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Potential Dangers of Using 5-HTP For Your Dog

The ASPCA Poison Control Centers issue a warning about using 5-HTP supplements.


5-hydroxytryptophan, also known as 5-HTP, is a supplement often used for treating anxiety and depression and sleep disorders. Because 5-HTP can be easily purchased over the counter and is considered by many to be a "natural solution," it's important to be aware of the possible dangers of giving it to your dog.

The ASPCA Poison Control Center relates a list of some of the symptoms they have experienced from calls from owners who have given their pets 5-HTP. These include:

  • lethargy
  • depression
  • ataxia
  • disorientation
  • agitation
  • tremors and/or seizures
  • muscle stiffness or rigidity
  • tachycardia
  • hypertension
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

The center also reports that a dog can become toxic after just 15 minutes from the time of eating 5-HTP so noticing symptoms immediately is very important. If caught in time, a veterinarian can treat 5-HTP toxicity with charcoal or gastric lavage.

Another concern is the addition of ingredients into 5-HTP supplements that may be toxic, such as xylitol. Xylitol can help in dissolving the supplement faster, but it's highly toxic to dogs and owners may not be aware it's an additional ingredient. Likewise, if you take 5-HTP for yourself alone, make sure you're vigilant in keeping it safely locked away from your dogs, particularly if it contains xylitol as well.

For more information on poison awareness and pets, the ASPCA poison control website can be found at http://aspcapro.org/poison-control. And of course, always consult with your veterinarian when providing supplements for your pet's care.

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