Valium is a brand name for the sedative Diazepam intended for humans. Since most human meds are okay for dogs, can you give a dog Valium as well? You might come across this drug while looking for a tranquilizer for your pet to calm him down before a grooming session.
But more than this, it serves as a muscle relaxant for canines during disturbing situations for them. Diazepam can also be used for treating more serious conditions such as epilepsy and seizures. Keep reading for more information on its efficacy and safe dispensation.
How Does Valium Work in Canines?
Valium works in canines just like it works in humans. It is a sedative known for its hypnotic and muscle relaxing properties. There are many drugs under the benzodiazepine class and Valium happens to be just one of them. As a benzodiazepine drug, Valium acts by slowing the activity in the brain to reduce a dog’s level of anxiety.
Aside from its anxiety-relieving effect, Valium can also provide sedation before medical procedures. Sometimes, pet owners also use it before grooming their pets. In the event that behavior modification did not work for your pet, you may consider sedation as an option.
Is Valium Safe For Dogs?
Yes, this kind of drug has a high margin of safety for dogs provided it is given in the appropriate dosage. Still, it should be administered under the guidance of a veterinarian because it is quite potent for dogs.
When your dog is nervous about something, consider natural treatments first before resorting to a powerful medication like Valium. In most cases, phobias and anxieties can be treated using strategic conditioning and training.
Consult a holistic vet regarding Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP), relaxing massage, and herbal supplements. Physical activities can help because they prompt the release of the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. Like us, dogs can become more prone to depression and anxiety when they have low levels of this chemical.
Side Effects of Valium
The most common side effect of this drug is putting a dog in a relaxed state. However, the side effect may not always be pleasing. Below are the not-so-pleasant side effects of Valium:
- Abdominal problems
- Irregular heartbeat
Dogs react in different ways to certain medications. The outcome will differ from dog to dog so better keep an eye on them as soon as you give them the first dose of Valium.
Other Uses of Valium for Canines
Besides helping your dog relax during disturbing situations such as fireworks and storms, Valium can also be used as the following:
- As a relaxant for anxiety – Like humans, canines also go through some degree of anxiety because they feel certain emotions too. For instance, separation anxiety can cause negative behaviors including unrestrained barking, whining, and damaging your things at home. Depending on the extent of your pet’s anxiety, vets could prescribe Valium as a muscle-relaxant during emotionally straining situations.
- As an appetite stimulant – cats are usually the ones who take Diazepam as appetite stimulant although it can also be given to canines for inappetence. However, you have to find out the real cause of your pet’s loss of appetite before giving any stimulant medication. Consult your vet first if you are thinking of giving it to your dog.
- As an anti-seizure medicine for canines with Status Epilepticus – this life-threatening neurological disorder causes excessive seizures in canines. The worst part is that these uncontrolled shakings can be recurring and hard to manage. Your vet may recommend a tranquilizer like Valium.
How To Administer Valium to Dogs
The most common way of dispensing Valium is by giving it orally. Infrequently, it can be administered to dogs through their rectum. Rectal Diazepam is used for the emergency management of seizures in dogs.
Valium Dosage for Dogs
The dosage varies depending on the weight of the dog as well as the reason it is used for. The recommended dosage for canines is 0.25 mg for every pound of body weight. Diazepam takes about an hour to start working so give it before a stressful event.
For example, if you are about to travel and your dog is quite anxious about it, you may give him the medicine about an hour before taking the ride. Or, if you are going to a place where there is a fireworks show, administer the medication an hour before going out.
Important Reminders for Dog Owners
Avoid giving this medication to an expecting or nursing dogs. Because Diazepam has a strong and fast binding, it can quickly reach the fetal circulation and overdose the unborn puppy.
Don’t give Valium if your pet is currently taking other medications. It may conflict with the other drugs and cause unwanted side effects.
The Seattle Veterinary Specialists also suggested a careful usage of Valium if your pet has a liver condition. Canines with liver and kidney problems should not take Diazepam.
Are There Safer Alternatives to Valium?
Fortunately, there are natural and conventional alternatives to Valium. If you want to calm your pet without resorting to Diazepam, you may try these sedatives:
Chamomile – this aromatic plant is totally safe for dogs both as an oral and as a topical remedy. Chamomile actually has many uses for dogs but it is best known for its calming effect. Your dog can benefit from its anti-spasmodic and muscle-relaxing properties. To relieve a dog’s anxiety, add two tablespoons of chamomile tea in your dog’s drinking water.
Valerian herb – the root of the Valerian herb is popular for its sedative properties. You can add the herb to your pet’s food. The recommended amount of powdered Valerian for dogs is 4 mg per pound of body weight. However, Valerian is only recommended for short-term use.
Skullcap – a member of the mint family, this perennial plant is often used as a natural remedy for epileptic dogs. Skullcap is best known for its ability to relieve tension. It can be combined with CBD oil and oats in your pet’s meal.
California Poppy – this herb can reduce your dog’s stress due to the heroin that it produces. Heroin is a relaxing substance that can help your pet calm down especially during a tensed situation. You may use around 10 drops of California Poppy as a tincture.
Oat Seeds – oats are not only good for the digestive system, they can also calm the nervous system which leads to lesser chances of depression and stress. To make an oat tea for Fido, just steep a tablespoon of organic oats in a cup of hot water. Allow it to steep for only 20 minutes and make sure it has cooled before giving to your dog.
Wood betony – this herb is not as popular as the ones mentioned above, but it is effective in treating anxiety in canines. It works by opening up the constricted blood vessels to improve the circulation to the dog’s nervous system. Just add about 2 tablespoons of the dried herb into a cup.
While these herbal remedies are safe for dogs, we still recommend that you consult a holistic veterinarian. Your vet could suggest further alternatives to Diazepam.
Valium is safe for canines but do check with a veterinarian before administering it. All kinds of medications, regardless if they are prescribed or can be bought over-the-counter, should be given under a vet’s supervision. As much as possible, don’t let your pet become dependent on sedatives. If there is a way to address your pet’s anxiety without using Valium, then please do so.