anxiety.

Is It Safe to Give Your Dog Xanax to Cut His Nails?

If your dog cannot stand having his nails trimmed, Xanax might help him greatly.

The drug is safe or unsafe depending on how it is utilized.

Typically, Alprazolam tranquilizers are categorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as “controlled substances”.

The effect depends on abuse potential. What this means is that the dosage makes all the difference.

If you get your dosage right, you can use the drug without harming your pet.

 The opposite is also true. The wrong dosage can be risky for him.

It can cause the following issues according to VCA Hospitals:

  • Diarrhea, gas, and vomiting: Stomach upsets are common symptoms of high Xanax dosage in canines. It can cause one or all three symptoms over some time.
  • Uncoordinated Walking: As a mild tranquilizer, Xanax has the potential to impair your dog’s motor functions. It may target specific muscle groups responsible for walking thereby causing uncoordinated movement.
  • Increased Appetite: By dealing with anxiety, Xanax can cause some dogs to crave food more than they did before.
  • Aggression and agitation: Although rare, Xanax has the opposite effects on some pups. Rather than calming them, it may actually make matters worse by triggering aggression and agitation.
  • Addiction: Prolonged use of Xanax can cause overdependence. Consider swapping the tranquilizer for other natural calming agents during your dog trimming sessions. Contact your vet to recommend other methods that will not trigger addiction.

But Every Dog Is Different…

We have already highlighted that Xanax is safe for your pooch if you get it right dosage-wise.

Another important thing to remember when you opt to use Xanax to calm your pups is that every dog is different and commands different dosage levels, so don’t give yours the same dosage as your neighbor’s pooch.

For instance, a Chihuahua’s Xanax dosage can never be equal to that of a Great Dane.

Simply get your vet’s recommendation on the right dosage just to be safe.

Additionally, dogs with specific risk factors should not be given Xanax. These include those with an allergy to Alprazolam or those who develop an opposite reaction to the drug.

Finally, Xanax should be used with caution around dogs with kidney disease or glaucoma, or pregnant/nursing canines.

Xanax Alternatives

What else can you give your dog to calm him down to cut his nails?

Well, besides Xanax, there are many other ways you can use to sedate your Fido for nail trimming.

Since Xanax is a prescription medication, let’s start with alternative prescription medications:

  • Valium
  • Trazodone
  • Acepromazine
  • Gabapentin


  • Benadryl: This mild antihistamine can also help you calm your nervous dog when you are about to trim his nails.
  • Melatonin: Mostly used to treat overactivity in animals, it can also come in handy when you want to ease your pup’s nervousness.
  • Herbs: Chamomile, valerian, rosemary, California poppy, ashwagandha, and hemp extra have all been proven to be effective against nervousness, restlessness, and anxiety in dogs. But avoid using them on lactating dogs or puppies less than 2 months old.
  • Aromatherapy: You can also use appropriate essential oil (like lavender) to massage your dog to calm him down when you are about to clip his nails.

Beware of toxic oils though. This post can help: Which Essential Oils are Toxic to Dogs?

  • Exercise: Finally, tiring your dog with exercise can also go a long way in keeping him calm enough to cut his nails.  

Parting Thoughts

Trimming a dog’s nail is a dreadful experience for most pet parents.

Keeping him calm enough to go through even a single nail, let alone all of them can seem impossible.

If you need something to calm your pooch, you can turn to Xanax.

Just be sure you administer the correct dosage for the dog and watch out for any side effects.