Diazepam for dogs - are there any vets out there please?

(17 Posts)
GentlemanThief Tue 13-Nov-12 18:24:02

I work one day a week and have recently started taking my dog to work with me. He is usually fine curled up under my desk, but if I leave the room or even go to the photocopier he starts to show signs of stress (whines and barks a bit).

He doesn't have any sort of separation anxiety at home, and is fine to be left in the house alone or even downstairs while I potter about upstairs.

I've tried a few strategies while at work. I make sure I am one of the first to arrive so he is well settled by the time I might have to leave my desk.

I've tried leaving my desk for short periods and then returning when he's quiet but the problem is still there. I've left him with massively high value treats/bones/stuffed kongs etc but he still cries.

I have asked my colleagues to ignore him when he is doing this (which they do) but it seems really unfair on them to have to sit through his whining and woofing.

I took him to the vet today with the intention of trying a DAP collar or infuser and the vet has prescribed half a 5mg diazepam tablet to be taken before we set off for work. The vet said that after a couple of weeks he should be more used to the office environment and I can then discontinue the diazepam but to be honest I am reluctant to drug him at all.

Does anybody have any opinions on this? I'd like to get this cracked as we all love having him at work, but I fear his welcome might run thin unless he cam calm down a bit.

thanks

toomuch2young Tue 13-Nov-12 18:32:28

I can understand why you are reluctant to drug him, if he is settled at home why don't you leave him there while you are at work?
Kalmaid, zylkene and dap are good natural alternatives to diazepam. Efficacy depends on the dog but a much better first step than diazepam.

Diazepam is actually very safe though also. That is a very small dose, how big is your dog? 2.2mg per kg is safe for treating anxiety short term.
Personally I wouldn't have my dogs in an office, i cant say though as obviously I work with dogs not in an office!!

Try crate training him so he's happy on his own in his own space and ignoring him on your return etc. Also big walks before periods of absence usually ensures a sleep while your gone.

Good luck.

SpicyPear Tue 13-Nov-12 18:39:58

Hi. I am not a vet but my dog takes Xanax, which is another type of benzodiazapine, at the moment for her firework phobia.

You don't mention in your post how long he has been going to work with you so far. I understand that you feel bad about your colleagues dealing with his whining but has he had long enough to get used to it in terms of actual days spent in the office?

I'm sure the drugs won't do him any specific harm, but I use them only as an absolute last resort as my dog has severe anxiety. I wouldn't be at all keen to use medication early on to treat what sounds like quite mild stress at being left alone in a new environment. I would want to try DAP, patience and some training first. For example, do you have a friendly colleague who could pop over and give him a treat while you are away, when he's being quiet, so he starts to feel safe with your other colleagues?

poachedeggs Tue 13-Nov-12 19:43:29

Diazepam is a great anxiolytic and it also has amnesic affects so has an important role in this sort of situation. It means the dog experiences less anxiety but also that they form less memories of negative experiences (in this case separation from you in a specific environment). I don't think it's a bad choice and a low dose once a week is very unlikely to harm him.

Other suggestions have been made above which may be helpful. An Adaptil diffuser nearby could be helpful. I'm assuming you've looked for other signs of anxiety in your workplace - is he fine otherwise?

If you can fit in a huge long walk before work that's likely to help lots.

GentlemanThief Tue 13-Nov-12 20:59:59

Thanks so much for your replies!

To answer a couple of questions, he has only been in to work for 2 weeks (so two days) but he was noticeably worse the second time.

He is my little Jo Biden (running mate smile ) so he has a good long run with me every morning including the days he comes to work. I also park about a 10 min walk from the office so he gets an on lead walk just before we arrive. I also take him out for about 45 mins (also on lead) at lunchtime so he is as well exercised as he could be really.

poachedeggs you have pretty much said the same as the vet did; that we need to get this resolved ASAP because otherwise he will start to remember the stress he obviously feels at work which will exacerbate the problem.

I guess I could leave him at home, but I would prefer to persevere with this for several reasons. Firstly (and mainly) because we all love having him in the office, he's a lovely friendly sociable dog and it is really lovely having him there with me.

I would really like to crack this behaviour as it means he will have a fuller and more enjoyable experience of life, I don't want to have to just leave him at home for fear of him becoming upset. He's quite young (2) so hopefully he will have a long time of accompanying me to places so I would prefer not to give up unless it really proves too stressful for him.

