Gabapentin For Dogs

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gabapentin for dog

Welcome To Your Complete Guide To Gabapentin For Dogs.

Looking At How It Works, The Dosage And Potential Side Effects.

Helping To Reassure You About Your Vet’s Decision To Prescribe Gabapentin For Dogs.

None of us want our dogs to suffer, but medications can also be a bit worrying sometimes.

Pain medications almost always come with overdose risks, and the potential for side effects.

In fact, medications in general can often fill us with concern when we read the small print.

This is kind of the nature of medicine though, and when our dogs are unwell sometimes a miracle risk-free drug that can help just doesn’t exist.

Our poorly dogs really do need medicine, and it always helps to research and learn a bit more about why they’re taking what they’re taking.

Today, we’ll take a look at Gabapentin.

One of many medications routinely prescribed to our dogs by the vet.

So what does Gabapentin do? How does it work? And, what are the risks?

We’ll look into these questions and a few more in today’s article.

First lets answer the question, what is Gabapentin for dogs? And what is Gabapentin used for in dogs?

What is Gabapentin for dogs?

Gabapentin is primarily an anti-epileptic drug, meaning it helps lessen the seizures caused by epilepsy.

Typically it’s used alongside other medications as part of a robust treatment.

This isn’t its only application, though.

gabapentin for dog

It’s also been found to be useful in the treatment of dogs with long-term chronic pain, usually when associated with a disease of the nervous system.

Gabapentin is commonly prescribed by vets for both of these reasons.

Some people have even suggested using Gabapentin for dogs with anxiety.

In the US, Gabapentin is not technically FDA approved for use in animals.

This isn’t any cause for concern, though, as this is the case for many veterinary medicines.

Use of Gabapentin by vets is covered under the AMDUCA, an act allowing vets to use human drugs on animals where appropriate.

How Gabapentin For Dogs Works

There’s still an active discussion about the exact mechanics of how Gabapentin works.

It is clear, though, that it blocks communication between certain nerves, and this seems to have a beneficial effect when used to treat seizures, epilepsy and some chronic pain.

In dogs, Gabapentin has been shown to significantly reduce the severity and length of seizures, which benefits unwell dogs enormously.

At this point, Gabapentin for dogs is widely prescribed for a range of issues.

If your dog suffers from epilepsy, it’s very likely you’ll come into contact with this drug.

So what’s the standard Gabapentin dosage for dogs? Does it differ from dog to dog, and based on what it’s being used to treat?

Gabapentin dosage for dogs

Ultimately, how much Gabapentin your dog receives will be up to your vet.

Dosages are tricky, especially in animals like dogs with such a huge range of sizes.

gabapentin for dog

We can, however, look at some of the information vets are provided with for a rough idea of how much Gabapentin we will be giving our dogs.

It’s really important to only take a vets advice on this though.

They could be aware of extenuating circumstances that would restrict your dog’s ideal dosage.

What the exact dosage should be depends a lot on what the vet is treating.

One study reduced the symptoms of epilepsy in dogs significantly by administering 10mg (per kg of your dogs weight) of Gabapentin every eight hours. 

So Gabapentin 100mg for dogs would be taken at this interval by a 10kg dog with epilepsy.

A much larger pooch might be prescribed Gabapentin 300mg for dogs.

This regular dosage helps keep a steady level of Gabapentin in the dog’s blood stream, as it can’t be used as and when seizures appear.

Gabapentin takes 1 to 3 hours to reach it’s full strength in dogs, so needs to be consistently re-dosed.

The changing doses of Gabapentin for dogs

If your dog doesn’t have epilepsy, but is in pain due to another condition like cancer, the dosing will change accordingly.

When it comes to post operative pain, Gabapentin seems to block some of the pain signals that the nervous system is creating.

The dosage does change though.

One study found a single dose of 10mg/kg of Gabapentin for dogs’ pain reliably reduced the amount of morphine dogs would need after an operation.

Gabapentin analgesia in dogs is widely documented, and it’s often considered by vets a way to lower morphine intake.

Similarly, with chronic pain, studies have found a single daily dose to be very effective.

This type of pain is often associated with cancer and other really nasty diseases.

So, the doses can differ hugely from dog to dog, depending on their medical situation.

If your dogs dose doesn’t appear to match any of the examples we’ve given do not worry.

Vets use guidelines but have to treat each dog on a case by case basis.

We can look at the same guidelines, but only your vet will know how much Gabapentin your dog needs.

