It is that time of the year again when, in Aruba, we celebrate the closing of the year with fireworks that drive our pets crazy.

For years people would go to the veterinarian and pick up a pill that they would give to their dogs to sedate and tranquilize them. Yet, until a few years ago an article was published about the drug Acepromazine, which was one of the most popular in the market for dogs.

Turns out that according to the article, Acepromazine used to sedate fearful animals is not really that good an idea.

What is Acepromazine?

Acepromazine is a phenothiazine tranquilizer and its primary method of action is as a Dopamine antagonist, which suppresses both normal and abnormal behavior, including a decrease in coordinated locomotor responsiveness…. but what does that mean?

Acepromazine is not an anti-anxiety drug and does not provide any pain relief, and while under the effect of Acepromazine the animal can feel very strong fear, anxiety and avoidance or arousal response, but the drug does not allow them to physically display these reactions.

In other words: Yes, the dog appears calm and relaxed but mentally is lucid and is having an intense emotional reaction to its surroundings.

Acepromazine is a dissociative agent and prevents the dog from understanding his environment in a logical manner. So, the actual fear level of the animal is increased while the animal seems ‘out of it’, which means they are having an intense emotional reaction while immobilized.

Even worse, Acepromazine can cause increased noise sensitivity and startle response, muscle spasms, excitation, sudden aggression, and even unconsciousness.

To put this in human perspective, imagine having a heightened noise sensitivity and not being able to move while firecrackers explode around you.

What Can We Do To Help Then?

Our research indicated that there are more natural options like Valerian drops (Valerian is a sedative herb that relieves tension, anxiety, and over-excitability in dogs) or Melatonin drops (Melatonin is a hormone that naturally rises in the bloodstream when animals sleep).
Find the quietest room you can put your dogs in and play some background music.

The usual dosage of melatonin for dogs depends on size.

  • Dogs less than ten pounds should take 1 mg.
  • Dogs ten to 25 pounds usually take 1.5 mg.
  • For dogs 26 to 100 pounds, 3 mg is recommended.
  • Dogs over 100 pounds may take 3 to 6 mg.

You should not administer these dosages more than 3 times per day.

Preparations for dogs will give specific dosing instructions for that product, so follow the bottle or package in those cases.

When giving a human preparation to a dog, convert the dosage dividing your dog’s weight in pounds by 150 (using 150 lbs. as the average weight of an adult), giving you a percentage that you can use to determine the proper dose.

If your dog is 30 lbs., dividing 30 by 150 gives you 0.2, or 20 percent. You would then give your dog 20 percent of an adult dose of the Valerian preparation. A liquid tincture may suggest a dose of 30-40 drops for an adult, so a 30 lb. a dog would get 20 percent of the lower amount (always erring on the side of caution), or six drops.

January 1, 2021 is just around the corner, and we hope for you and your loved ones the best during this new beginning and a new year full of hope, warmth and love… Even for your furry loved ones!

Happy New Year from everyone at Nature’s Discount.