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5 Steps to Slowly Drift Away from Giving Your Dog Medications

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5 Steps to Slowly Drift Away from Giving Your Dog Medications

While pain reliever medications can be very helpful when it comes to combating many illnesses, they can sometimes cause more harm than good. This is especially so if your dog is taking them often as their body might become used to it and not work as well as it should.

You can't stop giving your dogs gabapentin cold turkey. Gabapentin works by interacting with the brain and spinal cord. If you just stop cold turkey, your dog could experience withdrawal symptoms, such a withdrawal induced seizures and rebound pain.

Because of this, it’s important to consider weaning your dog off of medications\ and instead to healthier alternatives, like CBD oil. This article will explore some of the problems medications can cause in dogs and five steps you can use to help slowly drift away from giving your dog medications to treat chronic pain or relying on other anti seizure medications.

5 Steps to Slowly Drift Away from Giving Your Dog Medications | Innovet Pet

Adverse Side Effects of Gabapentin Treatment

Medication can actually cause quite a few problems. Below are some common issues your dog might face if they tend to take many different forms of medications.

Behavioral Issues

Sometimes taking medications can actually cause your dog to have behavioral issues. This could include them barking more often than they used too, being irritable, and many other similar issues.

A Slow Metabolism

Another problem medication can cause in canines is that they can slow down your pet’s metabolism. Metabolism is important in dogs because it will give them energy. Without it, they will become very lethargic and not interested in doing the things they might have once enjoyed doing, like taking walks. While this isn’t to say that all medications will cause this, many do often slow down a dog’s metabolism because they use any energy your dog has to help fight off health issues.

This can also mean your dog is very lethargic and has trouble walking, running, or doing daily tasks. They might end up sleeping much more than normal as well.


Because any medication your dog takes will eventually make it to your dog’s stomach, it can cause irritation there. Medications can create sensitivity in your dog’s body which can leave them with a queasy stomach causing them to vomit often.


Another common issue medication can cause in dogs is diarrhea. This is especially so if your dog is taking antibiotics as they are known for causing issues in the gastrointestinal tract, like diarrhea and sometimes even bloody feces. Diarrhea also indicates that your dog’s body has some bad bacteria in it which is important to remove to help them heal properly.

Stomach Ulcers

Medications, like steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs, and can sometimes cause stomach ulcers in dogs to form. This is often due to the medication making their digestive tract a bit sensitive which makes it easier for these uncomfortable problems to form.

Irritated Skin

If your dog often scratches their skin or has some major skin issues, it could be caused by their medications. This is usually because the medication will cause sensitivity in the skin (especially if it’s topical) or an allergic reaction which can result in dry and red patches.

Liver Damage

Some medications, such as NSAIDS, can be a problem and cause liver damage in dogs. While this isn’t to say that your dog will automatically get this problem if they take medications, you do need to be careful. Liver damage is often caused when your dog’s body is working too hard to help break down and eventually remove the leftover pieces of medication from their body – a process the liver solely performs. If your dog is receiving too much medicine, it could cause their body to overwork which can eventually lead to liver damage.

5 Steps to Slowly Drift Away from Giving Your Dog Medications | Innovet Pet

What Medicine Can You Give Dogs?

Dogs can take many different types of medicine, like Prozac, Gabapentin, and Fluoxetine. These can help with problems like anxiety and seizures. However, these medications can have many side effects which can end up making your dog feel sick and lethargic.

Before giving your dog any medication, including oral gabapentin for pain relief, it is important to consult with your veterinarian. Some pain medication is safe for human medicine but is not safe to treat pain in pets.

How to Tell When Your Dog Needs to be Weaned Off Medicine

There are a few signs you can watch for so you can tell when to wean your dog off of their medications.

They are Lethargic

Medication can sometimes make your dog feel very tired and lethargic. This is often caused by the medication making them feel a bit sick and sluggish which can result in them not having enough energy to walk or play.

They are Having Seizures

Some medicines can actually cause seizures. This makes them very dangerous to give to your dog as they might only make their condition worse. If you find that your dog is suddenly having seizures, it might be a good idea to consider weaning them off of their medicine.

They Don’t Want to Eat or Drink

Medicine can sometimes stop your dog from drinking or having an appetite. This is not good as your dog needs water and the nutrients food provides for their body to survive. So, if your dog is suddenly not eating or drinking, you might want to wean them quickly off of the medication they are on.

5 Steps to Slowly Drift Away from Giving Your Dog Medications | Innovet Pet

Weaning Off Medications - How to Wean a Dog Off Gabapentin

A common medicine many vets give to dogs who suffer from seizures is Gabapentin. However, this medication is not FDA-approved and has many side effects that can hurt your dog, like excessive drooling and loss of coordination.

How Long Does Gabapentin Stay in a Dog’s System?

Gabapentin usually stays in a dog’s system anywhere from 5-7 hours.

