Each time you take your dog for grooming, it can be exhausting. Sometimes to the point, that you may want to give your dog some kind of sedative. Sometimes our furry friends can “act up” and develop an intense fear of going to the groomer. This can make it very difficult for a groomer to work.
During these times, the use of a dog tranquilizer may cross your mind. The use of dog tranquilizer pills should only be administered by a doctor. Besides, you should use dog sedatives as a last resort for elective procedures.
Here is a few Dog Tranquilizers your local Vet may administer in the hardest of cases:
- Acepromazine – Most Common, taken orally or through injection
- Benadryl – An over-the-counter antihistamine
- Trazodone – Is an Anti-depressant and is very powerful
- General Anesthesia – isoflurane and sevoflurane are the most common
- Melatonin – More of a calming agent then a dog sedative
- Gabapentin – Used typically in pre-hospital sedation
Sometimes our furry friends find it impossible to behave during a much-needed grooming session. Often times, grooming may be a medical emergency issue and needs to be done prior to a medical procedure. In worst-case scenarios, sedatives may be given to your dog to ease their anxiety and also to eliminate the risk of defensive biting.
If you have already tried several options and find that your dog will unquestionably need dog sedative (esp. during grooming), you will need to see your veterinarian. Always consult your local vet before giving your dog any type of calming aid, especially a powerful dog sedative.
To avoid stress on your dog, many people turn to dog tranquilizer pills as a dog sedative. It isn’t recommended to sedate a dog with dog tranquilizer pills unless you’re a veterinarian.
Some natural pet sedatives might work, and some over-the-counter medications such as Benadryl might be used under supervision. Here’s what we found out for you below:
Acepromazine is the most commonly used dog sedatives an is taken orally or through injection. It works by obstructing dopamine receptors found in the brain. The dopamine receptors are responsible for sending signals between nerve cells that play an essential role in controlling body movements and emotional responses. The blocking of these receptors weakens certain brain functions. As a result, it reduces anxiety, relaxes the central nervous system, and decreases blood pressure and heart rate.
Acepromazine is a highly potent drug that may come with a higher chance of side effects. It may cause a paradoxical reaction, a drug reaction that produces the opposite of what it is designed to do. Instead of reducing anxiety and make your dog calm, it may make your dog hyperactive and aggressive.
Furthermore, it may produce inconsistent effects. It may be useful for some dogs, but some may not feel sedated at all. The onset and duration may also be erratic and hard to calculate.
This drug is generally utilized in veterinary practices. It is a light drug that is often a drug of choice by many veterinarians. Benadryl is given to dogs orally, mixed with their food or some kind of treat.
Benadryl is also called Diphenhydramine. It is an over-the-counter antihistamine that is prescribed mainly for treating allergies and motion sickness. It works by blocking the histamine receptors of the body. These are responsible for regulating physiological function and producing body reactions such as inflammatory response and allergic reactions as part of the immune responses.
Benadryl may also be prescribed for treating anxiety. It can act as a mild tranquilizer for dogs and can produce drowsy or sleepy effects. This property of Benadryl makes it useful as a dog sedative. However, in some cases, since its effects are not that potent, the anxiety may not completely go away.
Furthermore, even though Benadryl is considered safe, it can also produce side-effects. This may include:
- Dryness of mouth
- Urinary retention
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing
The dog may also experience diarrhea and vomiting on rare occasions.
Trazodone can be given to dogs for grooming or as needed or as part of a daily schedule. For the treatment of anxiety, it’s usually given as a daily medication. However, when trazodone is used to treat anxiety from a certain trigger, such as during storms, it can be given on an as-needed basis
When is there a recommended starting dose of Trazodone?
An “as needed” schedule with a starting dose of 5 mg of trazodone is typical. Also, some people may want to start low-dose trazodone and use a gradual increase over time.
Are there any major side effects of trazodone for dogs?
Common side effects include drowsiness or sleepiness, lethargy, dizziness, or fainting.
How do I know if my dog needs trazodone?
Your veterinarian can determine if your dog is a candidate for Trazodone for grooming or anxiety.
4. General Anesthesia
If medications did not work, the dog might need to be put under general anesthesia. This happens in severe cases when the dog is overly restless and is very aggressive. It is required to make them entirely oblivious and stable to proceed with the procedure.
It makes both the dog and the groomer safe since the dog may become uncontrollable without it.