So, how long does Gabapentin stay in a dog’s system? Does it linger on or dissappear quickly?

How long does Gabapentin stay in a dog’s system?

The length of time a drug stays in the system of an animal is usually discussed in terms of its half-life.

This means the amount of time it takes for the levels of a given drug in the blood to drop by half.

In dogs, it’s the same as in humans and rats — a period of 2-3 hours.

This means Gabapentin doesn’t hang around that long, but still long enough that regular dosing helps it to have a cumulative effect.

You may be wondering how long can a dog take Gabapentin since epilepsy can be a life long condition.

With epilepsy, Gabapentin for dogs is often taken as long as the pup needs it, which can be months or even years.

There are some long term risks like an increased risk of cancer, but a dog that’s suffering from regular heavy seizures needs this relief, so it ends up being a trade-off.

In the short term, when correctly prescribed, Gabapentin doesn’t seem to cause any real issues.

Except for a bit of dizziness, most dogs do absolutely fine on this medication.

So how will Gabapentin affect my dog? Lets take a look at Gabapentin side effects in dogs.

Gabapentin side effects in dogs

Absolutely no medication is without side effects, but the severity of them can differ hugely from drug to drug.

Side effects can also differ enormously based on the individual dog, it’s general constitution, and it’s medical history.

The most common side effects for dogs taking Gabapentin are to do with a loss of coordination.

Gabapentin use in dogs can cause them to appear unsteady, and they may also experience drowsiness.

Even if the effect seems mild, it’s worth checking in with your vet.

They’ll be able to establish if their symptoms are harmless, or if different medication should be pursued.

Even in the case of more severe-seeming side effects it’s very important that you don’t suddenly take away your dogs Gabapentin.

If your dog abruptly stops taking Gabapentin they can experience some pretty nasty withdrawal symptoms, including heavy seizures, and can potentially harm your dog long term.

So, how much Gabapentin can my dog take?

Overdoses actually seem to be fairly rare when it comes to Gabapentin for dogs.

There’s a high margin of safety, and though a dog that’s had a little too much might be dizzy and sick, they very rarely die.

With this being said, as soon as you notice your dog has had too much, get in touch with a vet.

The exact amount for an overdose differs wildly from dog to dog.

Can I give my dog human Gabapentin?

Most of us would be inherently wary of giving our dogs our own human medication.

But if you have your own Gabapentin, and your dog could benefit from it, you might wonder what the harm could be.

The truth is, this could be catastrophic.

The Gabapentin itself will have been prescribed at a dosage suitable for you, and if you use this to calculate how much your dog can have and get it wrong, you could seriously harm them.

Even with the exact dosage you could still harm and possibly kill your dog with your own Gabapentin.

This is because Gabapentin prescribed for humans often contains xylitol.

Xylitol and dogs

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is harmless to humans, and actually has dental health benefits.

This sweetener is found in chewing gum, sugar free candy, and occasionally even peanut butter. The problem is that xylitol is deadly poisonous to dogs.

A small amount that we would think nothing about can kill a dog very easily, so it’s best to give it a wide berth.

Xylitol does this by causing hypoglycemia in dogs, literally meaning a lack of sugar.

This might not sound that serious, but the glucose in your dogs blood needs to be at a certain level for them to do pretty much anything.

Xylitol in the blood stream is confused for sugar, causing your dog to release way too much insulin.

If the xylitol lowers a dogs blood sugar levels enough they will go into a coma and die.

It seems quite odd that something so innocuous to us could be such a potent poison for our dogs, but it really is dangerous for our furry friends.

This is something all of us dog owners should take into account when we feed our dogs unusual food.

The main symptoms of xylitol poisoning are lethargy and vomiting.

If your dog is experiencing these symptoms and you suspect xylitol poisoning you should get them to a vet as soon as possible.

Can dogs take Gabapentin?

Gabapentin for dogs is fine. When given exactly what they have been prescribed by a vet, at the dosage that is recommended.

Human Gabapentin for dogs or another dog’s left over Gabapentin is too risky considering what’s at stake.

We should be especially wary of giving dogs our own Gabapentin, even if they’ve been prescribed the same drug.

Humans and dogs can reap the same benefits from a number of different medicines and foods, but some things that work for one of us won’t work for the other.

For example, a dog wouldn’t think twice about eating a raw chicken breast, but this would probably make you quite sick.

