How to Sedate a Dog – What are the Factors You Should Consider?

Many people are pet lovers and dogs are among the most loved pets. Man’s fondness for dogs can be seen in various ways. Some eat and sleep with their dogs, bring them to pet shops for hair grooming, stroll with them in the park, take them to vets when their health condition so demand, and even take them along when they travel.

Sometimes, pet owners have to sedate their dogs to provide medical assistance, give them aesthetic services, and bring them along during a trip.This article will concentrate on the following topics:

1) What are the reasons for sedating dogs

2) How to sedate a dog by giving a medical prescription, and without giving prescription medication.​


What are the Reasons for Sedating a Dog​

There are times that dogs are frightened by the presence of a stranger, worried that he will be separated from his owner, brought to a place unknown to him, or afraid of the pain he is currently experiencing. The following are the various reasons for sedating a dog.

​Medical Reasons

The sight of a person with medical instruments in front of him touching his body will usually frighten a dog. Dog sedation is most commonly needed before a medical procedure can be done. It will help the veterinarian diagnose the illness with accuracy because the dog will calm down after sedation

​Since the vet is in the best position to give the correct medication, the owner can now be relieved of the tension brought about by the situation. However, it is best that the pet owner is seen by the sick pet before he becomes sedated. It will provide a feeling of security which is necessary for immediate treatment.

Nail/ Hair/ Dress Grooming​

​Pet owners usually want their pets to look clean and pretty. Dogs are most of the time uncooperative with the groomers during their first visit. So sedation may be needed and useful at these times, but as the dogs get used to it, everything will be easier

​Sedation may be avoided if the dogs are trained while they are still puppies. Certain measures can also be done to avoid sedation. Using hair and nail clipper with less vibration can be very helpful


​Pet lovers enjoy travel when their pets are with them. Owners don’t have to worry regarding the condition of their beloved pet (if the dog is left at home). But this may pose a problem, especially if this is the first time for the dog to ride in a car or train.

How to sedate a dog

​The dog may even think that the travel will be intended for medical treatment or that he may go to a place he has gone before but found it boring. The long trip might also make the dog uneasy. It may be necessary to sedate the dog during the journey for it to remain calm.

How to Sedate a Dog

So we learned at what instances you need to sedate a dog. The pet owner, by experience, will be in the best position to decide. After weighing all the factors involved, you can now choose from the following options and the best way on how to sedate a dog.

Using Prescription Medications​

  • A veterinary doctor should prescribe the sedative drug. These drugs are very effective. Vets usually prescribe drugs that block certain signals in the central nervous system (CNS) causing the dog to become sedated or calm. The two most common drugs are acepromazine and diazepam.
  • The drug acepromazine (PromAce) is given to calm aggressive animals. Giving this drug to a dog prevents vomiting and itchiness, making long distance travel bearable for dogs.
  • On the other hand, Diazepam (Valium) is also a sedative which relaxes muscles, stimulates appetite and prevents convulsions. This drug is ideal for dogs with seizure and appetite problems

Sedating Dogs without Giving Medication. Several Methods

Methods #1

Experts on dog behavior found out that giving dog exercises before traveling or doing any activity helps the dog to be calm and perform well. After a good exercise, the dog has burned off excess energy enticing him to rest. A 30-minute brisk walking scheduled regularly can help a lot.

Method #2

Like human beings, dogs may experience homesickness. So the pet owner may bring his dog’s favorite toys and blankets. The familiar scents of these items will make the dog enjoy the trip to places which are not familiar to him.

Method #3

Try using aromatherapy on your dog by applying a few drops of lavender oil on your hands, then massaging the dog at the back of the head or the base of the spine. This oil is useful even for human beings.​

Method #4

Use products that contain pheromones. This hormone was secreted by the puppy’s mother so that the scent gives the dog an assurance that his mother is near him, giving him peace of mind. Some examples of this product are Adaptil collar and spray, Sentry calming collar, and Comfort Zone Diffuser with Dog Appeasing Pheromone.

The methods of using the products mentioned above are simple and straightforward. The collars are placed around the neck providing a month-long release of pheromone. Plug the diffuser into a socket and the product will be released into the room for one whole month. You can use spray preparations in cars, carriers or cages where the dog stays.

Method #5

Consider using melatonin supplements. Melatonin is the hormone made by the pineal gland which induces good rest and sleep. It regulates body rhythms and reproductive cycles and has anticonvulsant properties. It prevents anxiety due to separation, stress, and noise due to fireworks or thunder. Give melatonin to your dog before traveling or before introducing a potentially stressful situation

The recommended dosage is 3 mg for every 35-100 pounds of body weight, given two times a day. For small dogs under 35 pounds, the dosage is 1.5 mg, and for large dogs heavier than 100 pounds, the dosage is 6 mg of melatonin twice a day.

Method #6

You can use calming herbal agents. These herbal pills and oils can relieve anxiety, excitement, and behavioral problems due to travel, noise, being restless, epilepsy, and hyperactivity. Some examples include Valerian tablets and Dorwest Herbs Skullcap.

Method #7


Make your own herbal concoction. Prepare this by mixing one teaspoon of German Chamomile, Catnip, and Skullcap. Place the herbs in a cup and set aside. Pour one-half cup of boiling water into the cup, wait for 6 minutes, strain, and add three tablespoons of honey. Store at room temperature for 24 hours, then give the concoction to your dog.


​There are lots of factors to consider when deciding on how to sedate a dog. Whether or not to sedate a dog will depend on the assessment of the dog owner with the professional guidance of a veterinary doctor.

Training the dog while still a puppy, like clipping his nails, grooming his hair, seeing his vet, riding a car, and regular exercises can help a lot in not giving him sedation because he has developed familiarity with these. However, sedation may be inevitable in certain cases, such as if the dog has to undergo a medical procedure. If you have any other concerns, consult your veterinarian.

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