Anxiety, seizures, and epilepsy often occur when an influx of neurotransmitters fire off in the brain overloading the system. As such Diazepam — brand name Valium — is typically prescribed to help better manage these neurotransmitters from rapidly firing off. It does this by promoting the production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain which will stifle pathways neurotransmitters take to the brain. The hope is it blocks just enough neurotransmitters to return behavior and activity levels to normal.
Because of the delicate nature of how drugs like valium work, it’s common to see side effects. However, many of these side effects aren’t bad, and when used in tandem with other drugs it can help treat medical conditions such as IBS and appetite loss. Another drug Valium is mixed with is anesthesia as it will you relax beforehand.
But with its powerful effects and sensitive nature, many are left wondering if they can give valium to their dogs.
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Can I Give My Dog Valium?
Due to its strong relaxation and tranquilizing effects, the most common side effects associated with Valium are drowsiness, poor energy, sedation, and changes in heart rate. As well, vomiting and diarrhea are common to see as well. There is some risk that Valium will change your dog’s behavior, so be on the lookout for that issue.
It’s important to monitor the degree of these side effects as many dogs will display one or two.
Lethargic Behavior and Drowsiness
Remember valium works by blocking neurotransmitters from overloading the brain, but by blocking too many signals, it could affect your dog’s energy levels. Dogs sleep a lot and love taking frequent naps, but if you notice they’re sleeping more or harder to wake up and get going, then the culprit could be Valium.
You’ll want to look for other symptoms such as them bumping into things, clustiness, and other signs of discoordination. If you notice these symptoms, immediately call your vet. While it’s likely that they are signs that your dog is taking just a little bit too much, they can also be early warning signs of an overdose.
Changes in Heart and Slow Breathing
When giving your dog valium, you will almost undoubtedly notice a change in your dog's heart rate and breathing. They should both mildly slow down, and this is fine as the medication is doing its job and controlling over excitement.
Cardiac arrest is a sign of an overdose so always follow the recommended appropriate valium dosage for dogs that your vet will set.
Vomiting and Diarrhea
It feels like nearly every drug has nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea as a side effect. That’s because it’s common for the body to attempt to fight a foreign drug even when it helps. In most cases, these side effects quickly pass once the body learns that the drug isn’t a threat. Like all side effects, if the vomiting and diarrhea seem concerning call your vet immediately.
When attempting to block signals from entering the brain, weird things can happen such as minor personality changes. Your dog may experience a bout of aggression or become obsessive-compulsive over something like licking their paws.
Both of these issues should stay minor or not display themselves at all. When you give your dog valium you may see them wanting to eat more or sometimes less. This side effect of valium is much less worryingly, but you should still monitor it. Make sure you note any side effects even when mild so you can bring it up to your vet next time you see them.
Valium has addictive properties and as such when giving your dog Valium withdrawals can happen. The longer they are on the drug / heavier dosages will result in a more noticeable withdraw. Your vet will be a great help with discontinuing use. They may find that a gradual decline in dosage is more appropriate instead of dropping the drug cold turkey.
Rare and Serious Side Effects
Anemia, liver damage, and severe bruising/bleeding are the most serious side effects when giving Valium to dogs. Fortunately, these serious valium side effects are usually only seen with long-term use. However, there is one serious side effect that can happen the first time you give your dog valium and that’s an allergic reaction.
You must seek immediate medical attention if you notice signs of an allergic reaction: rapid change in breathing, asphyxiation, extreme lethargy, irritation, and whining/crying. You should not have to worry about an allergic reaction after the first few time administering, so you won’t have to monitor as closely after the first few times.
Other MedicationsDiazepam and this is a concern because valium side effects in dogs can be quite serious. If this is a concern, there are natural options that preset lower side effects such as Innovet's PurCBD.
Sources:CBD: Safety and Side Effects
CBD Oil and Epilepsy
CBD Decreases Anxiety And Depression
CBD and Appetite
CBD Effects on Aggression