My Dog Ate 1 Mg Ativan! Should I Be Worried?

Anyone who’s owned a dog, however briefly, will vouch for the fact they will eat anything.

And really, that means everything.

It has nothing to do with whether or not you feed them- and even less to do with whether the thing in question is even edible! From chalk to ear plugs, and LEGO pieces to latex gloveswe’ve seen it all.

Unfortunately, the list of things that dogs will eat also includes medicine- both human and canine. As you can imagine: Depending on the medicine, this can be a big cause for concern.

So now you’re wondering, “What happens if my dog ate 1 mg Ativan?”

Well, there’s good news: Unless your dog is a tiny or toy breed, one milligram of Ativan (Lorazepam) probably won’t have too much of a negative effect on your pup!

Lorazepam is sometimes used in veterinary settings as an “off-label” anxiety reliever, or even to treat seizures or other behavioral problems.

Recommended dosages range from 0.25 to 0.5mg per pound of dog body weight, so unless your dog is really very small it is unlikely to suffer from an Ativan overdose.

However, if it does experience any symptoms such as increased lethargy, nausea, vomiting, or agitation, it would be a good idea to take your pet to the vet immediately for a thorough examination.

My Dog Ate An Ativan Pill… Can Ativan Hurt Dogs?

dog ate 1 mg ativan
Nsaum75, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

We’ve all done it. You’re fishing for that morning pill, still half-blind from sleep deprivation, and promptly knock it right off the bedside dresser.

By the time you even get down to the floor, Rover has all but gobbled it up.

However, before you panic because your dog ate an Ativan pill, let’s look into whether or not the medication can hurt your dog.

As a rule, human medicine is for people, while canine medicine is for dogs.

Obvious, I know.

However, if your over-excited pup mistakes that 1mg tablet of Ativan for a treat, there’s actually no need to fret right away.

Ativan consists of a drug called Lorazepam. It belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drugs, which works by producing a calming effect on the brain and central nervous system.

It has a sedative effect not unlike that of valium, and is sometimes intentionally given to dogs to relieve anxiety in stressful situations (as you’ll see in the section below).

How extensively the Ativan will affect your pooch is determined by two main aspects, namely:

  • Weight of the dog; and
  • Dosage size.

Ativan is usually administered by vets at a dosage of 0.25-0.5mg per pound of body weight every 8-12 hours or so.

That means that if your dog is a hulking Great Dane, there’s a good chance that that 1mg of Ativan won’t seriously affect him in any noticeable way.

On the other hand, if you’re trying to supervise an excitable puppy that’s little bigger than the palm of your hand, the Ativan will be in their system much sooner.

Irrespective of the size of the dog, you’re going to want to monitor them for symptoms. Signs of Ativan toxicity can include:

  • Increased sedentary behavior
  • Dis-coordination
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Aggression
  • Agitation
  • Cardiac or respiratory depression

However, no two dogs are the same, and it’s important you remember to judge your dog’s behavior against its usual activity. For instance, it may be harder to spot increased sedentary activity in a dog that enjoys lounging in sunspots all day anyway!

What Should You Do If Your Dog Ate Ativan?

Black dog vomiting in grass

As already mentioned above, the weight of your dog majorly affects the severity of their response to the Ativan.

If you operate on the 0.25mg/pound rule of thumb and your 40 pound dog ate one mg of Ativan, there shouldn’t be much to worry about at all.

Your pup may be drowsier than normal, and perhaps a bit wobbly, but it shouldn’t affect them too badly. Monitor them throughout the day and notify your vet if you spot any worrying side effects like those described above.

If, however, your dog is closer to 4 pounds and you catch him eating one mg of Ativan, you will want to call the vet immediately. Treat it like a drug overdose and let the vet advise you on how to proceed.

In situations of accidental Ativan ingestion, the vet may advise you to try to induce vomiting.

Keep in mind that induced vomiting will only be effective if less than 30 minutes (and ideally less) have passed since the Ativan was eaten.

The procedure is usually carried out through the use of 3% hydrogen peroxide, which is administered at a dosage of one teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight.

The solution can be given straight into the mouth, though you may find it easier to mix it with milk or soak it in bread for your pup.

