Gabapentin for Dogs: Uses, Side Effects & Dosage

Gabapentin for Dogs: Uses, Side Effects & Dosage

Author WDF Staff

22.02.2021.


Veterinary medicine has gone a long way in treating different issues that can bother dogs and other animals. Now we can help our dogs effectively beat pain, control seizures, and treat their anxiety - all with one medication.

Gabapentin for dogs is a great drug that is gaining popularity among vets. If you are interested in learning more about it, stick with us, and we will let you know everything you should know about gabapentin.

What is gabapentin?

Gabapentin is a medication that helps treat seizures and pain in dogs and cats. It is a part of the antiepileptic and pain medication family that has various applications. It is usually prescribed in combination with other medications and is used to treat chronic pain and seizures.

Gabapentin is a human medication, and its use in veterinary medicine should be done under strict guidance. Remember that giving any type of medication to your dog is not a good idea if you haven’t consulted with your vet. Gabapentin is sold under different brands, and some of them are:

  • Gantin®
  • Progresse®
  • Neurostil®
  • Gralise®
  • Aclonium®
  • Neurontin®
  • Gabarone®
  • Equipax®

Is it safe for dogs?

The shortest possible answer would be - yes. But there are some things you need to know about this drug, and the most important thing to do is follow your vet’s guidance about dosages. Vets are not entirely sure how gabapentin works; they guess that it affects the nervous system’s calcium channels and affects the dog’s ability to perceive pain.

What is gabapentin prescribed for?

Gabapentin is used to treat seizures and nerve pain, especially from shingles. For full human use, you can check the WebMDs site. It is considered safe for humans as well as dogs. Vets prescribe it for pain and seizure control.

dog with bandage

Gabapentin for pain in dogs

The first reason vets might prescribe this drug is to treat chronic pain in dogs. It is rarely prescribed by itself; it is mostly combined with other painkillers like NSAIDs or opioids. Gabapentin enhances their effect and provides that extra bit of relief. Some chronic pain conditions can be:

  • Chronic arthritis
  • Hyperalgesia (heightened sense of pain)
  • Allodynia (feeling of pain from stimuli that don’t cause pain)

You can learn more about pain management in dogs in this article - Pain Relief for Dogs.

Gabapentin for seizures in dogs

Seizures can be quite scary for dogs and their owners, so vets might prescribe gabapentin as a solution. This medication acts like a neurotransmitter called GABA. It helps calm electrical activity in brain nerves. Some of the conditions this drug treats are:

  • Seizures
  • Anxiety
  • Idiopathic epilepsy
  • Pain from neuropathic disorders

This is a drug often given to dogs and cats to calm them before vet visits. Pets can get anxious when visiting vets, and this medication can make that visit more enjoyable for all parties involved.

Potential side-effects

Like any other medication in the world, gabapentin also has some potential side-effects dog owners might notice. The most noticeable side-effect of gabapentin is sedation. The first time your dog receives this medication dose, keep an eye on them and give them the dose before they go to sleep. You will probably notice your dog is getting pretty sedated. In case of oversedation, call your vet and adjust the dosage.

There are a few different forms of this drug available, and you should avoid giving your dog the liquid form. Liquid gabapentin contains xylitol, which is highly toxic to dogs. That is a terrible mistake you should avoid at all costs. Stick to capsule forms and the recommended dosages.

Some less common side-effects were observed, and there is a distant possibility that the dog is allergic to this medication. These side-effects are:

You shouldn’t take your dog off gabapentin abruptly. Make sure they get off of it slowly, so they don’t suffer withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your vet and ask for advice on how to stop giving your dog gabapentin.

Do you know why tramadol is given to dogs? Check out this article - Tramadol for dogs.

Gabapentin dosages

The first thing you need to understand is that the dosage is different. The exact dosage is decided on what condition gabapentin is treating. Make sure you talk to your vet about proper dosages and always stick to them. Even though the possibility of overdosing is little, there is no point in risking your dog’s health.

  • If gabapentin is given for treating chronic pain, the average dosage is 1.4 - 5 mg per pound of body weight. That means that a 20-pound dog can get 28 - 100 mg per dose. The vet will decide what dose is right based on how it affects your dog.
  • If this drug is used for treating seizures, the vet can prescribe 4.5 - 13.6 mg per pound of body weight. That means that a 20-pound dog can get 90 - 272 mg per dose. Again, the dosage will change based on its effect.

Keep in mind that medicating your dog on your own is not a good idea. Always talk to your vet before you decide to give your dog any sort of medication.

World Dog Finder team

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