Tramadol For Dogs: Benefits, Dosage & Side-Effects Of This Pain Medication

tramadol for dogs

For millions of people across the globe, their dogs happen to be their biggest source of happiness, joy, and often a companion. You obviously want your dogs to lead a happy and healthy life, come may what. But you need to realize and accept the fact that all living beings are prone to sickness, be it minor or major health issues. This goes the same for dogs as well.

tramadol for dogs

Now, its become extremely difficult to understand if your dog is suffering from any physical pain, owing to the basic communication gap across diverse species. However, once you figure out the problem, you would automatically look for a reliable medication for relieving your best buddy’s pain. In this regard comes the whole concept of Tramadol for dogs. Is it suitable for dogs? How exactly does it work? Does it have any devastating side-effects?

If you have these questions in your mind in addition to several others, go through this article. Being a dog parent, I completely understand the trauma that you face when you see your furry friend writhing in pain. Therefore, keep scrolling down and learn everything you possibly need to know about Tramadol.

What Exactly Is Tramadol And Can Dogs Take Tramadol For Pain?

Tramadol is a veterinarian-approved and prescribed pain-relieving medication that is commonly dispensed to manage pain in cats and dogs. Were you just wondering if dogs can take Tramadol? Then, the answer is yes. But only strictly as per the vet’s instructions.

Actually, physicians frequently prescribe this drug to humans for relieving aches and pains. And, it happens to be one of the only few human pain medications that can be “safely” administered to dogs as well. Take a note that I have put “safely” under quotations because the safety of Tramadol for dogs depends upon a lot of additional factors apart from the dosage. For example, it depends on the breed of your dog, the dog’s BMI value, medical conditions etc.



Now, coming to the scientific definition of Tramadol, this compound is a member of the opioid family. Hence, it is capable of modulating pain in humans and animals by regulating the transmission and perception of the pain receptors.

Apart from that, Tramadol creates euphoria and a sense of well-being in dogs and humans. It does so by inhibiting the re-uptake of neurotransmitters in the dog’s brain. These neurotransmitters include norepinephrine and serotonin. As a result, this inhibition leads to increased levels of the mentioned neurotransmitters in the dog’s bloodstream which is essential for relieving pain.



The exact mechanism of the action of Tramadol has not yet been deciphered. But as per the research works conducted so far and based on the nature of the drug, it supposedly blocks the opioid receptors in the dog’s brain. Now, opioid receptors are essential for transmitting the sensation of pain. So once these receptors are blocked by Tramadol, the dog gets relief from the pain.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Tramadol For Dogs?

According to most of the certified veterinarians, one can use Tramadol for treating acute and chronic pain in dogs. The intensity of the pain ranges from moderate to severe. Now, the question is what does this indicate?

You can administer this medicine to your dog while he/she is recovering from a surgery. On the other hand, you can think of using this drug for treating something as severe as osteoarthritis in dogs.

Have a look at the types of diseases for which the vet is likely to prescribe Tramadol for dogs:

  • Tramadol is excellent for treating osteoarthritis in dogs.

  • Also, the vet can dispense this drug for treating Non-surgical Intervertebral Disease in your pup.

  • Again, many dog owners have witnessed the benefits of using Tramadol for treating cancer, lameness and general pain from any injury.

  • It can also be used for relieving postoperative pain in dogs.

Apart from the ones mentioned above, you can also opt for Tramadol when it comes to treating anxiety and coughing in dogs. You can also use it in the case of Canine Degenerative Myelopathy which is a painful progressive disease of the spinal cord.



What’s great about using Tramadol for dogs is that it does not have any anti-inflammatory properties that you would find in the NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Hence, Tramadol doesn’t actually treat the actual cause of the pain. Rather, it simply alters the transmission and perception of pain thereby instilling a feeling of well-being in the dogs.

For a better action, Tramadol is hence administered in conjunction with another medication which is usually an NSAID. Normally, carprofen (Rimadyl) is used together with Tramadol for chronic pain management in dogs as well as humans.

What Is The Most Important Thing That You Should Know About Tramadol?

