Effective Pain Management with Dog Tramadol

Tramadol is a medication prescribed by veterinarians for pain management in dogs. It is an opioid and serotonergic agonist analgesic drug that has become immensely popular in veterinary medicine due to a wide therapeutic index. Physicians also prescribe this medication for humans for treating pains and aches. It is one of the safest human painkillers that can be given to dogs.   

Tramadol belongs to the opioid family of drugs. It works by altering the perception of pain as well as its transmission in both humans and animals. It also inhibits the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine in the canine’s brain thereby increasing the levels of chemicals in the bloodstream. 

Use of Tramadol in Veterinary Medicine 

Tramadol is primarily used in pain management. It is beneficial with acute to chronic pain management. It can be prescribed to help your dog recover from a surgery or for managing discomfort associated with osteoarthritis. Read this post to learn more about this drug. Tramadol is prescribed by a vet if your dog has one of the following causes of pain. 

  • Lameness
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Cancer
  • General pain from injury or any other condition 
  • Post-operative pain 

It is also recommended for conditions such as canine degenerative myelopathy and anxiety. This drug doesn’t have anti-inflammatory properties associated with NSAIDs. Rather than treating the cause of pain, it simply alters the way a body perceives pain. 

This further offers respite to the patient suffering from pain. It is also used in conjunction with other drugs such as Rimadyl and other medications used for treating chronic conditions.   

Side effects of giving Tramadol to dogs

Tramadol does have side effects. It is tolerated pretty well by dogs if the dosage is maintained appropriately. Some adverse reactions are noted in individuals. 

  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Constipation & Loss of appetite
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety & dizziness  

You need to contact your vet if your dog experiences any of these side effects. Overdosing can also result in adverse effects. Tramadol overdose can result in vomiting, tremors, lethargy, decreased heart rate, seizures, and sleepiness.   

What is an appropriate dosage for dogs? 

Tramadol is a class-4 controlled substance and can be purchased only with a prescription. The only way you can buy it is by having a prescription from a vet. The dosages vary significantly from that of humans. Giving anything to your pet without vet guidance could result in a drug overdose.  

Veterinarians carefully estimate the dosage of tramadol based on the weight of a canine and also based on various other factors. They carefully consider the pre-existing conditions as well as liver values for determining the dosage of the drug. Also, for acute pain management, the dosage is different from what it is for chronic pain management.

The usual dosage of this drug recommended for pain management is 0.45-1.8 mg per pound of the pet’s weight. It is usually available in the form of oral tablets and is administered by mouth. It should be given once in eight to twelve hours as prescribed by your vet. The dosage is more for treating chronic cancer pain in dogs. 

Care should be exercised in not exceeding the dosage. Provide plenty of water to your pet to drink. This drug should not be given without food. Speak to your vet if your pet experiences withdrawal symptoms after stopping this medication.    

Which dogs should not be given Tramadol? 

Although Tramadol is safe, there can be certain exceptions. As this drug alters the uptake of serotonin, it can also result in drug interactions. This drug can also pass to pups from their mother. In several cases, this drug has found to increase the seizure activity in dogs. 

You need to identify with your vet if tramadol would be the right medication for your dogs. It should be avoided if your dog is nursing, has kidney or liver disease. Though tramadol can help with pain management and improve the quality of life, do not hesitate to ask questions to your vet about this drug, if you have any. 

If there are any pre-existing conditions, then the treatment can be tailored for each canine patient. Follow this link to learn more about the side effects of this drug:  It is available in both immediate-release and extended-release forms. The vet would carefully consider the condition of your pet to suggest the most suitable form for the condition of your canine pet.    

Tramadol is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug and is quite effective and safe. However, the side effects can become potentially serious if care is not exercised in assessing the condition of the dog carefully. This opioid is immensely popular for its low potential for abuse and for its wide therapeutic index. 

In summary 

Tramadol is being increasingly used as an oral analgesic in small animals. It is primarily used for the treatment of pain in dogs. It has minimal adverse effects and has a wide margin of safety. There is sufficient data to prove that this drug can offer numerous benefits to dogs. 

Although its exact mechanism of action is not clear, it does work similar to morphine. It binds to opioid receptors in the brain that are responsible for transmitting the sensation of pain throughout the body. Overall, this drug is safe if the guidelines by the vet as well as the manufacturer are appropriately followed by a pet parent. 


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