How to Wean Off Gabapentin

Weaning off Gabapentin requires you to do so slowly. Ideally, you need to remove small traces of it each day until eventually your dog is completely free from it. Tapering off Gabapentin though requires patience so you need to be careful to not immediately take your dog off large doses of it.

Other Dog Prescription Medications - Wean Off Medications

Besides Gabapentin, there are many other dog prescription medications available to treat seizures and provide veterinary pain management. For instance, Prozac and Fluoxetine are common drugs given to dogs to help with anxiety and depression. However, some Fluoxetine for dogs side effects include loss of appetite, tremors, and vomiting.

How to wean off Prozac, on the other hand, is a little difficult. Weaning a dog off Prozac requires you to do so slowly as quickly taking your dog off of this medication can end up making their symptoms worse and sometimes even make them more anxious and irritated.

5 Steps to Slowly Drift Away from Giving Your Dog Medications | Innovet Pet

What is CBD?

One of the best miracles you can use for your dog is CBD oil. CBD, which is an abbreviation for cannabidiol, is just one of the hundreds of cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. CBD is located in the actual flower of the cannabis plant and is known for helping to calm certain receptors in the body. CBD is non-addictive and doesn’t contain THC which can cause extreme hallucinations.

Is CBD Oil Legal?

In all U.S. states, CBD meds for dogs is legal. This is because this medication oil doesn’t contain THC which causes hallucinations and other strong side effects. You can easily buy this oil online without fear of doing something illegal. 

The Benefits of Using CBD

There are numerous benefits that come with using CBD oil. Below are some of the main benefits you’ll discover.

It Calms the Body

CBD oil contains properties in it which work to help calm the body by relaxing the receptors in it. This means it can work to stop muscle spasms and anxiety because the oil will calm the receptors in the brain that contribute to these problems.

It Can Help the Skin

CBD can also help to heal your dog’s skin. This makes it perfect to use on dogs who have extremely dry or irritated skin. It helps to build up the fatty-acids, like omega 6, in the skin which can help with hydration. CBD will also work to build new skin cells which will prevent old ones from staying on your dog which can lead to dandruff and itchiness. 

It Can Stop Seizures

Surprisingly, CBD oil can help with stopping seizures and epilepsy. While it won’t completely take away the problem, it can work to calm the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain that cause this horrible medical issue. 

It Heals Inflammation

CBD oil can help to heal inflammation in the body. Inflammation not only causes irritation in the body but many medical issues as well, like liver problems. CBD oil will work to soothe the inflammation so your dog’s body can get back to working normally again.

Side Effects of CBD

While CBD is a safe thing to use, there are a few side effects you’ll need to be aware of. Below are some to make sure to watch out for.

A Dry Mouth

Sometimes CBD pills can cause a dry mouth in your dog. This is due to the oil drying up the saliva in their mouth. Because of this dryness, it can also result in them needing to drink more water to quench their thirst.


Because CBD oil is used to calm the body down, it can sometimes do so at an extreme rate. Because of this, you might notice your dog is a bit drowsy or tired often.

Low Blood Pressure

When CBD oil is used, it can make your dog’s blood pressure drop slightly. This is especially so if you intend to use a lot of it. You’ll need to be careful when giving your dog CBD oil as it could make them feel lightheaded.


CBD oil could cause tremors in dogs although this isn’t one of the most common side effects. However, it’s still important to stop giving your dog CBD oil if you notice your dog having them.

5 Steps to Slowly Drift Away from Giving Your Dog Medications | Innovet Pet

5 Steps You Can Use to Slowly Wean Your Dog Off Medications

If you’re ready to wean your dog off medications, you’ll find five steps below you can follow to help make this an easy transition.

Step One: Review the Different Types of CBD Oil

The first step you should consider taking is to review different types of CBD oil. Many CBD oils will contains various ingredients depending on the company that made them. For instance, some might be diluted and mixed up with coconut oil while others might be a pure form of this oil.

Some CBD oils are also organic. If this is important to you, make sure to check closely to see if a certain CBD oil brand contains all-natural ingredients.

While you don’t need to necessarily give your dog CBD oil to wean them off of medications, it’s still a good thing to consider. CBD oil can give your dog the same benefits as many medications, but with fewer side effects. Because of this, it’s a good idea to review the different CBD oil options to ensure you find the right one for your dog.

Step Two: Talk with Your Vet

The next step is to talk your thoughts out with your vet. It’s extremely important to discuss your plans with them as they’ll be able to help guide you on the correct CBD oil amounts to give your dog and the medications you might need to continue giving your dog.

Some questions you can consider asking your vet are:

  • What are the side effects my dog might have?
  • Is it safe to administer CBD oil to my dog to help them with their medical issues? What exactly is in CBD oil?
  • How much CBD oil is necessary to give my pet?
  • Are there are recommendations you have as to the brand of CBD oil I should use?

