Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Healthy Dogs

Select An Article

Treating Behavior Problems in Dogs

Font Size

Medicines for the Treatment of Sudden or Severe Fear and Panic continued...

Some common benzodiazepines are diazepam (Valium®), alprazolam (Xanax®), chlordiazepoxide (Librium®), lorazepam (Ativan®) and clonazepam (Klonopin®). Benzodiazepines work by increasing the activity of a chemical in the brain that interferes with activation of the fear networks.

Dose Effects

You can only know if a drug is working if you have an idea of what effects to expect. The following list provides the expected reactions in dogs to different doses of benzodiazepines:

  • At low doses, benzodiazepines ramp down excessive behavior and reduce excitability.
  • At moderate doses, benzodiazepines reduce anxiety. Dogs who are afraid will be less fearful and more likely to act normally. At these doses the drug can also increase friendly and interactive behavior.
  • High doses of benzodiazepines produce sedation, including impaired movement and thinking, and disorientation. They also produce sleepiness and cause vomiting. Benzodiazepines affect some of the same parts of the cells in a dog’s brain as alcohol, and so they produce similar effects.

Side Effects

Benzodiazepines have some unwanted side effects, including increased appetite and sleeplessness. Sleeplessness may seem contradictory, but this medicine can actually produce increased anxiety in some dogs. Although not common, this side effect seems to occur most often when the medicine is given after the dog has already begun to show signs of anxiety.

Benzodiazepines are also inappropriate for the treatment of aggression, because they can sometimes reduce inhibition. This means that although the dog may not react as quickly to a frightening or disturbing event, if he does react he might behave aggressively. Lastly, benzodiazepines can cause addiction if they are given many times a day for more than three weeks.

Benzodiazepines can also interfere with learning and memory, so they aren’t good choices for long-term use with training and behavior modification. Because of this, if a benzodiazepine is necessary because of excessive anxiety or fear, this type of medicine is best used initially and then gradually discontinued.

Health Issues

Benzodiazepines are metabolized in the liver and excreted through a dog’s kidneys, so if your veterinarian advises you to treat your dog’s fear with a benzodiazepine, she should check with a simple blood test to make sure that these organs are working well before beginning treatment. If your dog has had problems with his kidneys or liver, be sure to let your veterinarian know.

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

bulldog in party hat
Breeds with longevity
Doberman Pinscher Clipped Ears
The facts about ear cropping and tail docking.
dog with duck in mouth
Which are considered smartest?
boxer dog
What are their health issues?
Pit bull looking up
Pets: Is My Dog Normal
Dog scratching behind ear
dog catching frisbee
Dog Breed RMQ
Lady owner feeding dog
bulldog in party hat

Special Sections