Tramadol for Dogs: How and Why It's Used

Tramadol for Dogs: How and Why It's Used

Author WDF Staff


Is there anything worse than when our dog is in pain, and we can’t do anything to help them? Luckily, there are medications like tramadol that are safe for dogs. However, there are things you should know before giving your dog any medication, let alone one like tramadol. Deciding to medicate your dog without consulting your vet is usually not the best idea.

This medication is prescribed for various health issues, and dogs can benefit from it. It will help ease their pain, and it allows us to ease our best friend’s suffering. Here is some information you should really know before giving tramadol to your dog.

What is tramadol?

Tramadol is a synthetic medication used to treat pain in several different species. Most commonly, tramadol is prescribed to dogs, cats, horses, and humans. More precisely, it is a pain medication that falls under the opioid category. You should only use it with a strict guide from your vet and follow the proper dosage.

It is important to remember that the instructions on the labels are not explicitly written for dogs. So if it says one tablet every 12 or 24 hours, keep in mind that is probably not right for dogs. Your vet should let you know the correct dosage, or you can read on and find out what vets usually recommend.

Different brands contain tramadol, and the most famous ones are:

  • Ralivia®
  • Ultram®
  • ConZip®
  • Tridural®
  • Zytram®
  • Rybix®
  • Durela®
  • Ryzolt®

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Is tramadol safe for dogs?

Yes, tramadol is safe for dogs to use, but only if the dosage is correctly given. Some dogs can react badly to the medication, but that is not something unusual. No matter what drug your dog takes, there is a possibility they will react badly to it.

Tramadol for dogs is available in three forms; Capsule, compound liquid, or tablet. No matter the form of the drug your dog uses, the dosage should be carefully measured. Overdosing can happen quickly and can have fatal consequences.

Tramadol can be a useful drug in treating different problems and is usually prescribed for acute and severe pain. It is also prescribed for these conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Post-operative pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Injury pain
  • Canine degenerative myelopathy
  • Anxiety
  • Coughing

There are plenty of medications that can help your dog deal with pains. Check out this article that can tell you more about it - Pain Relief for Dogs.

It is essential to know that tramadol is not a drug that will treat the pain source. If your dog was injured, tramadol would not help heal the wound; it will change the dog’s perception of pain and numb it. It also doesn’t have anti-inflammatory properties, so it is mostly prescribed in combination with other treatments.

Can tramadol be dangerous?

Every drug can be dangerous if it is misused. There are some situations where dogs should avoid using tramadol, and your vet should tell you about them. Mixing tramadol with other drugs containing acetaminophen can be dangerous, so make sure you know which drugs your dog is taking. You can ask your vet if this is a safe option for your dog and if they might advise you not to give your dog this medication if your dog is:

  • Taking any drugs for Cushing’s disease (monoamine oxidase inhibitors like selegiline)
  • Has liver or kidney problems
  • Is pregnant or nursing puppies
  • Suffering from seizures
  • Taking serotonin inhibitors (drugs like sertraline, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, or paroxetine)

There is another popular human medication prescribed to dogs. Check out this article - Benadryl for Dogs.

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Side-effects of tramadol

All drugs have potential side-effects, and tramadol for dogs is not an exception. If you follow the vet’s recommendations, your dog will most likely handle the drug without problems, but there are some side-effects you should look out for. The tramadol side-effects include:

Correct tramadol dosage for dogs

It is important to know that tramadol is a class 4 controlled substance. It can be abused, and even the vet will have to keep an eye on every dosage they prescribe to their patients. They have to keep a close eye and report any suspicious activities involving this drug.

There are several things vets consider when calculating the correct dosage. Bodyweight should be the main thing, but vets should also include liver values, pain levels, and pre-existing conditions. Don’t ever try to decide and medicate your dog on your own.

The usual dosage can range anywhere from 0,45 mg to 1,8 mg per pound of body weight. The drug should never be crushed, and you should ask your vet how to accurately measure the safe dosage. You don’t want to end up overdosing your dog. If that happens, you need to know how to spot symptoms and notify your vet immediately. Here are the symptoms of tramadol overdosing in dogs:

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Respiratory depression
  • Sleepiness
  • Seizures
  • Excessive drooling
  • Ataxia (uncontrollable movement)
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma
  • Sedation
  • Agitation
  • Dilated pupils

You should never give any drug to your dog without consulting your vet before. Don’t take any unnecessary risks with your dog’s health, and ask your vet for advice on safely easing your dog’s pain.

World Dog Finder team

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