Tramadol For Dogs: Uses, Dosage, & Side Effects

Tramadol is an opioid that can efficiently reduce and control pain in humans and is among the very few human painkillers that can be safely prescribed and used for pain management in dogs.

Veterinarians usually prescribe Tramadol for dogs suffering from osteoarthritis, intervertebral disc disease, lameness, post-surgical pain, cancer, injury, and pain due to other conditions.

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, Tramadol can be efficient in the management and treatment of moderate to severe acute or chronic pain in canines.

Keep in mind that unlike NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), Tramadol provides pain relief but does not treat the inflammation or other underlying cause of the pain.

It works by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, which provides a feeling of euphoria and changes the perception and transmission of pain in canines and in humans.

Since this medication is classified as a schedule IV drug and as such is considered a controlled substance that has a potential for abuse, you should never give your dog Tramadol without it being prescribed by a veterinarian for a specific reason. Also, veterinarians are warned to keep an eye for signs of misuse of the drug by the owners of pets and to report suspicious incidents.

You should always follow the instructions given by the veterinarian strictly because sudden stopping can cause severe withdrawal, and an overdose can be deadly to dogs.

Here is everything you need to know about Tramadol for dogs, including its effects, possible side effects, dosage, and other precautions.

Tramadol for dogs usage


Veterinarians may prescribe Tramadol for mild to severe pain management in dogs. Often, the drug is combined with other painkillers or opioids if the pain is severe.

It is a commonly prescribed painkiller for dogs that are recovering from injuries, surgery, or other painful medical procedures.

Tramadol is efficient in treating acute and chronic pain in canines and can be prescribed for painful chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis or cancer in dogs.

Since dogs can develop a tolerance for Tramadol after prolonged use, the painkiller is often combined with other similar medicaments.

It may need a few weeks to start working in cases of chronic conditions, and it is essential to follow the vet’s instructions exactly.

Tramadol for dogs dosage

You should always give your dog Tramadol exactly as specified by your vet.

The following guidelines are general, and the dosage may differ for every individual dog and case. The vets will calculate the exact Tramadol dosage for your pup depending on its condition, its weight, and another underlying issue it has.

Since Tramadol comes in 50-milligram tablets, your veterinarian will explain how to measure and administer the correct dosage.

The typical Tramadol dosage for dogs is from 0.45 to 1.8 milligrams per pound of the body weight, administered every 8-12 hours. In cases of severe chronic pain such as cancer, it may be prescribed and given every 6 hours.

It is vital to stick to the prescribed dosage because a Tramadol overdose can be fatal for dogs.

Some symptoms of a Tramadol overdose include shallow breathing, drowsiness, fainting, weakness, and coma. If you notice any of these symptoms and suspect that your dog has overdosed, you should treat it as an emergency and contact your veterinarian immediately.

Tramadol for dogs – possible side effects

The most common side effect of Tramadol for dogs is sedation. There are other adverse effects from the painkiller, some of which can be more serious and can require a consultation with your veterinarian.

It is important to inform your vet about any side effects you notice. The veterinarian may consider altering the dosage of the drug or switching to another medication if the adverse effects are worrying.

Whatever you do, you shouldn’t proceed to stop administering the Tramadol abruptly without the advice of a vet. Sudden stoppage of the drug can cause mild to severe withdrawal symptoms in some dogs, including tremors, vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety, and problems with breathing.

Here are some of the possible side effects of Tramadol for dogs:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Stomach upsets
  • Appetite loss
  • Dizziness
  • Seizures
  • Tremors

You should make sure that the veterinarian is aware of other underlying health issues that your dog has and any other medicaments you are giving to it, including supplements, herbal and holistic products, and over-the-counter drugs. This is vital, because Tramadol may counteract some of them, and may worsen the condition of the pup.

As with all other drugs, there is a risk of your dog suffering an allergic reaction to Tramadol.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction in a dog can include sneezing, swelling, incessant coughing, itchiness, breathing problems, and life-threatening anaphylactic shock.

If you notice that your dog is showing signs of an allergic reaction, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

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