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Unisom is a popular sleep aid, but is it suitable for dogs as well?
Straight to the point:
It also works on animals, but several versions of Unisom are easily harmful. The problem is certain active ingredients are downright dangerous for pets.
It is essential that you read the label carefully!
Some Types of Unisom Are Unsafe For Dogs
In particular, Acetaminophen (APAP) should not be given to your canine — at least not without your vet’s guidance.
Careful of Combo Meds
You have to understand something about Unisom:
Being a combination medication, it may contain APAP but also Doxylamine Succinate which is not really recommended for dogs either.
Providing this cocktail of drugs is a bad idea. Use the wrong Unisom and it could be seriously detrimental for your dog as toxicity is a very real concern!
Two Types Terribly Toxic
SleepTabs and PM Pain should be avoided unless your vet signs off.
They both contain Acetaminophen as well as Doxylamine Succinate.
They’re actually common Unisom ingredients that should be kept out of your dog’s system whenever possible. Otherwise, you’d unnecessarily expose them to a potentially dangerous scenario.
Humans have died from Doxylamine (see this Trinitas Hospital toxicity report) and animals have a greater sensitivity to the drug. Acetaminophen is even worse!
So which names are acceptable?
The appropriate antihistamine is Diphenhydramine. It has a sedative effect and is fairly safe for adult dogs when given in low doses.
Based on that active ingredient, you’d want to consider the following:
SleepGels, QuickMelts and Unisom Liquid
How Much To Give A Dog?
Once you have secured the right type of Unisom you will want to pin down dosage for your dog.
The following is only a general rule of thumb:
1mg per pound of the dog’s body weight
Play it safe and consult with a veterinarian for actual dosing. They’ll take into account several factors including, if need be, your dog’s medical history.
Alternatives and Diagnosis
We asked Sara Redding Ochoa (DVM) for her thoughts and here is what she said:
“Try a natural supplement such as melatonin or a CBD product if your dog has trouble sleeping or is experiencing restless nights. These will help calm your dog and tend to enable better sleep.”
But, there may be other factors to consider including a possibility that your dog could have a chronic sleep problem.
Get a diagnosis!
In any case, don’t be so quick to provide Unisom.
Consider a Lifestyle Change
Sometimes altering a dog’s daily routine greatly improves their sleep.
Is your furry friend getting outside and moving around enough?
The thing is dogs should be running, jumping and playing. It’s a way for them to exhaust themselves!
Unlike Unisom (all sleep pills really), physical activity can truly enable better sleep.
Last but not least, a poor diet can be a factor.
The Bottom Line
Dogs can be given Unisom, but some versions are off limits.
It comes down to active ingredients!
Diphenhydramine is pretty safe. On the other hand, PM Pain or SleepTabs could harm your dog.
And keep in mind that Unisom would only be beneficial on a short-term basis — it won’t solve a pet’s underlying sleep problems.
Confirm this info, and a correct dose, with a trusted professional prior to use.