How To Sedate A Dog Safely – 4 Methods

Like every other pet, your dog possibly has her quirks. It could be the fear, anxiety or nervousness when her toenails are to be clipped or other situations like when you want to groom her, when you take her for veterinary checks or while traveling.

Has any of you faced this problem? I have. And often, she won’t let me near her when she’s in stressful situations. She’ll resist food, hide, and be more prone to hurting herself, other animals and even people.

But that was until I spend some time learning how to sedate a dog and voila! I realized that would give her few moments of calm and rest and this made it easy for me to handle her. So today I’ll share with you this information and my hope is that it will help you learn how to sedate your dog like a pro.


Available Sedation Methods and Alternatives

You could do this in a couple of ways and so in this tutorial, I’ll cover how you can use each of the following options to sedate your dog:

Prescription sedatives and tranquilizers such as Acepromazine, Diazepam /Valium, analgesics, and general anesthetics

Herbal sedatives such as Chamomile, Dorwest Herbs, Skullcap, Valerian tablets and others

Calming aids such as the thundershirt and your dog’s playthings.

Natural solutions like exercise and aromatherapy

Still, there are other options like the use of products such as Sentry Calming Collar, Adaptil Collar & Spray, and others that carry appeasing pheromones. Scientific studies have revealed that when nursing their young ones all mammals usually have pheromones. In the case of dogs, this is the hormone released by the puppies’mother to help in calming the puppies and re-assure them that their parent is around.

Melatonin supplements are another option. Melatonin is a sleeping hormone responsible for giving sleep to an animal at night. So the supplement has sedative properties and is a perfect solution for separation anxiety, noise anxiety, and other stressful or frightening situations.

But unlike prescription sedatives and tranquilizers or herbal sedatives, which are versatile in their use, these two aforementioned options might not be an ideal option in cases involving an intense physical examination.

Method 1: Using Prescription Sedatives and Tranquilizers

Just before you go down this route, understand that a prescription is necessary before trying out the drugs. You can get one from a veterinarian and for injections, only a veterinarian can do it best. Injections are far more effective and easier to administer than pills.

 Some dogs loathe pills and it could be just another herculean task trying to force them down their throat. Whether it’s drawing of blood, an x-ray or clipping of nails, sedatives and tranquil

izers like Acepromazine do it all. Some like Diazepam double up as pre-anesthetics. But if your dog often experiences seizure attacks or is pregnant, forget about this option as it could lead to something worse.

 Analgesics like Medetomidine Hydrochloride (Domitor) are a great option under this category too and are ideal for minor procedures like doing away with porcupine quills. General anesthetics like Thiopental can also be used for short medical procedures or grooming.

Method 2: Using Herbal Sedatives

Herbs are an emerging preferred solution to nervous and restless dogs and this is largely due to their little to no side effects attribute. And besides being moderate in their side effects, they are non-addictive.

Skullcap, for instance, is an effective herbal sedative available in both processed and raw from and can be used to treat among other things hyperexcitability and anxiety in dogs. But veterinarians advise that one shouldn’t use them for long as this could bring side effects.

Valerian, available as an oil and in tablet form, is another herb that could be used to eliminate anxiety, tension, physical pain, and hyperexcitability in dogs. Other herbal solutions include Oat and California poppy.

Each of these herbal solutions has its own dosage and so correct prescriptions should be observed at all times to avoid unwanted secondary effects. Valerian and Skullcap are not recommended for a lactating or pregnant dog.

Method 3: Using Calming aids

Sounds new to you? Well, calming aids are but simple aids designed to assist your dog not to feel more anxious. We have products designed to ease your dog’s fear of frightening conditions.

Take the thundershirt, for instance, a special shirt for dogs that applies pressure on specific areas of its body resulting in helpful benefits to its nervous system. So far, the shirt has recorded tremendous success with many dog owners reporting great success using it. Watch the video below to learn more about it:

Your dog’s favorite playthings, rug or blanket could also act as calming aids. When it smells the familiar scent in them, that will help to cut down the anxiety when you bring her to new places.

Dog Composure, a calming chew from Vetriscience sold over the counter is also another calming aid you might want to try out especially when grooming your dog.

Method 4: Using Natural Solutions

Yes, exercises might sap some of your energies but let’s face it, don’t we all appreciate the improved alertness, reduced fatigue, anxiety or stress and the improved cognitive function we get out of it? I do and I realize dogs are not an exception either.

Experts on dog behavior insist that exercising your dog before engaging it in an activity that might get her nervous, restless, or disturbed helps to calm it. Just like in humans, it will want to rest after sapping off its energies and this will let you handle her with ease. Watch the video below to learn top 5 exercises for your dog: 

Ever had an encounter with lavender? It’s known all over for its soothing properties and this is what introduced me to aromatherapy. Aromatherapy soothes you and if you have an anxious dog you might want to give it dog aromatherapy. If he or she is afraid of loud noises, the calming effect from lavender oil or other essential oils as Peppermint, Helichrysum or Niaouli will take away her anxiety or stress at such times.


Before sedating your dog, here are a couple of things you will want to note:

  •  Taker him/her for a walk that morning. This will allow her to empty her bowels and bladder Avoid giving her any food the night before sedation. That is after the usual evening meal of course.
  • Examine your dog for any unusual signs unrelated to the procedure you are yet to carry out.
  • If you observe any, make the vet aware of it. If visiting a vet, always bring with you a note of your dog’s current medication


Pleased with all the sedating methods you’ve learned so far today? Great, now it’s up to you to decide which option to go for. Remember to talk to your vet especially if you’ve opted for prescription sedatives and tranquilizer or herbal sedatives. This will help you to do the correct thing.

When I first wanted to put my puppy to sedation so as I could groom her, I had zero clues on what to do. So I spent plenty of time figuring all these out and what you’ve just learned now is everything you will ever need to safely sedate your dog.

Doing it for the first time? You will never go wrong with these methods.

Do you have any questions, suggestions or experiences you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments.


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