Can I Give My Dog Unisom?

Can I Give My Dog UnisomUnisom is a popular sleep aid that’s sometimes given to dogs. Since this product was developed for humans, there is reluctance about using it on pets. In fact, most over-the-counter medications are not so safe for animals.

Before you administer anything, try to address the underlying reasons for your dog’s sleep problems. If you do decide to administer Unisom, understand that it comes in several different variations which could have important health consequences for Fido.

Generally when dogs have trouble sleeping, there are several options for addressing such problems. While Unisom may work, we urge you to consider alternatives. Let’s cover all the aspects of this drug as well as other approaches.

Can I Give My Dog Unisom? Answer: Some versions but there are better options

This product is not a long term solution, but when dosed properly it can generally work for pets.

There are different Unisom formulas which creates confusion. Certain ingredients in these products can be more harmful than others for dogs. Depending on the type of Unisom used, you could be introducing Diphenhydramine, Acetaminophen, Doxylamine Succinate or a combination of these into your dog’s system.

Try a Different Approach

To avoid the potential for toxicity, you might consider an alternative such as 3mg canine-dosed Melatonin. At the same time, try to treat the cause of your dog’s sleeping issues rather than just the symptoms. Most dogs sleep fairly well unless they are regularly experiencing chronic pain, in which case they should be treated by a veterinarian.

Variations of Unisom

Most versions of this sleep-aid are very similar to Benadryl. This is because the antihistamine found in both is called Diphenhydramine which has strong sedative properties. Assuming its use is appropriate, and that you provide a proper dose, your dog should be okay taking these products on occasion.

As a result, SleepGels, QuickMelts and Unisom Liquid are the safer types of this readily available brand. The other versions, known as SleepTabs and PM Pain are more dangerous because they contain Doxylamine Succinate and Acetaminophen, respectively.

Never give your dog any medicines containing either Doxylamine Succinate or Acetaminophen!

Unisom Dosage Guidelines

We do not like to recommend OTC dosage because there are many factors that go into dosing your particular dog. Generally, 1mg of Unisom per pound of body weight is sufficient. Liquid Unisom may be the easiest to administer. Speak with your vet before you do anything because the above is just a guideline. It doesn’t take into account other factors that only your veterinarian can accurately adjust for.

Consider a Lifestyle Change

When applicable, a lifestyle change could be very helpful for canine sleep problems before turning to meds for help. If your dog is just lazy or especially inactive, maybe they need to get outside more and move around. Dogs should be routinely running, jumping and playing in order to exhaust themselves. This, in turn, promotes better sleep as well as good sleeping habits. A poor diet can also affect their sleep.

It could also be that your dog has other health issues which prevents them from sleeping properly. Arthritis or other aches and pains can contribute to poor sleep. In such cases, you really need to get a proper diagnosis before your dog can be effectively treated. That should be done before you start depending on Unisom.

Conclusion on Unisom

Unisom can be used to help your dog get some rest but over-the-counter meds aren’t designed as a long term solution for people or dogs. Different versions of Unisom can be dangerous because they contain harmful chemicals. Never provide your dog with PM Pain or SleepTabs which are also marketed as Unisom. The only acceptable versions are those containing Diphenhydramine as the active ingredient. Confirm this information as well as a safe dose with your vet prior to use.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Johnnie December, 2015

My little 6 month old Schnauzer got a hold of one of my husband’s softgel sleeping pills and we are not sure if he ate it or not. You think he would be okay?


Riaboo February, 2015

My husband is a vet and his suggestion for my dog was one Unisom chew tablet. It’s an under dose compared to what they say is permitted but it’s fast acting.


Sunandan January, 2015

I need to give sleeping pills to my dog. He needs to sleep so I can cut his hairs. His age is 5 and his weight is 5 kilograms. Please let me know the medicine and dose.


James January, 2015

You shouldn’t be medicating your dog for this reason. Cut his hair while he sleeps naturally or have a professional do it. Best of luck.


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