Dogs & Drugs: Why Sedatives & Tranquilizers May Put Your Dog To Sleep… Forever!

As far as I know, pets aren't smoking or drinking……not yet, anyways. But I hear they're becoming regular pill-poppers! What???

A recent report from Colorado State University noted that drug abuse among pets is becoming a serious problem. We know how dog owners tend to select pets which look like them. Now, apparently, they're trying to get their pets to act like them.

Dr. Ben Baker of the school of Veterinary Medicine at Colorado State said, “We always here that we look like our dogs, and we do have a tendency to think that what is good for us – like vacations and baths – is also good for our dogs. And that is carrying over to tranquilizers.”

Drug manufacturers report that humans are popping pills in increasing numbers. There's a “tranquilizer” – both prescriptive and non-prescriptive – for every complaint; however, none of them were designed for animal consumption (and more than likely not even safe long-term for humans as well).

Billions of drug prescriptions are filled each year and hundreds of billions of dollars are spent on advertising these sedatives and tranquilizers. Right now there are at least 200,000 or more drugs on the market. A survey made by a popular consumer magazine revealed that the average household has upwards near 30 prescriptions stocked in the medicine cabinet.

What Does All Of This Have To Do With Your Dog?

Dogs have been long fed tranquilizers before travel and surgery, and occasionally during various types of training. Now, however, rambunctious and noisy dogs are given sedatives to quiet them down and turn them into docile, well-behaved animals.

Dr. Baker went on to say, “I don't think there is a serious abuse problem yet, but I'm scared that it will become one. Tranquilizers should always be a last resort in dealing with an animal.”

Veterinarians get more requests for sedatives for pets before winter and summer holidays when families are packing up for vacations. Most animals don't need to be tranquilized to travel, however. Dogs are usually accustomed to riding in a car – they enjoy it; so even on a long trip, there should rarely be a problem. Some who are sedated wind up sleeping for days – and if the dosage is inaccurate they could sleep… forever.

The craze for big guard dogs that has swept the country has put many big dogs in small apartments and condominiums for extended periods of time. Complaining neighbors who resent the barking of a dog often motivate the owner to tranquilize the dog to keep it quiet.

My veterinarian commented, “I have some serious questions about keeping a dog penned up like that; however, with training, a barking dog can be controlled. We don't have many dog psychiatrists, but its a rare dog that needs tranquilizing.”

People who pop pills day and night for any problem believe that their pets would be calm and tractable, too, if they were given sedatives. Once in a while they overdose their pet and he goes on a “trip.” Sometimes he doesn't come back. Furthermore, dogs, like people, react differently to a dosage of anything; some even become more active and unmanageable when they're drugged.

So, if your tempted to reach for that canine sedative that you got from the veterinarian whenever your pet is on some kind of rampage or seems over-excited, don't. As yet, there is no evidence to indicate that dogs can become drug addicts, but why take any chances?

Related: Can Dogs Take Human Painkillers?

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