How to Sedate a Dog over the Counter (Sedation Options)

Do you happen to be an owner of a dog who immediately starts freaking out as soon as you mention taking it to the vet? If so, then we hate to be the bearer of such bad news, but your dog has problems related to anxiety. Most pet owners hunt for an over-the-counter sedative that can calm down their canine effectively when they’re going through an episode. However, that doesn’t mean they’re always going to be an effective solution.

Although over-the-counter sedatives play a huge role in easing up your dog’s anxiety, oftentimes they cause a great number of side effects, due to many people not having any proper knowledge about their characteristics and the proper way to give them.

Hence, for your dog’s safe health and convenience, we’ve decided to cover up on this topic with as much as correct, useful information we have upon our sleeves. So you are wondering for how to sedate a dog over the counter, Right? We’ve done a great number of researches on this subject so that your dog gets the best.

How to Sedate a Dog over the Counter


Anxiety is commonly known as the feeling of nervousness, unease, or apprehension that all of us very well know. It’s the core of most behavioral problems one will discover in dogs. Despite being perfectly normal sometimes, anxiety becomes a problem when it becomes severe or frequent enough to have adverse effects on the dog or owner’s lifestyle. If your dog is anxious, you’ll start noticing some customary symptoms which include:

  • Tensed muscles
  • Tendency to get away from the situation that results is aggressive and destructive behavioral pattern
  • Urinating and defecating
  • Ears pulled back
  • Crouching or shrinking near the ground or attempts of hiding in a location that seems safe
  • Trembling
  • Overly opened up eyes, sometimes only the white part showing
  • Panting

How to Treat Anxiety in a Dog

The finest way to eliminate anxiety in a dog is by following protocols of behavioral modification. These protocols usually involve teaching them to stay calm when they’re being exposed to the things that trigger them. Also, you need to reward them when they’re successful in conquering their anxiety step by step, and gradually increasing the level of intensity that trigger them.

You should know that it’s not always going to be easy for them. Sometimes, it’ll be hard for them to stay calm, even if you expose them to the mildest trigger elements. This is the time you’ll need medications and other necessary products for relieving anxiety the most. There are tons of over-the-counter options to treat mild anxiety attacks. They include:

  • Nutritional supplements such as L-theanine, s-adenosyl-methionine, melatonin, etc.
  • Body wraps capable of offering reassuring pressure
  • Synthetic pheromones like DAP

If the range of anxiety is low to severe, then your vet will prescribe you to use anti-anxiety medicines that contain paroxetine, alprazolam, diazepam, buspirone, clomipramine, lorazepam, dexmedetomidine, fluoxetine, amitriptyline, sertraline, and trazodone. 

How to Sedate a Dog over the Counter (Temporary Solutions)

There are going to be cases when you’re going to have to address your dog’s behavior as soon as possible, especially before the anxiety treatments start showing their effect. In these cases, the dog becomes hyperactive which makes it impossible for you to calm them down. If you’re unable to calm it down, the vet won’t be able to perform any surgeries on it or take an X-ray of it. This is the moment where sedatives become invaluable. There are two types of sedatives for dogs; oral and injectable.

Oral Sedatives for Dogs

If you’re on the lookout for sedatives that you’re allowed to give your dog at home, then, unfortunately so you somewhat have limited options in your choices.

Acepromazine is one the most common oral sedatives prescribed for dogs. It’s from phenothiazine type of sedatives. It primarily blocks dopamine receptors in the brain, which therefore causes the obstruction of few specific brain functions.

Sadly, acepromazine tables can have various wild effects on different individuals. When you give these tablets to dogs, some of them might not look sedated while others lay flat, even if they were given equal doses of the medicine.

Luckily, there is possibly a better option available. That option is to inject the liquid drug between the canine’s cheeks and gums. The mucous membranes in this region will absorb the liquid effectively. As a result, the sedation will appear more reliable. No matter which way you give your dog acepromazine, there’s always going to be a possibility of at-risk dogs showing side effects such as seizures or low blood pressure.

Sometimes, your veterinarian will suggest you a type of medication that’s used traditionally for different purposes due to its side-effects. Anti-seizure medications like gabapentin or phenobarbital have an intense sedative effect when you first give them to dogs. Therefore, they’re also prescribed to be used before a potential stressful event arises. Moreover, treatment with multiple drugs at once is also effective at improving the dog’s response against sedation.

Injectable Sedatives for Dogs

Injective sedatives are generally more preferred than oral ones due to their quick action and effectiveness. Dogs tend to respond to them quickly. Even if they take some time to respond, they still can be foretold.

Some common injectable sedatives and injectable sedative combinations are acepromazine, , diazepam and butorphanol, butorphanol and Telazol, acepromazine and butorphanol, dexmedetomidine; which you can reverse with atipamezole, ketamine, butorphanol, dexmedetomidine, and which you can partially reverse with atipamezole.

Final Thoughts

Dealing with anxiety is always going to be difficult for both the dog and you. It’s going to be a long and hard journey. Only with your care and sincerity, you can make it less intense.

No matter how much you’re unable to see your dog suffer like this, you should never recklessly use a sedative on it. Only your vet can determine which sedative can treat its anxiety the best. No matter what medication you’re prescribed, you must follow the instructions closely. Don’t provide more sedative than the recommended amount. If you have any concerns or questions relating to your dog’s anxiety, you must consult with your veterinarian.

We can’t say this with a determined mind that what we’ve written so far is enough for you and your dog. Still, we hope that the information we’ve provided is enough to keep your dog’s anxiety at ease and control.

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