As veterinarians, all too often we are called upon to vaccinate, examine, or otherwise deal with dogs who are aggressive, fearful, poorly trained, not properly socialized, or all of the above.

Many veterinarians seek information to adequately sedate these dogs with oral medications prior to their appointments.

Various medications have been tried with limited success.

Most veterinarians would recommend skipping oral sedatives and going right to injectable medications as they have a more predictable response.

Use care, have the owner muzzle the dog at home, and warn the client of all the risks associated with sedating an aggressive dog (including death). Erratum in: J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998 Oct 15;213(8):1170.

Here are some options for oral medications if you find yourself in need of this information.

Comparison of five regimens for oral administration of medication to induce sedation in dogs prior to euthanasia.

Valium (diazepam) is a rapidly-absorbed benzodiazepine drug which affects chemicals in the brain to reduce levels of anxiety, often working within 30 minutes.

Various methods of administration are available but oral and IV injection are the most effective, with IM, rectal and nasal administration offering a lower rate of absorption.

The drug is metabolized in the dog’s liver into three different substances: nordiazepam, temazepam and oxazepam and has a half-life of around 3 hours.

After sustained periods of use abrupt withdrawal is not recommended, which means you will have to taper your pet off of the drug slowly. It’s better to attempt treating your pet’s nervousness using natural remedies and methods first.

Our favorite natural treatment option is Anxietrex, a natural remedy which dramatically reduces a dog’s anxiety without risking any of the side effects which Valium can cause.