Although Tramadol is one of those few human medications that can also be given to dogs, there are certain facts that you need to know. Unfortunately, there are several human case studies where the patients suffer from seizures after taking Tramadol. Therefore, do not even think about dispensing this drug to your pet pup in case he/she has a medical history of suffering from seizure attacks.

tramadol for dogs

On the other hand, if you are already using Tramadol for your dog, then do not stop it all of a sudden. It is because the withdrawal effects can be pretty serious, especially in the case of dogs. The symptoms of suddenly withdrawing Tramadol for dogs include anxiety, nausea, diarrhea, chills, tremors, and severe breathing troubles.


In case your dog is suffering from these withdrawal symptoms, consult your vet without any delay. See, these symptoms are, more or less, alike for both humans and dogs. And I believe it goes without saying that treating a human is way easier than relieving a dog’s pain. At least, a human can talk or make understandable gestures to let us know about his problem. Your beloved dog, on the other hand, cannot do this. Therefore, always stay alert and look out for these symptoms.

Be Aware Of The Side-Effects Of Tramadol

No matter how incredibly amazing a medication is, it can never be completely free of side-effects. While certain ill-effects are too prominent, others might be too minor to even notice. Although Tramadol can be an excellent pain medication for your pooch in the correct dosage, it might also leave behind some side-effects.


Have a look at the given adverse impacts of Tramadol for dogs:

  • Your dog is likely to suffer from vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite and anxiety after taking Tramadol.

  • Constipation, diarrhea, drowsiness etc. are observed in dogs that take Tramadol.

  • Dizziness and tremors are also quite common in Tramadol-treated dogs.

  • Now, these side-effects obviously vary in frequency and magnitude. However, it’s always wise to immediately call in a vet as soon as you notice these problems.

What Is The Proper Tramadol Dosage For Dogs?

First of all, never use Tramadol if your vet has not recommended or prescribed it officially. Keep in mind that it is a class-4 controlled substance that most definitely requires a prescription. It might tempt you to just give this drug to you loved pup when you can’t bear to see him/her in pain. But this can turn out to be the worst decision on your end. It is because the dosages of Tramadol required for dogs differs from that in the case of humans and also depends on the dog’s body type.

Certified vets prescribe Tramadol for dogs only after calculating the exact amount that is needed. For a faultless calculation, several factors come under scrutiny and consideration. This includes the weight of your dog, pre-existing health conditions, liver values as well as the source and cause of the pain. Needless to say, the dosage of Tramadol for treating chronic pain will certainly differ from that necessary for relieving acute pain.

For the sake of your knowledge, I would still mention some standard dosages of Tramadol for dogs.

  • In the case of relieving pain, one can administer the usual dose of 0.45-1.8 mg/lb of the dog’s weight. This has to be dispensed through the dog’s mouth every 8-12 hours

  • If your dog is suffering from chronic cancer pain, apply 0.45-1.8 mg/lb of his weight every 6 hours. Again, the dose has to be given via the mouth.

Take A Look At Certain Do’s And Don’ts While Giving Tramadol To Your Dog

It is extremely crucial that you never give the dose in excess of what the vet has prescribed.
You can give the medication to your dog with or without food but never crush the tablet.
Allow your dog to have plenty of water and never stop the course of the medication all of a sudden.

Which Dogs Should Avoid Taking Tramadol?

Talk to your vet unhesitatingly regarding the pre-existing medical conditions of your pet dog so that he/she can prescribe Tramadol altogether. Also, avoid using this medication for your dog if it meets the following criteria:

  • If your dog takes MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) for the treatment of diseases like canine cognitive dysfunction and Cushing’s Disease, never administer Tramadol.

  • Also, never give this drug to a pregnant or nursing dog or if the pooch has a history of seizures. Apart from that, dogs with liver or kidney disease and those taking SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) should also avoid Tramadol.

Other Drugs That Can Adversely Affect The Action Of Tramadol For Dogs

As mentioned earlier, be completely transparent with the vet regarding your pet dog’s medical history. Do not administer Tramadol to your pup if you are already using any of the following drugs:

  • MAO inhibitor such as Mitaban

  • Anti-depressant such as Amitriptyline, and Clomipramine

  • Warfarin (Coumadin)

  • Digoxin (Lanoxin)

  • Ketoconazole (Nizoral)

tramadol for dogs

This list doesn’t end here as there are several other drugs that can cross-react aggressively with Tramadol. Therefore, have a thorough discussion with your vet before administering Tramadol to your pet dog. If you make an uninformed decision, it can possibly do more harm to your dog than good. Hopefully, this guide has successfully answered all your queries regarding Tramadol for dogs and has given you a clearer perception.

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