What is Tramadol for Dogs?
Tramadol is a pharmaceutical drug first used in humans as a painkiller. This medication is a type of opiod commonly used for pain control by targeting receptors in the brain. It prevents the reuptake of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and serotonin. The presence of the norepinephrine in the blood is responsible for an increase in attentiveness and arousal. The presence of serotonin in the blood is responsible for an increase in vasoconstriction of the blood vessels and also happiness. Since Tramadol prevents the reuptake of these neurotransmitters, it allows for more norepinephrine and serotonin to travel through your dog’s bloodstream inducing pain relief. Although it is known for its pain relieving effects, Tramadol side effects in dogs can be quite serious.
What is Tramadol used for in Dogs?
Tramadol for Postoperative Treatment
Tramadol for Arthritis
Tramadol for Anxiety
Tramadol for Cancer
This medication is used to reduce pain after your pet undergoes a surgery. Often it is paired with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug called Rimadyl to reduce inflammation. Tramadol targets the brain to reduce the feeling of discomfort and Rimadyl is used to prevent inflammation of surgical wounds. The combination of these two drugs allow your pet to have a smooth recovery after surgery.
Arthritis is the inflammation of the joints causing pain and immobilization. Dogs with arthritis are commonly prescribed tramadol to deal with joint pain. Often dogs will refuse to get up from their beds due to the agonizing pain from arthritis. Tramadol helps to relieve this pain to increase mobilization. Similar to its use in postoperative treatment, Rimadyl for dogs is also prescribed with Tramadol for arthritis and to reduce joint inflammation.
Dogs can get anxiety due to fear, separation, and various environmental changes. Anxious canines will often bark excessively, become restless, be aggressive, or have compulsive behaviors. Dogs that struggle with anxiety will be prescribed with Tramadol to relieve these symptoms. This medication is usually administered an hour before your dog is introduced to a stressful situation such as a trip to the veterinarian.
Cancer can negatively affect the quality of life for your dog. Growth of tumors can cause your dog to experience pain. Although Tramadol cannot treat cancer, it can be used to reduce cancer pain and enhance the quality of life. For cancer treatment, Tramadol is commonly used with NSAIDs such as Rimadyl to increase the effectiveness of the treatment.
Tramadol Dosage for Dogs
Your veterinarian will prescribe Tramadol based on a number of factors that include your dog’s weight, severity of pain, and pre-existing conditions in regards to liver health. Usually the veterinarian will prescribe 0.45 to 1.8mg of Tramadol per pound of body weight that will be administered to your dog every eight to twelve hours. Again, this is just an average and you must look to your veterinarian for correct dosages specific to your dog due to the consideration of other factors described above. Tramadol can be given to your dog with and without food.
It is important to follow the instructions of your veterinarian because overdose can be fatal for your dog. Immediately contact your veterinarian if your dog experiences any one of these overdose symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Excessive drooling
- Inability to stay awake
Side Effects of Tramadol for Dogs
Chronic usage of Tramadol can result in some serious side effects for your dog. Always keep in mind the risks of using a pharmaceutical drug. Tramadol side effects in dogs can negatively affect your dog’s health by causing symptoms such as:
- loss of appetite
- upset stomach
According to NIH, Tramadol for humans can affect the “cardiovascular system, dermatologic system, endocrine, genitourinary, and the visual system.” In the most serious cases for humans it could even cause “respiratory depression which may result in death” (Dhesi et al.). If a drug can cause these serious side effects in humans, then you may want to rethink giving this same drug to your pet. Generally, animals have increased sensitivity to pharmaceutical drugs than humans because of their mere size.
As stated in the scientific article “Biotransformation of Tramadol in Man and Animal” the breakdown of Tramadol in dogs is qualitatively identical to that of humans (Lintz et al.). This means that the same types of metabolites are created in humans and dogs after Tramadol is metabolized by the body but in varying amounts.
However, Tramadol is more quickly metabolized by animals compared to humans. Since Tramadol travels through your pet’s body and is broken down in a similar way to when it is broken down in a human body, it would not be a surprise that it can also cause serious side effects in dogs just like it does in humans. Keep in mind that you may observe Tramadol side effects in dogs when your veterinarian prescribes your pet with this drug.
Tramadol is part of the Opioid family and is known for causing dependence in humans. After prolonged use of Tramadol the body can experience withdrawal symptoms after terminating the use of the Opioid. Similarly in dogs, if your dog has been using Tramadol for a long period of time it is suggested to slowly taper your dog off of the drug to decrease the risk of your dog experiencing withdrawal.
Natural Alternatives for Pain Relief in Dogs
Please speak with your veterinarian before implementing alternatives to Tramadol for pain relief. Tramadol has many negative side effects that along with prolonged use can decrease the quality of life for your dog. We want our dogs to live the happiest life that can be given to them, therefore we recommend these natural and holistic alternatives.
CBD is a non psychoactive derivative of the cannabis plant known for its pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Scientists have recently classified CBD as a new class of analgesic and anti-inflammatory drug. It works by interacting with opioid and serotonin receptors. Opioid receptors regulate pain relief and serotonin receptors regulate pleasure. CBD targets similar receptors that Tramadol targets.
But unlike Tramadol, CBD can benefit your dog in many different ways. Some additional uses for CBD include reducing anxiety, preventing seizures and epilepsy, destroying cancer cells, relieving arthritis, relieving nausea, and improving cardiovascular health. The wide range of CBD benefits makes CBD a great alternative for Tramadol.
This type of therapy will help dogs with arthritis, soft tissue injury, neurological disorders, and those recovering from a surgery. The goal of physical therapy is to reduce pain and increase mobility. Experts will be able to develop a treatment plan for your dog specific to his or her needs. Some treatment options are heat and cold therapy, underwater treadmill, ultrasound, and cold therapy laser.
This ancient Chinese treatment has been used for decades to treat energy imbalances in the body. They claim that when the energy is balanced the body is able to heal itself. Needles are put into the body at specific points. This practice stimulates the nervous system and allows the body to naturally produce pain relieving molecules.
This ingredient is known as nature’s painkiller because it reduces inflammation that causes pain. Omega-3’s are found in fish and shellfish oils. Not only does it help with pain, but it is also found to boost immune systems. Omega-3’s are included in joint supplements for dogs because of its pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects.
This all natural ingredient is an anti-inflammatory that can help with reducing pain. Turmeric has other benefits such as treating arthritis, increasing appetite, and reducing bloating. Although Turmeric can be a beneficial supplement to include in your dog’s diet, it should not be used in replacement of Tramadol for moderate to acute pain.
Best CBD for Dogs
CBD is a 100% natural alternative to Tramadol and has no harmful side effects. We recommend CBD because of its naturally healing properties that will benefit your dog’s health in a long run. Here is an informative list of the Best CBD oils for Dogs so you can choose the right CBD oil for your dog’s needs.