Even if you think you don't know what the term Benzodiazepine is - we can't blame you, it's a pretty long, complicated medical term - the odds are, you probably do. Benzodiazepines, known as benzos, are drugs that are prescribed to people to help them deal with a myriad of anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress, depression, and other mental illnesses. They're even commonly prescribed to people with addiction disorders, too.
Being a dog owner, you know that your pup can face issues like anxiety and stress to severe degrees - think about how your pup reacts to things he or she is scared of, like fireworks or thunderstorms. Is it possible that your dog could take benzos to calm his or her nerves, too? The answer: sort of, yes.
Benzos can be prescribed by dog-tors to pups who suffer from fears, phobias, and insane stress levels. But benzos, like other medicines, can be incredibly dangerous if your pup takes too many of them. In fact, your dog can even get benzodiazepine poisoning if you're not careful with his or her dosage.
So, under what circumstances should you talk with your vet about feeding your dog prescribed benzos? What signs should you look out for to determine whether or not your dog's dosage is incorrect? How can you tell if your dog has benzodiazepine poisoning?
Read on to find out!
Signs Your Dog Has Benzo Poisoning
This can happen if dogs get into human benzo medications, if they eat too much on their own, or if you accidentally give your pup a higher dosage than they need. It's important to understand what signs your dog will exhibit if he or she is suffering from benzo poisoning.
First of all, your dog's benzos will be absorbed rapidly and completely, so the signs will start early. Your dog will feel weak and lethargic, and their breathing will likely slow to dangerous levels. You can expect that your dog will likely vomit, be confused and disoriented, and face serious issues like a severe drop in body temperature and blood pressure. Your pup's muscles will also relax, making him or her uncoordinated and very lethargic.
- Head turning
- Back hair on edge
- Dropped Ears
- Averting eyes
- Lack of coordination
- Confusion and disorientation
- Labored breathing
- Relaxed muscles
- Heart arrhythmia
Historic Causes for Benzo Treatment in Pups
People will also give their dogs benzos when they know their dogs are going to panic. Think about the last 4th of July you had with your family and dog: did your pup freak out because of the fireworks?
Sometimes, prescribed benzo can be given to pooches as needed for special occasions to keep them from panicking and working themselves up. Dogs who have extreme, irregular anxiety can also benefit from these drugs.
The Science of Benzo's Affect in Dogs
Benzos, to put it simply, enhance the neurotransmitter known as GABA, gamma amino butyric acid, the chemical that enables your brain to think, transmit impulses, and much more. GABA helps to slow or calm things down in your dog's brain, so a healthy dose of benzo to enhance the GABA function can aid your dog in their stress and anxiety control.
Training Your Dog to Stay Away from Your Benzos
That being said, it's important that you keep your pooch away from your benzos, as well as away from his or her benzos when you're not administering their medication. Too much of their own, prescribed medication, as well as any of your benzo medication, could severely impact your dog's health. So, how do you train your dog to stay away from benzos?
First, it's important that you're keeping the benzos away from your pup. Put them up high, in a locked compartment, or somewhere your dog can't reach to avoid any accidental ingestion. Next, it's important that your dog understands basic commands like "no", "leave it", and "stay." These commands could save your pups life!
Then, make sure your dog understands that he or she is not allowed in the place where the benzos are. Keep them somewhere that you'd like to train your dog to stay away from, anway. Just as people train their dogs to stay away from furniture and kitchens, you can train your dog to stay away from the medicine cabinet where you keep the benzos.
Safety Tips for Dogs Around Benzos:
Keep benzos locked away.
Have a plan of action for accidental benzo overdose.
Know the benzo overdose symptoms your dog could display.
Never feed your dog your benzos - only use them if prescribed from a dog-tor.
Only give your dog the correct dosage at the right time of day.
Keep benzos up high where your pup can't reach.