side effects of tramadol for dogs & alternatives

Tramadol For Dogs Side Effects & Tramadol Alternatives

Side Effects Tramadol For Dogs Alternatives

What Is Tramadol for Dogs?

Tramadol is a pain medication for dogs. It is a member of the opioid family. This means, tramadol alters the perception and transmission of pain.

Tramadol works by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine in the dog’s brain. This action increases the level of the said chemicals, creating a feeling of euphoria that relaxes and calms.

Tramadol is used to manage pain caused by:

  • Surgery
  • Injury
  • Cancer
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Non-surgical intervertebral disc disease
  • Lameness

Tramadol is not only used to manage or treat pain. It is also used to help dogs with cough and anxiety. It even helps with managing canine degenerative myelopathy, which is a progressive spinal cord disease.

Tramadol should not be given to dogs that have/are:

  • Lactating/ Nursing and pregnant
  • History of recent seizures
  • History of hypersensitivity to opioid
  • Kidney or liver disease

Main Ingredient in Tramadol

The active ingredient of tramadol is tramadol hydrochloride.


Dosage of Tramadol for Dogs

The recommended dosage of tramadol for pain management is 0.45 to 1.8 milligrams (mg) per pound of body weight. This is to be given every 8 to 12 hours. For treating cancer, the same dose is given every 6 hours.

Tramadol is sold in 50mg tablets. In administering the drug, never crush the tablet. This will decrease the effectiveness of the drug. It is also important to give the right dose to avoid overdose.

The following are signs of tramadol overdose:

  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Shallow breathing
  • Fainting
  • Coma

If you suspect that an overdose has happened, contact an emergency veterinarian immediately.

Cost of Tramadol

The base price for a single 50mg tablet of tramadol is $0.79. But, of course, the price varies depending on the manufacturer and pharmacy.

A bottle of 10 tablets costs around $11. A 50-tablet bottle of tramadol costs around $18. A bottle containing 100 tablets of the drug costs around $25.

Side Effects of Tramadol

Tramadol, just like any other drug, can cause adverse reactions or side effects. One of the most common side effects of tramadol is sedation. The following are other tramadol side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach Upsets
  • Seizures
  • Constipation or Diarrhea
  • Behavioral changes and anxiety
  • Lack of coordination
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors

The side effects also depend on how the dog reacts to the medication. For example, some dogs may be allergic to the medication. Sneezing, rashes or hives, swelling, and strained breathing are signs that a dog is allergic to tramadol.

If you’re giving your canine companion tramadol for the first time, observe how he will react. This is to check if he is allergic to it.

Another adverse reaction of tramadol is addiction. For dogs that have been using tramadol for a long time, their chances of getting addicted to the drug is higher. This is because of the drug’s opioid content.

It is best to talk to a veterinarian for other medications that can help prevent your dog from getting addicted.

Tramadol’s Interaction with Other Drugs

Tramadol should not be given with medications that increase serotonin levels. This can cause serotonin syndrome that may lead a dog to be restless, as well as to shiver or twitch. In some cases, the dog may become sedated. This can lead the dog to be unconscious and eventually die.

Muscle relaxants and other pain medications should likewise not be given with tramadol. This can decrease the effectiveness of the said drug.

Tramadol should never, under any circumstances, be combined with warfarin. This is because tramadol can increase the digoxin toxicity and anticoagulant effect of the blood-thinning medicine.

Carbamazepine decreases the analgesic efficacy while increases the metabolism of tramadol. There are also medicines that alter the ratio of tramadol to M1. An example of this is Quindine, which interferes with the metabolism of tramadol.

Note as well that antidepressants react negatively with tramadol. Examples of dog antidepressants are:

  • Mitaban
  • Amitriptyline
  • Anipryl
  • Prozac
  • Acepromazine
  • Clomicalm

Tramadol Alternatives

There are other medicines and natural treatments that can be given to manage pain. The following are several great examples:


Arnica is a flowering European plant. It belongs to the same family as sunflowers. This plant is slightly toxic but can be used to relieve pain and treat inflammation.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Chondroitin and glucosamine are healthy cartilage compounds. These are found in shells and in the cartilage. These compounds help promote joint health, as well as fight pain and inflammation related to arthritis.

Glucosamine treats joint inflammation by producing more synovial fluid and cartilage. Once the inflammation is treated, the pain is also managed.

Yucca Extract

This is extracted from the Yucca plant, which is native to Central America and South America. This plant contains saponins in their roots. Saponins are compounds that reduce inflammation and ease pain.


This is a mineral found in fish oil and phytoplankton. Omega-3 is, in fact, essential to overall health and well-being, aside from being a potent solution to inflammation.


Part of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is done by sticking tiny hair-like needles into the right points. Acupuncture balances the yin and yang energies in the body. Many conditions can be treated by this method. It is non-surgical and also effective.


This therapy involves a purpose-built pool where dogs will swim. Hydrotherapy helps dogs with pain due to stiff joints. Hydrotherapy also supports the joints by helping build muscle mass.


This is one of the best alternatives to tramadol. Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is also known as hemp oil. This is extracted from the hemp plant.

CBD oil has cannabinoids that help ease pain. It works by activating the endocannabinoid system of the dog.

CBD is used to treat and/or manage many pet health problems. This includes colitis, cancer, osteoarthritis, anxiety, and gastritis. This natural oil also provides protection against tumor growth and diabetes.

It’s important to note that CBD’s sheer safety is mostly unparalleled, especially when compared to synthetic solutions to pain and inflammation. Vital organs, such as the kidneys and the liver, do not suffer from damage with regular CBD intake.

Despite that, however, be sure to consult a veterinarian before giving your dog CBD. Proper dosing is still necessary to minimize or avoid side effects.



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