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Gabapentin For Dogs: What Are The Side Effects?

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Gabapentin For Dogs: What Are The Side Effects?

When your dog is in pain all you want to do is help them as fast as you can. Nerve pain and seizures in your best friend can break your heart when you don’t know what to do.

But you can ease the suffering if you know what your dog needs to stay happy and healthy. Vets have all sorts of solutions for different illnesses, and a common treatment for seizures and pain in dogs is Gabapentin.

When your vet prescribes Gabapentin, it can be overwhelming and confusing if they don’t have time to fully explain the drug. In this article, we will break down every question you could have, and explore whether the use of Gabapentin is the right choice for dogs' experience with chronic pain.

What Is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is a drug used to treatseizures, chronic pain, and nerve pain. Often given to humans with these symptoms, vets have recently begun prescribing it for dogs in distress as well. Although, you should know that Gabapentin is not FDA approved in dogs and is given “off-label.”

Gabapentin is also used to treat neuropathic pain, which is when usually non-painful stimulation causes discomfort. This medication can even help dogs suffering from epilepsy.

Gabapentin does not just block the pain receptors in the brain but fully relaxes the whole nervous system to stimulate deeper healing. This can make Gabapentin for dogs is a good choice for pain management when you need long-term care.

Is Gabapentin Safe For Dogs?

Like most medications, the use of Gabapentin for dogs is safe when you are closely monitoring the dosage and strength as prescribed by your vet. In general, this drug is considered safe for dogs and a good way to treat serious issues.

It is important to treat the right conditions with the right medication. If your dog has been diagnosed with depression or insomnia, make sure your vet knows this, as Gabapentin could be too strong when combined with medications for these conditions.

Never give human-grade Gabapentin to a dog as it contains Xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of Xylitol can be extremely harmful, possibly leading to death. If you run out of your vet-prescribed medicine early, do not supplement it with anything but what your vet has approved.

The bottom line is that you always need to consult your vet and place your dog on a plan that is tailored to their specific needs. 

When Is Gabapentin Prescribed For Dogs?

Since Gabapentin can be used to treat so many conditions, from arthritis to seizures, there are many situations when it is appropriate.

When dogs are recovering from surgery this drug can ease the pain and speed the healing process. A relaxed animal is less likely to pull out stitches or cause secondary complications from surgery. Due to its calming effects, Gabapentin can even be given to a fearful pup before a trip to the vet.

Gabapentin is also a known way to ease the symptoms of refractory seizures (seizures which haven't responded to other medications) and epilepsy. It may be prescribed on its own or alongside other antiepileptic drugs. 

It is also used in the treatment of chronic pain in dogs, especially that deemed to be of neuropathic origin. It's thought to be most effective when used in conjunction with other analgesic agents like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). 

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Gabapentin Dosage For Dogs

For whatever reason your dog needs Gabapentin, you must make sure you’re giving the proper amount. The condition your dog is experiencing will affect the dosage levels. For example, the amount needed to treat seizures should not be equated with nerve pain.

You and your vet need to work together to understand what your buddy needs. Gabapentin for dogs generally comes in smaller 100mg and 300mg dosages — the exact dose will correspond to your pet's build and illness. Larger breeds in general need larger doses than small pups. Height, weight, and breed all contribute to figuring out the proper dosage.

Once your dog starts taking Gabapentin, it gets to work fairly quickly. Within one hour you should begin to see results, e.g. they behave more like their normal selves when not in distress. If they are still exhibiting pain symptoms after an hour or two after the dose was taken, do not administer another dose of the medication without consulting your vet.

One downside of Gabapentin is that it typically wears off in about 24 hours, meaning it may need to be administered every day to maintain results.

The medication is administered in pill form and works the fastest on an empty stomach, but if your dog has a hard time swallowing pills, then they can be taken with food as well.

Generally, a vet will start with the smallest dosage and adjust until the drug is working properly. You and your vet will determine the maximum possible dosage to prevent overdose from this drug.

Possible Gabapentin Side Effects In Dogs

Every medicine is going to come with some side effects. Understand the side effects of this drug so you don’t mistake the signs with something else. 

Ask your vet if your pet is at high risk for any of these possible negative reactions:

While intense side effects are rare, at the first sign of these serious symptoms you should cease giving Gabapentin and call your vet. You may have to alter the dosage levels or even find another drug or pain management option. 

Let your vet know any and all drug allergies your dog has. Discuss a full medical history as well, especially any kidney issues or past renal failure. The vet will also need to know any other medications or supplements your dog takes, as Gabapentin could complicate or interfere with other substances.

Keep your eyes out for the possibility of an overdose. While generally not too dangerous, here are the main symptoms to be on the lookout for:

  • Sedation
  • Sudden diarrhea
  • Oversleeping
  • Bulging eyes
  • Falling over

If your pup exhibits any side effects from taking this drug, weigh the effects of Gabapentin for dogs against the possible consequences. Only give your fluffy friend what you and their doctor think will make them feel better and happy, and drugs are not always the answer!

Alternatives To Gabapentin For Dogs

If you are uncomfortable giving your dog medicine that is not FDA approved, there are safe, natural alternatives out there. 

In the past few years, CBD, or cannabidiol, has become a very popular option among pet owners to treat discomfort in pets. CBD activates serotonin receptors and helps your pooch relax, and has anti-inflammatory properties to help ease joint and nerve pain. CBD can be a great option to treat mild issues without the need for pharmaceuticals.

The anti-anxiety properties in CBD are a great way to calm your best friend on a trip to the vet without any side effects at the correct dosage. If medication doesn't seem like the right choice for your pet at this point, explore some natural options.

Innovet Pet has all the CBD options you could want. From 100% Full Spectrum Golden CBD Oil to soothing CBD infused balms. Check out our CBD pet range today to find out what's best for your canine companion.

Do The Best For Your Pet

Innovet Pet was founded by dog lovers, and we know just how hard it is to see your dog suffering. That’s why we guarantee our products will help ease discomfort.

We work with vets to make sure all our products are 100% pet-safe. So, if you're unsure that prescribed medication is right for your dog, try our natural CBD solutions.

Sources:

The adverse effect profile of gabapentin in dogs
dogs undergoing mastectomy
Gabapentin and Amantadine for Chronic Pain
Gabapentin for Dogs
Gabapentin

 

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.

 

Thanks for stopping by!
P.S. We Love You!

Sincerely,
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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