After the hydrogen peroxide has been swallowed, allow your dog to run around outside for around 10 minutes to allow the solution to bubble up inside its stomach. This should cause your pooch to vomit, but if it doesn’t do so within 15 minutes you can try a second dose.

Throughout this entire process, keep a close eye on any potential neurological symptoms that may pop up and don’t hesitate to take your dog to the vet immediately if they do.

Can a Dog Take Human Ativan?

Ativan blister pack
IntravenousRobbie, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Even though Ativan isn’t FDA-approved for animals, it often gets prescribed as an off-label drug for dogs. Consequently, there’s a significant overlap between your Ativan and the Ativan you feed your dog.

That said, that doesn’t mean you should turn around and start handing out Ativan tablets to your nervous dog the minute the neighbors start igniting fireworks.

Talk to your vet if you think your dog could benefit from Ativan. Do not give in to temptation and give them Ativan from your own supply or a previous prescription.

While Ativan can be given to canines, dogs that do eat even one mg of Ativan need careful monitoring.

If your vet does prescribe Ativan for your dog, the dosage level is crucial. You should never give your dog more than 0.25-0.5mg of Ativan per pound in an eight to twelve-hour interval.

Situations Where A Dog Can Take Ativan

It’s also important to note that there are sometimes good reasons for prescribing Ativan to dogs.

That means that even though Benzodiazepines can be toxic to dogs, at the right dosage they can ingest them safely.

Ativan or lorazepam is used by vets to treat dogs with:

Not only that, but it’s a safe alternative to Valium for dogs that are pregnant or nursing. In particular, it’s gentler on the liver than Valium and minimizes the possibility of liver damage.

How Much Ativan Can a Dog Take?

Since Ativan has various side effects, you ideally don’t want your dog to eat more than one mg of Ativan per twelve-hour period– even if its body weight and size suggest otherwise.

If the dog is larger, they could conceivably handle two mg of Ativan, but that’s the upper end of the recommended dosage.

It’s also important that if you’re giving your dog Ativan to reduce anxiety, to learn those triggers and give your dog his dosage before they come on.

Sources of anxiety vary from dog to dog, but common causes include:

  • Thunderstorms
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Traveling

Other Ativan Risk Factors in Dogs

Sick Golden Retriever in vet clinic

The other consideration if you catch your dog eating 1mg of Ativan is the allergic reaction that could occur.

Even if your dog is the right weight for a 1mg dosage of Ativan, you’ll still want to monitor them for signs of allergic reaction to the medication.

You should also exert caution if the dog that ate Ativan has a diagnosis for:

  • Kidney disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Breathing problems

Finally, be aware that even one unsuspecting milligram may react with other prescribed medications the vet has given your dog.

Call your vet if your dog accidentally ate an Ativan pill and takes medications such as:

  • Antacids
  • Digoxin
  • Fluoxetine

Other Medicines to Avoid Giving Your Dog

While your dog eating one mg of Ativan may not be the end of the world, other medicines can have a more serious impact on your pet.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen
  • Tramadol
  • Clonazepam

To reduce the chances of your dog eating Ativan or any other medication, avoid leaving pills out by your nightstand. Ibuprofen in particular has a sweet coating that is attractive to dogs- but consuming it can have devastating consequences.

Instead, ensure all pills are contained either in a durable pill case or their original bottle. However, because dogs are great chewers, it would still be best to keep those pills out of reach as you would with children.

Final Thoughts

Ideally, your dog should never get hold of Ativan unless the vet prescribes it.

However, accidents do happen, and when your dog ate 1mg Ativan your primary concern should shift to assessing the dosage proportionate to the size of the dog and any pre-existing conditions or medications it has.

While it may be scary that your dog has eaten one of your medications, it’s helpful to keep in mind that canines are sometimes administered with Lorazepam (Ativan) at a dosage of 0.25-0.5mg per pound of body weight.

Therefore, as long as your dog is within its dosage limits for its size, it will likely be no worse for wear.

Still, monitor your pup closely for signs of neurological impairment or allergic reaction such as nausea, agitation, vomiting, and lethargy.

If in doubt, always call the vet! An expert opinion never hurts, and it will help you and your dog feel better.

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