Now that I think about it, he does display this behaviour in other situations where he is left somewhere other than home. For example, if I leave him in the car while I go to pay for petrol, or if we have taken him to the pub with us and one of us goes to the bar or to the loo.

Also (thinking aloud a bit here) this behaviour only seems to manifest itself when I am nearby (like in the situations described above). I quite often leave him with my sister for the weekend and I have several friends who 'borrow' him for walks or days out and he is absolutely fine when away from me under those circumstances...

I think given the comments about the safety of the diazepam, I will try him on a quarter tablet tomorrow and see how we get on. I was a bit concerned because my sister tried to get some valium (I think that is the same drug?) from her doctor to help with her fear of flying and she said it was like asking the doctor for Heroin or something - the doc made out that it was a terrible, dangerous drug that should be avoided at all costs. I'm relieved to hear that it is safe smile.

SpicyPear Tue 13-Nov-12 21:19:00

I've taken Diazepam a handful of times before and I'm still alive! It's quite easy to become dependent on I think. Docs don't like to dole it out because of the risk of misuse.

Now I'm having silly visions of benzo addicted pooches rifling through cupboards searching for a fix....

GentlemanThief Tue 13-Nov-12 21:31:11

If you don't talk to your dog about benzos, who will? grin

SpicyPear Tue 13-Nov-12 21:50:10

grin

poachedeggs Wed 14-Nov-12 06:07:22

grin

I agree with your vet that now is the time to address this. I'd also consider Zylkene in addition (this isn't a drug, just a supplement), and I wonder if you have the option of feeding a starchy meal as you arrive at work, just to max his serotonin levels out?

The other thing which hasn't been mentioned but which is very important is to look into behaviour counselling. It sounds like a form of separation anxiety and a counsellor will be able to devise a plan for dealing with it.

Good luck smile

poachedeggs Wed 14-Nov-12 06:12:03

I should add that behaviour counsellors with appropriate qualifications can be found at www.apbc.org.uk/

GentlemanThief Wed 14-Nov-12 08:18:03

Ok, massive long run has been had and a quarter tablet administered (concealed in ham so gobbled down smile )

Will report back later...

I do agree re the behavioural counselling - under normal circumstances I would turn to this first which is why I feel bad about using what I guess amounts to a chemical cosh.

At home, we have a philosophy of positive reinforcement i.e. rewarding the good behaviour and ignoring the bad, but I feel I have to take my colleagues feelings into consideration here and take some more immediate action - his crying really is heart rending and unbelievably loud!

Thanks for the link, I will certainly arrange a session with a behaviourist - I just want him to be happy and confident and hopefully this will help.

Wish me luck!

GentlemanThief Wed 14-Nov-12 08:18:41

...although now I have a mental image of him lying on a couch telling a therapist about his puppyhood grin

GentlemanThief Wed 14-Nov-12 16:31:03

Ok, back from work - the diazepam made absolutely no difference at all sad

On the plus side, my colleagues were lovely about it and are happy for me to persevere.

Do you think it is worth trying again with a higher dosage? I gave him a quarter (well, probably nearer a third) of a 5mg tablet. He's roughly 20kg and in good health.

portraitoftheartist Wed 14-Nov-12 20:25:11

That tiny dose surely wouldn't have any effect (good or bad)
My epileptic dog has huge doses of Diazapam to stop bad fits.

LookBehindYou Thu 15-Nov-12 11:44:50

Other people might disagree but I'm not sure how a drug will affect a behavioural problem that only manifests at certain times. Better to tackle his behaviour.
What breed is he? When you walk away from him what do you do?

shoutymcshoutsmum Thu 15-Nov-12 14:04:36

My GSP is 25kg and he was prescribed Diazapam too. We got given a range of dosage which we could give him. We had to go to the maximum before it had any effect. We stopped a few weeks later - no harm done.

ccarpenton Sat 17-Nov-12 20:24:20

DAP has always worked for us. We have a very nervous collie. I bought some herbal stuff off a website that has worked wonders. Especially on fireworks night.

There is no need for heavy drugging unless lighter avenues have failed. I think your vet is very wrong to jump to diazapam instantly.

If I find the website I bought the herbal stuff from, I'll post it. Calmeeze or something I think? I'm not at home so can't check the box.

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