What is Ambien Poisoning?
Many people that take Ambien take it to help reduce stress and anxiety, and to help them sleep better. It causes sedation in humans and sometimes has the same effect in animals, but in some cases it has the opposite effect. Overall, the prognosis for dogs having ingested Ambien is very good, but you should still contact your veterinarian, especially if your dog begins to show symptoms of toxicity.
Ambien is a human medication that helps with anxiety and insomnia. It comes in pill form and it is one of the more common human sleep aids. If your dog ingests any of this product, it needs to be considered a medical crisis and you need to contact your veterinarian immediately.
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Symptoms of Ambien Poisoning in Dogs
There are two different types of reactions a dog can have when ingesting Ambien.
Similar to humans, symptoms can include:
- Slowed heart rate
- Slow respiratory rate
The contradictory symptoms include:
No matter what type of reaction your dog has, they need to be monitored. Use caution with your pet if they ingest this medication and begin to exhibit the contradictory symptoms. Even though your canine is usually the sweetest, calmest dog in the world, an overdose of Ambien can cause him to become aggressive without meaning to; there is a possibility he may bite you.
Ambien is a trade name for the sleeping medication, but the actual generic name is zolpidem. No matter what the brand is, if zolpidem is in the medication, it will be listed on the bottle. It is found in a tablet form. No matter what the brand though, you should not give this medication to your pet. Be sure to read all of your medication labels carefully and be aware of what you are taking.
Causes of Ambien Poisoning in Dogs
Ambien is a nonbenzodiazepine sedative and hypnotic. This medication inhibits neuronal excitation by increasing the frequency of the opening of the chloride channels. This is what causes sedation in humans but the opposite in dogs.
Diagnosis of Ambien Poisoning in Dogs
When you take your pet to the veterinarian, she will start with a physical exam. This allows the veterinarian to get a good idea of what vitals are abnormal and by how much. She will assess your dog’s heart sounds and respiratory sounds to make sure both organs are working correctly. The veterinarian will also take into account your pet’s behavior; if it is drastically changed from how it usually is the veterinary team will know it is related to the central nervous system. Blood work may be ordered to insure your dog’s organs are still functioning normally. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel will give your veterinarian a good idea of how your dog is filtering the toxin internally. If you can find any leftover pills or the bottle, bring those with you when you got to the veterinarian. This will allow for quicker, error free diagnosis and will give the veterinarian a better idea of the amount ingested.
Treatment of Ambien Poisoning in Dogs
The amount of medications your dog ingested and the symptoms he is displaying will determine the course of treatment. If it hasn’t been too long, your veterinarian may try to get your dog to vomit before absorption of the medication begins. Or if it has been a while since your pet got into the medication, the veterinarian may administer activated charcoal to prevent the bloodstream from absorbing the Ambien and to prevent the development of symptoms.
If signs of Ambien poisoning have already developed, the symptoms will determine the course of action. If your dog is just sedated more than usual, keeping them in a calm, dark place will help. If your pet is showing signs of CNS excitement, your dog might receive a sedative such as acepromazine to calm him down. Your veterinarian may want to keep your pet overnight for observation.
Recovery of Ambien Poisoning in Dogs
Toxicity levels of Ambien can range from mild to moderate depending on how much medication was ingested. If your dog doesn’t develop any symptoms he should be just fine, but you should contact your veterinarian anyway. If your dog develops mild symptoms, keeping him calm and quiet should help. If he develops more serious symptoms, the chance of recovery is still high but medical attention should be sought out. There have been no fatalities from a dog ingesting Ambien, but that doesn’t mean it won’t affect your dog differently.
Remember to keep all of your medications, pet-friendly or not, out of the reach of curious pets. All medications should be kept high enough so that your pet cannot reach them when standing on their hind legs. Even if you have the most well behaved dog, one that gets bored or curious can surprise you with what he can get into.