Although Gabapentin functions pretty much the same in humans and dogs, we still shouldn’t give medication prescribed for one to the other.

This is always a good rule of thumb.

If your dog has been prescribed Gabapentin, it’s because he needs it.

Epilepsy and chronic pain are not things any of us want our dogs to go through, and this drug can definitely help with both.

So don’t worry about giving your dog Gabapentin if a vet has said so, as it’s side effects are infinitely preferable to frequent debilitating seizures and chronic neuropathic pain.

Have you used Gabapentin for any of your dogs? If so let us know about your experiences in the comments below.

References

 

30 COMMENTS

  1. We’re on a big dose, 400mg three times a day, 41kg blacl lab. The difference is noticeable in two days. She’s got chronic arthritis in her elbow and has been finding it increasingly painful to walk.
    Shes gone from being a 10 year old that had started refusing to go outside even and was sometimes peeing on the floor (presumably too painful to get up and walk if it wasn’t desperate), to a dog that’s spent most of the day outside eating windfall pears and playing with her sister. We’re also on Rimadyl max dose and we’ve tried Tramadol but it didn’t seem to do anything. I just knew this wouldn’t work because it’s ten times cheaper than the others, but it’s looking good.

  2. My 12yo lab mix was diagnosed with a bladder tumor 5 months ago. She is terminal, but she is still doing well eating, voiding (tho she squats often per pee) and poo-ing. She was in some pain and the vet prescribed 300mg gabapentin 2 times a day along with an an anti-inflammatory. It has done wonders for her, and I’m glad this is helping to maintain a decent quality of life for her until that dreadful day comes. I am thankful this has been available for her and I would recommend it to anyone.

  3. My vet just prescribed this and Trazadone for my 2yr old Dane, my dog has serious issues with anixity and fear. My vet is kind enough to make a house call to give Koda her vaccine, but wants to try these meds on her before she comes. My question is why the Gabaentin? There wasn’t much about it in this in relation to my dogs issues, it was all about pain and seziures????

  4. Hi. My 14 lb. Maltese was given Gabapentin 100mg. 2x a day. This seems so high. I have only given him one, yesterday and held back the second dose. It was prescribed for arthritic pain in his spine. Any thoughts about this?

    • I’d like to know the same as well – my 12lb dachshund was just prescribed 50 mg two times a day for arthritic and chronic back pain as well

      • It works to take away pain. My Dachshund has been given Gabapentin for chronic neck injury. It has truly made a difference. And it is safe. My baby was hurting so bad, and it was because I needed to up his dose. I am giving him conservative care for his neck injury. When I told his VETERINARIAN he told me to up the dose to 1 ml. 3 x daily.
        My dog weighs 17 lbs. This liquid Gabapentin has made such a difference. His pain pill Tramadol 25 mg. Twice daily wasn’t enough to control his pain. So..if your veterinarian said to give it do not be afraid. Just follow directions. If your dog is in pain they will appreciate the help!

  5. Thank you so much for this article & the helpful comments! I need all the info & wisdom for my dog I can get! 🙂

  6. My vet just put my 12-year-old Malinois on Gabapentin, and Adequan injections,, she seems quieter than normal and I’m just wondering if they’re working to help her ease arthritis pain in her spine. Or should I call the vet and try something else. I do have some tramadol that was prescribed for her when she ripped her toenail off and I was wondering if I could give her the tramadol for the pain. Any help would be great thank you

  7. You may have just saved my dog’s life! She is a 82 pound plotthound and was bit on the nose by a rattlesnake. Among other things, the vet prescribed 300 mg of gabapentin twice a day. I gave it to her the first day. I knew I had some gabapentin and it was the same dosage. I was thinking I could give her mine if needed. But thankfully mine had expired. I know the dangers of xylitol having just written an article about it, but didn’t know it could be in my medication. I know a lot of human medications are used for dogs, but I’ll never do it. I will be mentioning the dangers of using human medications in the next article on her website at https://trixietellsall.com. Now I wonder about the human benadryl they say to give. She had two of them after the bite. Maybe it has been checked that it doesn’t have xylitol. I wonder why it is added in gabapentin that is a capsule and can’t be tasted?

  8. My brittany got prescribed 100mg twice a day for his calcified bursitis in his shoulder and I was wondering will this effect his hunting ability? He is an extremely active dog and I can’t get him to slow down even a little. I’m leery of putting him on this stuff just for the inflammation

  9. My 75 lb lab was just put on 10g 3 times a day. He was having back leg pain then suddenly today couldn’t stand up. Vet prescribed this and said let’s see how it goes. He’s almost 16 years old and otherwise eats and walks stiffly but he walks slow. Hoping for a positive result. Vet said should work quick. So guess we will see what quick is if it works.

