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Gabapentin for Dogs – Safe Pain Relief

Gabapentin (Neurontin) for dogs was originally formulated for people to treat seizures. Veterinarians began using it when they discovered it also helped animals with pain.

It is sometimes used as a booster drug to amplify the effects of narcotic pain medication and/or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. 

This drug, which can be used as an add-on, or booster drug, helps to lessen the more severe side-effects of narcotics.  It also eliminates the need to over-prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication in dogs and works directly on pain signals.

In this post, you will learn why gabapentin is prescribed to dogs, what side effects to watch for, and how to safely wean your dog when/if the time comes. 

Have a look at alternative medications in the gallery below:

Gabapentin Dosage for Dogs

The average dosage is 5 to 14 mg per pound. Veterinarians may recommend administering the drug every 8 to 12 hours.

The medication is available in 100 mg and 300 mg capsules,.

This drug doesn’t block pain the way a narcotic would. Instead, the mechanism of action in the nervous system is to follow pain pathways and alter the dog’s experience of them.  In other words, the dog has a different perception of pain.

Pain Control Helps Improve a Dog’s Quality of Life

Dogs are pretty good at hiding pain from us but there are a few telltale signs including poor appetite, depression, lack of enthusiasm for play, withdraws, sleeps more (or less), or becomes irritable and aggressive.  

It’s important to note that some drug interactions can occur.

Gabapentin should not be taken if your dog is already taking products containing aluminum carbonate, aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate, ginkgo, morphine, and others. Your veterinarian should have an up-to-date list of all your dog’s recent medications (including herbal supplements).

Other Interactions

This drug helps improve a dog’s quality of life by shutting down the pain receptors.  It works wonders on neuropathic pain and generally used to treat chronic pain in dogs.

A dog’s body takes longer to heal when in constant pain. That’s because pain often prevents the body from adequate rest. It can also inhibit the appetite and limit mobility, all of which slow down recovery time.

Gabapentin Side-Effects in Dogs 

Sedation 

I’ve read several anecdotal stories from dog owners online, and most of them make sense. However, some dog owners tend to panic when their dogs are groggy and “not themselves” while taking the medication.

Side effects in dogs are usually mild, but if it makes your dog too drowsy, the veterinarian might suggest  giving the drug in the evening before bed. Once your dog adjusts to the medication, the drowsiness should go away.S

Gabapentin for dogs works by amplifying the effects of other medications. It relaxes your dog so that he can finally get the sleep needed to recover. 

Gabapentin for Dogs sometimes leaves dogs feeling drowsy.
Gabapentin is used in dogs with post-operative pain, epilepsy, and nerve pain.

Incoordination or Dizziness

Your dog might be a bit wobbly for the first week or so. Side effects in senior dogs could include a dangerous loss of coordination or dizziness.  

Risks can be minimized by adding regular non-steroidal anti-inflammatories to the treatment plan. Since gabapentin and NSAIDS seem to complement each other, it’s possible to get away with a lower dose of both drugs. Talk to your veterinarian about it.

Peak side effects can occur within a few hours. This medication has a short half-life, meaning it doesn’t stick around in the body for a long time. For that reason, you might need to dose your dog two or three times per day. 

Nausea and Vomiting

There are a lot of drugs on the market that affect the gastrointestinal system and this is one of them. A little stomach upset is normal; however, if your dog is vomiting excessively, has dark, tarry stool or shows signs of allergic reaction (hives or difficulty breathing) acontact the veterinarian immediately.

Mild Nausea and Vomiting Can Be Treated

Check with your veterinarian about supplementing the drug with an over-the-counter medication that relieves nausea and vomiting. This should only be a short-term solution. Your dog should get used to the drug fairly quickly. After a few days, you shouldn’t need to administer anything else for nausea or vomiting.

My TOP CHOICE to relieve tummy upset in dogs is Tummy – a natural, electrolyte for dogs. Always follow the directions on the packaging, especially dosing.

All Natural Trusted Pain Relief for Dogs

Worried about giving Gabapentin to your dog. If your dog has mild pain associated with joint inflammation, consider VetionX, a top-notch company that provides quality products. You can even text their onsite veterinarian for help.

Some of the products I recommend include:

Arthro-Ionx Natural Dog Joint Pain & Mobility Formula

Gabapentin Dosage for Dogs 

The right dosage for dogs is  5 – 10 mg/kg, administered orally every 8 hours. This dosage (the International Veterinary Academy for Pain Management), is a guideline for veterinarians. Dosage may change depending on how your dog responds to the treatment. If your dog has epilepsy, the dosage for dogs is generally a little higher.

The formulation used for dogs is the 100 mg capsule. Since the drug is required by prescription only, you don’t have to worry…your veterinarian will know which one to administer.

For reference:  1 kilogram is the equivalent of approximately 2 pounds.

Reasons for Use in Dogs Include:

Osteoarthritis

Slipped Disc Pain

Post Operative Pain

Cancer Pain (to boost the effectiveness of other medications)

Epilepsy

The benefit of being able to supplement gabapentin with stronger drugs is the ability to limit the severity of side-effects in dogs.

When to Wean Your Dog

The answer to this is, simply, when the veterinarian says it’s okay. For dogs who’ve only been on the drug for a short amount of time (two weeks), there’s usually no need to wean.

However, if your dog has been on this drug for pain or other chronic conditions, he/she may need to take some time coming off the drug. This is especially true if your dog has seizures. Taking him/her off too quickly can cause a rebound in those symptoms.

Keep Your Dog’s Spirits Up

Dogs experiencing chronic pain often show signs of depression. Help keep your dog’s spirits up with some of these ideas:


Best Places to Buy Discount Gabapentin

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In this case, you’ll need a veterinarian prescription before you can purchase online. 

Ask the veterinarian for ethical, legit online pharmacies. You can also check with the National Association Boards of Pharmacy  to find out if a particular pharmacy is licensed. Click on the link above to find the Board of Pharmacy for your state.

Before your veterinarian phones or writes in the prescription, make sure you understand the instructions. 

IN CANADA, it’s illegal to buy prescription medications online. It’s happening because US officials are allowing it to happen, but it’s still illegal.

You might be interested in reading:  Diphenhydramine for Dogs – 7 Medical Uses

Veterinarian Clinic

Veterinarian clinics and animal hospitals tend to keep the most commonly prescribed medications in stock.  If this is the case, you can buy gabapentin there.

Veterinarian Phone In

Instead of presenting the pharmacist with a written prescription, your veterinarian can phone a local pharmacy known to have it in stock.

However, in the interest of saving money, you might be tempted to accept a borrowed medicine from your friends’ medicine cabinet, or your own.  The formulation prescribed for people is not the same.

When the Medication Doesn’t Seem to be Working

If you think your dog is still in pain, check with your veterinarian before giving an increased dose.

Veterinarians treat dogs on a case-by-case basis, and he/she might want to see your dog in the clinic to check for worsening of the underlying condition, weight gain (or loss), or any other side-effects. 

If your dog is on any other medications that he/she doesn’t know about (including vitamins and supplements), it’s important to share that information. 

Some drugs and herbal or natural supplements can interact with gabapentin in a way that reduces its effectiveness.

The Final Verdict

Gabapentin side effects in dogs are usually quite mild. The most common side-effect is sleepiness.  Occasionally, dogs are a little wobbly until they become accustomed to the drug. 

Although it is not FDA approved for use in dogs, veterinarians are still permitted to use it to treat pain.

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