Can I Give My Dog Zzzquil?

By Britt Kascjak

Is your dog incredibly anxious and you’re trying to find some way to calm him down?

Does your dog struggle to settle in and sleep at night?

One of the first medications that we often think about when it comes to sleep is Zzzquil.

This over-the-counter sleep aid may be effective for humans. But never give human medications without first talking to your veterinarian.

While Zzzquil is safe in the correct dosage for most dogs, this isn’t true for all. There are some health conditions that could make giving your dog Zzzquil a big mistake.

Can My Dog Have Zzzquil?

Zzzquil contains an antihistamine called diphenhydramine, the same antihistamine found in Benadryl.

For most dogs, a safe dosage of 1-2 mg per pound of body weight can be given every 8 hours. But, the important point in that statement is that it applies to most dogs, not every dog.

Like any medication, Zzzquil can cause a reaction in some pups.

This adverse reaction could range from mild discomfort to a serious health crisis. Especially if your dog suffers from medical conditions like heart disease.

Some dogs have the opposite reaction to antihistamines that you may have intended. Rather than calming down, it triggers hyperactivity.

If you are considering Zzzquil as a solution to your dog’s anxiety, contact your vet.

They will be able to address any possible health complications and recommend the right dosage.

What Can I Give My Dog for Sleep?

Are you looking for an immediate solution and don’t have time to contact your vet? If so, Zzzquil may not be the best solution. But, there are other home remedies to encourage your dog to relax.

Calming Treats and Supplements

There are many products on the market that were made specifically for dogs. They come in liquids, treat-like chews, and capsules.

You can find calming treats and supplements at any pet store or online pet retailer.

With a variety of flavors available, you are sure to find something your dog will happily take.

Chamomile Tea

Often referred to as “sleepy-time tea”, chamomile tea is a common relaxant for humans.

Luckily, this herbal solution is also safe for your dog!

Simply steep your chamomile tea in the same way you would when making it for yourself. Allow it to cool down fully before putting it in your dog’s dish to enjoy.

Not only is chamomile a light sedative, it can also help calm an upset stomach.


There has been a lot of debate about the use of essential oils with pets. This is largely due to the high number of oils that are toxic to your dog.

But, one oil that you can use safely with dogs when used in the proper concentration is lavender. The scent of lavender has been found to have a calming effect. 

Essential oils should never be used undiluted. The diluted oil can be diffused for an hour before shutting it off to control exposure.

Watch for any signs that your dog may be responding negatively to the oil. This could include excessive drooling, staggering, vomiting, or difficulty breathing.

If you notice a potential problem, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Photo of author
Britt Kascjak
Britt Kascjak has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering, and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. Her ‘pack’ includes her husband John, their 3 dogs – Daviana, Indiana, and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx.