Can you give a dog lorazepam for anxiety? The Ultimate Guide

What is lorazepam?

Lorazepam (brand names: Ativan®, Lorazepam Intensol®) is a benzodiazepine medication used to treat behavior problems such as anxiety, fears, and phobias. It can also be used to treat seizures or to stimulate appetite in cats.

Its use in cats and dogs to treat seizures or behavior problems is ‘off label’ or ‘extra label’. Many drugs are commonly prescribed for off label use in veterinary medicine. In these instances, follow your veterinarian’s directions and cautions very carefully as their directions may be significantly different from those on the label.

Lorazepam is given by mouth in the form of a tablet or liquid. It can also be given as an injection in the hospital setting. It may be given with or without food, however, if vomiting occurs when dosed on an empty stomach, give future doses with food. Tablets will dissolve quickly in the mouth, so if pilling is difficult, place the pill in the check followed by a treat a minute later to facilitate swallowing. Measure liquid forms carefully.

When using for behavioral triggers, give this medication about an hour prior to the triggering event. Do not leave your pet unattended the first time this medication is used and monitor your pet for side effects. If using long-term, do not stop this medication abruptly or rebound effects may occur.

This medication should take effect within 1 to 2 days, and improvements in clinical signs should follow.

Are there any drug interactions I should be aware of?

The following medications should be used with caution when given with lorazepam: amiodarone, antacids, antihypertensive agents, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, central nervous system depressant agents, digoxin, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, hepatic enzyme inducers or inhibitors, ifosfamide, lithium, non-depolarizing neuromuscular blockers, phenytoin, rifampin, theophylline/aminophylline, tricyclic antidepressants, valproic acid/divalproex, or yohimbine.

Be sure to tell your veterinarian about any medications (including vitamins, supplements, or herbal therapies) that your pet is taking.

Can a Dog Take Human Ativan?

In general, it is quite safe for a dog to take Ativan.

In fact, vets usually choose it over Valium as a drug of choice for treating anxiety.

However, pets who are allergic to lorazepam or other benzodiazepines shouldn’t take them.

Those with liver disease or severe respiratory issues should avoid taking this drug too.

And lastly, if your dog is pregnant or lactating, benzodiazepines should not be given too.

Be sure to communicate with your vet about the presence of these conditions.

Dogs can take Ativan when they have anxiety disorders, but it should be used only in extreme cases and only under the supervision of a veterinarian.

In no other circumstances should you feed your dog this drug, especially if it has an existing medical condition or is on certain medication such as Valium.

Anti-Anxiety Medication for Dogs – The #1 Obstacle to Saying YES!

Whenever possible, lorazepam should be given to dogs in advance of an event that is known to cause anxiety. The drug can also be given at the earliest sign that a dog is becoming anxious.