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Can You Give a Dog Ambien?

| Updated September 26, 2017

Ambien is a prescription sleep aid for people, but it is not intended for use in pets. Ambien should never be given to dogs deliberately. If your dog accidentally ingests Ambien, seek immediate veterinary care.

Dangers of Ambien in Dogs

Ambien is listed as a "poison pill" for pets by the American Veterinary Medical Association. It can cause an elevated heart rate and high agitation levels in dogs. In humans, it has the opposite effect: It helps you wind down enough to fall into a deep sleep.

Symptoms of Ambien Ingestion in Dogs

The symptoms of Ambien ingestion in dogs can vary by pet, and by how much of the medication was ingested. A dog who ingests Ambien may show clear signs of distress. You may notice excessive whining, restless pacing, destructive behavior, endless running or other signs of extreme agitation.

Veterinary Care for Ambien Ingestion

Veterinarians treat Ambien ingestion on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, extreme measures such as stomach pumping may be necessary, but in other situations the vet may determine that the medication can pass through the dog's system safely without intervention. Regardless of the size of the dog or the amount ingested, veterinary care is always essential if your dog swallowed Ambien.

Sleep Aid Alternatives

If you are seeking a way to get your dog to sleep, your veterinarian can recommend and prescribe sleeping medications safe for dogs. Sometimes, you can alleviate sleeping problems without resorting to medication. For example, consider increasing the amount of daily exercise your pet gets. It will help him burn off any extra energy that may be keeping him up at night. Feeding late in the day also may help: A full belly can make for a more restful night for both of you.