These questions can help to start an important discussion about your dog and their CBD oil usage. This way, you can make sure your dog gets the right amount of it but in a safe way.

Step Three: Slowly Start to Give Your Dog CBD Oil

Once you’ve talked with your vet, you can then start to give your dog CBD oil slowly. It’s important not to rush this because too much at once can be harmful. This will also help your dog’s body to get used to CBD oil.

To find the right amount to administer to your dog, you can talk with your vet. They can give you suggestions as to how you can slowly start to give your dog CBD oil. You can also check the back of the CBD oil bottle you buy as most have helpful guides (depending on your pet’s weight) you can follow to see how much oil to give them.

Step Four: Reduce the Amount of Their Daily Medicine

After you’ve done step three, you can now move on to reducing the medications of your dog. Before you do this though, make sure to talk your plans over with your vet. Sometimes your dog might need to be on certain medicines, such as for heart disease, and your vet can determine which ones if necessary.

Once you’ve talked it over with your vet, you can then start to reduce the amount of your dog’s daily medicine depending on their recommendations. This should be done slowly so their body doesn’t overreact to not having the medicine it’s used to having. You can start to do this every day until eventually your dog is completely off of their medication. Make sure to also include small doses of CBD oil so their body will still get important nutrients and relief.

Step Five: Be Patient and Continue to Adjust the CBD Oil Amount as Necessary

This step might be one of the hardest, but it’s crucial to follow. CBD oil will work slowly, and because of this, it’s important to be patient. It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks before extreme results will be seen. However, it’s believed that small results can start to be seen within 15-30 minutes after your dog has been given it.

If you find that after a while there doesn’t seem to be many results, schedule a visit with your vet. They might recommend you increase your dose or try a different method with the oil.

Do I Need to Use CBD Oil Only from a Bottle?

No, you don’t need to only use CBD oil from a bottle. While this will give your dog better chances of having the oil work more in their body, there are a few other options you can choose from as well. For instance, you’ll find some dog treats that contain CBD oil in them. This might be a good choice to consider when you’re first trying to wean your dog off medication as their body will start to get small doses of it.

5 Steps to Slowly Drift Away from Giving Your Dog Medications | Innovet Pet

Things to Keep in Mind Before Weaning Your Dog Off Medication

If you need to wear your dog off gabapentin for chronic pain or another condition, it is important to consult your veterinarian first. If you wean your dog off gabapentin or other pain medications too quickly, your dog could experience withdrawal symptoms such as withdrawal seizures.

As you start the process of evaluating your dogs gabapentin dosage, here are some things to keep in mind while taking gabapentin.

Always Talk with Your Vet

As always, before you stop giving your dog any medication, make sure to talk with your vet about CBD first. Some dogs might need to stay on certain medications to survive. You can keep the questions listed above in mind when talking with them.

Don’t Immediately Stop Giving Them Medicine

Also, sometimes immediately stopping certain medications can cause significant problems. In fact, your dog’s body can make them very sick if you do. Because of this, make sure to discuss your concerns with your vet and come up with a plan that will work to help safely wean your dog off of their medication.

Invest in a Good CBD Oil Bottle

It can be easy to only want to buy a cheap bottle of CBD oil as CBD oil prices can run very high. However, it’s best to invest in a good bottle even if it might be a little pricey. Cheaper CBD oils don’t always contain high levels of nutrients and other important components that are necessary for it to work well. For best pet CBD oil, the higher the price, the more likely it will provide ideal results. So, while it might be a little expensive, the investment is well worth it in the end.

Look for a CBD Oil Bottle Dropper

CBD Oil for Dogs

To help administer the CBD oil easily, it might be a good idea to find a bottle that comes with a dropper. A dropper can help you to measure the drops better and even pinpoint the areas you need to drop it onto a bit easier. While medications can help to heal many health issues in dogs, sometimes taking too much can causes problems for your furry friend, like lethargy and liver damage. Because of this, it’s a good idea to consider slowly weaning your dog off of their medications. You can keep the information above in mind as well as the five steps you can follow to help make this process go a bit more smoothly. While it might take some time to do this, the end result will certainly be worth it.


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Approved by:

Dr. Ivana Vukasinovic

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade

Ivana Vukasinovic grew up in Serbia and attended the University of Belgrade where she received a degree in Veterinary medicine in 2012 and later completed surgical residency working mostly with livestock. Her first year of practice was split between busy small animal practice and emergency clinic, and after two more years of treating many different species of animals, she opened her own veterinary pharmacy where an interest in canine and feline nutrition emerged with an accent on fighting animal obesity. In her free time, she acts as a foster parent for stray animals before their adoption, likes to read SF books and making salted caramel cookies.


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The Innovet Team

Please do not ask for emergency or specific medical questions about your pets in the comments. Innovet Pet Products is unable to provide you with specific medical advice or counseling. A detailed physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinarian are required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet requires emergency attention or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic health conditions, please contact or visit your local/preferred veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

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