1. Confine your pet to a safe, indoor environment.
  2. Contact your veterinarian.
  3. Your veterinarian may instruct you to induce vomiting, however, do not induce vomiting unless instructed to. Vomiting can be dangerous if your pet is already starting to show clinical signs of changes in mentation or behaviour.


Alprazolam (Xanax), Diazepam (Valium, Ducene, Antenex), Midazolam (Versed), Oxazepam (Serax, Serepax, Murelax, Alepam), Nitrazepam (Mogadon, Alodorm), Temazepam (Restoril,Euhypnos, Normison, Temaze), Lorazepam (Ativan), Flurazepam (Dalmane), Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol, Hypnodorm), Clonazepam (Klonopin, Rivotril), Bromazepam (lexotan).




Clinical signs are dose dependent, meaning that they get more severe with increasing dosage of drug ingested/injected. Clinical signs usually appear within two hours, but this varies with type and dose of benzodiazepine, route of administration (oral or injected), the animal’s health condition and concurrent medications.

  • Depression
  • Dullness
  • Stuporous
  • Coma
  • Lethargy
  • Uncoordinated gait (ataxia)
  • Disorientation
  • Respiratory depression (decreased breathing rate)
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Abnormal eye movements (nystagmus)
  • Increase in thirst (polydipsia)
  • Increase in urination (frequency and volume) (polyuria)
  • Less commonly, some animals develop hyperactivity, agitation and excitement.


Benzodiazepines slow down the brain and central nervous system. Patients with liver and kidney disease may have more trouble metabolising and excreting this drug, and are therefore more vulnerable to overdose.


Your veterinarian may administer activated charcoal to absorb any unbound toxin. The main treatment of these overdoses is supportive care like intravenous fluid therapy for maintenance of blood pressure, supplemental oxygen, close monitoring of vital signs and heart rhythm. In severe cases, your pet may need to be intubated to maintain its airways and/or hooked up to a ventilator.


BSAVA (2012) BSAVA/VPIS Guide to Common Canine and Feline Poisons. Gloucester: BSAVA.

Malouin A &Boller M (2009) Sedatives, muscle relaxants and opioids toxicity. In: Small Animal Critical Care Medicine. Silverstein DC & Hopper K (eds.). Missouri, USA: Saunders Elsevier.

Plumb DC (2011) Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook 7thEdn. Iowa, USA:Wiley-Blackwell