  10. How do you get your dog to take the pills- he finds them in his food, my son refuses to hold him and force him.
    Taters can smell the heart pills and just won’t eat. He has stage 3 kidney disease:( He just got prescribed Gabepentin for dogs also takes Sidinifil for blood pressure . He is a rescue and 11 years old.

    • Hi we put our labradors tablets in a bit of smoked salmon flavoured Philadelphia cream cheese I wish we had discovered it years ago !

  11. How do you get your dog to take the pills- he finds them in his food, my son refuses to hold him and force him.
    Taters can smell the heart pills and just won’t eat. He has stage 3 kidney disease:(

    • I take a piece of sliced cheese and roll the pill inside the cheese and he gobbles it down……No problem with him taking his meds.

  12. My vet just prescribed Gabapentin for my 10 year old lab for nerve pain. He is taking 300 mg twice per day. He seems to be sleeping a lot more, but it doesn’t seem to be helping with his mobility. He still whimpers, growls, and bites me if I try to help him stand up. I will contact the vet and see if we need to increase the dose; I just don’t want him to be sleeping ALL the time.

    • My German shepherd recently prescribed one and a half doses twice daily.Following her first couple of days on this drug, she would go off and sleep for hours.When I contacted my vet about this, the dose was reduced to one dose twice daily, as gabapentin side effects include drowsiness and lethargy.I cannot tell you if the reduced dose will help, as she has only just gone on the revised dosage.I hope this is some help to you.

      • Thank you….My 9 year old German Shepherd was just prescribed 300mg 3x per day for chronic hind leg pain, it’s been two days haven’t seen a big difference. I’m thinking I may just do 2x a day. I’m worried she’ll start to sleep to much also. I also have her on glucosamine and turmeric for 4months and that’s been great for her, I see a great difference!

  13. My 13 year old lab was put on Gabapentin for arthritis… and looks to be some stenosis. nerve pain… she weighs approx 94 lbs… so I wanted to start her on a low dose and ramp her up slowly,,, I started her on 100mg nightly,,, increased 2 100mg daily…. recently increased to 200mg twice daily after 2 weeks…. My question is,, for arthritis and nerve pain,,,,, does the gabapentin ever stop working, or Do we have to increase at different times??? how long does it take to work… thanks…

  14. My vet just prescribed Gabapentin 50mg. for my Pooshin, she had a problem with mobility. She responded to the 1st. dose by having improved mobility. Hopefully this will continue and she will continue to function without distress. She does to be sleeping a lot more than usual, but I am hopeful this too will improve as her pain subsides. She is a lot more comfortable and at 14yrs. old I guess she just needs rest.

  15. My 13 yr. old Maltese was very anxious, clingy, panting and had trouble sleeping at night. He was finally diagnosed with Pancreatitis and after a 2 night stay in the hospital he was prescribed
    30 mg. Of Gabapentin 3 x daily, later reduced to 2 x daily. He is on a few other meds as well but he is back to his old self thank goodness and will probably remain on it indefinitely.

  16. I was recently prescribed Gabapentin for my 12 year old Lab. One time daily, at night. He was becoming restless at night – constant pacing, barking, extreme clingy-ness, whining and whimpering… all signs of cognitive dysfunction – doggy dementia. My vet suggested giving Gabapentin along with Metacam. So far, it has been working. My dog sleeps through the night. It’s crazy how quickly it can work. I fed my dog the drug, and ten minutes later, he is sleeping.

  17. Summer, one of our four Retrievers receiving Gabapentin in recent years, has rebounded significantly from her chronic pain. She’d been on Metacam and Tramadol but it wasn’t enough to manage her pain. Our vet recently added in Adequan injections and twice-daily Gabapentin. Summer is much more mobile and self sufficient (and confident). The other three did not respond well to Gabapentin and so we ended that course of treatment. Like humans, it’s a matter of figuring out what works for whom…

  18. Gabapentin transformed my dog! He was put on Tramadol after an injury to his spine/hip, but it didn’t suit him at all – he spent the night prowling around and couldn’t settle. With Gabapentin he was back to his old self almost at once, although I took care not to over-exercise him, and he stayed on that for the rest of his life.

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