Can Dogs Take Sleeping Pills?

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Discuss sleep aids for your dog with your vet.
Discuss sleep aids for your dog with your vet. (Image: Pixelistanbul/iStock/Getty Images)

No matter whether it was an accident or on purpose, if your dog ingested sleeping pills, you should call the vet. If your dog is older and struggling with sleep, or if you're preparing for a trip and would like to sedate your dog, there are options available to help your dog relax and sleep. Your vet can prescribe or recommend a safe sleep remedy for your dog.

Problems with People Pills

The American Veterinary Medical Association lists three potentially dangerous human sleep aids in the article 10 "Poison Pills" for Pets. Clonazepam, zolpidem and alprazolam are used by people for a variety of reasons, including as sleep aids. A dog who eats these pills may experience sleepiness and an unsteady gait. Often, however, pets have a different reaction to human sedatives, becoming highly agitated with an elevated heart rate. Large doses of alprazolam and clonazepam can lead to weakness and collapse.

Helping Your Dog Sleep

Sometimes a dog needs help sleeping, particularly if he's older and experiencing nighttime waking episodes. On the Veterinary Partner website, Dr. Theresa DePorter notes melatonin may be helpful, under a veterinarian's guidance, of course. Some human medications can help a dog sleep, however, they must be administered only as directed by a vet, as the administration can be tricky; the right dose for your dog's weight and medical condition must be considered, as well as the proper timing. Always discuss your choice with your vet to ensure any medication your dog takes won't complicate his current medical condition or react with other medications.

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