The vet is the only one who can administer general anesthesia (isoflurane and sevoflurane) , and they opt not to give it unless it is clinically necessary. It may also produce side-effects such as:
- Decreased breathing
- Decrease heart rate
- Decreased blood pressure
Melatonin, a naturally occurring neurohormone, has long been thought to work as a sleeping aid in humans. Now there’s some evidence it may be useful for dog grooming.
Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania recently tested the natural sleep aid in man’s best friend by attaching masks with tubes that release melatonin to the dogs’ backs and forcing them to lay down as usual for sleep and then waking them up after 10 minutes. The dog’s sleep duration was recorded and the researchers determined melatonin improved their sleep quality and quantity.
Vet and pet owners alike have used melatonin for dogs to treat anxiety, sleeplessness, and other disorders caused by lack of sleep. Melatonin can be used with minimal side effects and may encourage an overactive pooch to calm down and maybe even sleep.
For some pet owners, Melatonin might help within grooming sessions with an overactive or dangerous dog. Please consult your Vet before using it.
6. Calming Aids and Alternatives to Drugs for Grooming
These calming aids are things or supplements that can reduce anxiety to your dog. It may include chews and treats that can help calm your dog down, which may help train your dog. These aids do not directly work for grooming sessions, but they may help teach your dog’s behavior while dog sedatives.
If you don’t want to rely on drugs, there are alternatives that you can try to make your furry friend calm during grooming sessions. This include:
- Creating a positive link with grooming. You can give treats to your furry friend every time you brush their fur. Start in small periods then gradually increase the length of grooming sessions.
- Sedate your dog by making them tired. You can walk with the dog or play with the dog before the grooming sessions.
- Have their favorite toy or treat with them during the grooming session. It will help reduce a dog’s anxiety.
- Stay close to them and occasionally pat them during the grooming session. It will help the dog calm down, knowing that you are beside them.
- Try aromatherapy. The use of soothing oils in aromatherapy may help soothe and calm your furry friend. Simply rub it at the back of their head. You can also light an aroma candle to make the atmosphere restful.
7. Alternative Calming Aids
When it comes to alternatives, there is one that has been stepping up on the game. It is the plant that has been on debate for several decades but has been finally legalized in Canada and most parts of the United States, the marijuana plant. It is not intended to provide a cure to many diseases, but it has been praised for its relaxing effects during dog sedatives.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a component derived from the hemp, a cousin of the marijuana plant. There are several products made from CBD that is claimed to offer a range of whole-body uses. But CBD can also be used to pets, particularly the CBD oil.
Studies show that CBD has properties that can help reduce stress and anxiety. Not only can it help humans, but it can help pets as well.
If you think that your furry friend may get high, don’t worry, as CBD is different. It does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the component that produces the “high” feeling. Research suggests that CBD works by interacting naturally with the body’s endocannabinoid system to calm the body and reduce anxiety.
Before giving CBD oil to your furry friend, consult with a vet first. It is essential to obtain the first wise opinions before trying anything to your furry friend.
If your furry friend can’t remain calm during a grooming session even after a behavior modification training, you have the option to sedate your dog for grooming. However, be careful in giving your dog sedatives. Always seek first the guidance of a vet before trying it on your furry friend. Sedatives may help them calm down; however, there are side effects that you must be wary of.
Natural and alternative dog & cat sedatives like CBD may show promise in reducing your furry friend’s anxiety. It may help them remain calm throughout the grooming session.
It’s your choice: you can ask your vet for a more potent drug that sedates your dog more but may cause side effects vs. more natural alternatives. Some pet owners take a lifetime approach and work on a whole behavior modification process that takes longer but works on the underlying problem of anxiety. Please always make safety top priority, invest in a muzzle, and still get the aid of a dog behavior specialist or vet.
Why Dog Sedation for Grooming? Anxious & Aggressive Dogs
- Excessive Bites & Nip/Bite Predation: Many cases of aggression and dog bites require veterinary sedation and anesthesia grooming. They often have to be monitored carefully for several days after sedation to ensure a full recovery and continued normal health status.
- Dementia: Up to 25% of the 100 million dogs in the United States suffer from degenerative or late-stage Alzheimer’s Disease, according to Dr. Jeremy Cobo of Peace Vet Center. “Many dementia cases require low dose sedation and anesthesia treatment to allow for rest and recovery.”
- Impulse Defiance Disorder: There is no doubt that impulse defiance disorder (IDD) is on the rise in dogs. As owners grow older and retired, new owners come into the home. Many of them are not as committed as their predecessors, resulting in more frustration and aggressiveness in their dogs. Sedation will help dogs to relieve stress, rest, and recover from their explosive behavior without the risk of injury or death.