Can I give Tramadol to my dog?

Can I give tramadol to my dog

Is your dog in pain and thinking of giving It tramadol?

Be careful, giving this analgesic to your dog is not trivial and involves risks.

Use, dosage, side effects, danger, efficacy, alternative …

Before administering this pain medication to your companion, find out in this article all you need to know about this molecule.

What is Tramadol for dogs?

Tramadol is a pain reliever in the opioid class.

Level 2 painkiller, it falls into the category of codeine or opium extracts.

This synthetic opioid is thus dispensed by doctors and veterinarians to relieve pain and cough.

The tramadol molecule is found in human drugs (eg: Ixprim®, Topalgic®, Tramacet®), and in veterinary drugs (eg: Tralieve®).

How is it administered?

Tramadol is taken by mouth as a tablet, capsule, or liquid.

It can be taken with or without food, but due to its bitter taste, it may be necessary to give it with food.

How long does it take to work?

This medication usually works quickly, in about 1 to 2 hours, and clinical signs improve.

However, in pets with chronic pain, it may take up to a few weeks for this medication to take effect.

How long do its effects last?

This short-acting medication should stop working within 24 hours.

In which cases is it prescribed?

Like most opioids, tramadol is used to manage pain.

The Merck Veterinary Manual advises using tramadol to treat “ acute and chronic pain of mild to severe intensity ”.

This painkiller also has anti-cough properties.

Tramadol for dogs, tramadol hydrochloride for dogs, or Tralieve® can therefore be recommended in the following cases:

  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Post-surgical pain
  • Cancer
  • Lameness & stiffness
  • Nerve pain
  • Broken bones or sprains
  • Back pain
  • General pain due to injury or other condition
  • Cough

What are the side effects of this analgesic for dogs?

Tramadol carries some significant risks for dogs.

Dangerous if poorly administered or administered with abuse, the use of this medication should be monitored and validated by your veterinarian.

As the owner of the dog, it’s your duty to be very careful when administering the dose of Tramadol to your pet.

Some of the side effects most commonly associated with tramadol include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness and stumbling
  • Lack of appetite
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

These side effects of Tramadol for dogs are common but can vary in severity.

What are the signs of a tramadol overdose in dogs?

Besides the above side effects, the following signs may involve an overdose of Tramadol  :

  • Excessive drooling
  • Inability to stay awake
  • Loss of coordination
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Uncontrolled movements and muscle spasms
  • Tremors
  • Epileptic crisis
  • Coma
  • Very low or fast heart rate
  • Slow and difficult breathing
  • Fear of heights
  • Anxiety

Contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice one or more of these physical or psychological symptoms. Any abnormal behavior or sign should be taken seriously, in order to act quickly if necessary.

Are there any drug combinations to avoid with this painkiller?

Tranquilizers, sleeping pills, analgesics (morphine, codeine, etc.), anticoagulants, anti-depressants … Many drugs should not be administered in parallel with tramadol.

The following medicines, in particular, should be used with caution when taken with tramadol:

  • Antidepressants
  • Azo antifungals
  • Cimetidine
  • Cyproheptadine
  • Digoxin
  • Ketamine
  • MAO inhibitors
  • Metoclopramide
  • Ondansetron
  • Opioids
  • Quinidine
  • SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine)
  • Sevoflurane
  • SSRIs & tricyclic antidepressants
  • Warfarin
  • Yohimbine

Remember to tell your veterinarian about any medications (including vitamins, supplements, or herbal medicines) your pet is taking, before giving tramadol.

Tramadol and self-medication

Wondering if it’s possible to give tramadol to your dog without going through a veterinarian?

Stop! This can be very dangerous for your dog. Here are our recommendations:

Can I give my dog ​​tramadol for humans without the advice of the vet?


Human medicines containing tramadol are intended for humans and therefore may consist of molecules that are dangerous for your dog, in addition to the fact that the recommended doses are suitable for humans.

Can I give tramadol for dogs to my animal without the advice of the veterinarian?

No !

Tramadol for dogs or Tralieve® can be dangerous, even fatal, for your animal if misused or over-dosed.

Its use requires specific monitoring and precise dosage recommendations.

Also, don’t have fun figuring out the ideal dose for your dog based on body weight as that alone is not enough. It must indeed be combined with other data such as the treatments your dog is undergoing, Its history, Its age, or Its physical condition.

My dog ​​is still in pain, can I change the vet’s dosage without their advice?


Do not attempt to change the dose prescribed for your dog without consulting your veterinarian first.

For example, tramadol can increase your dog’s epileptic activity, if your dog is already suffering from seizures.

So I always have to go through the vet before giving tramadol to my dog?


Tramadol is not an opioid to be given lightly.

Only your veterinarian is able to recommend it to you and advise you on the correct dosage for your dog.

Especially since this drug is a class 4 controlled substance and you must have a prescription to buy it.

For or against giving tramadol to my dog?

Against, without the advice of the veterinarian.

As explained, tramadol carries many risks for your dog and cannot be given lightly, as a human medicine nor as veterinary medicine.

It’s generally used when level 1 pain relievers are no longer sufficient and is prescribed before the use of level III opioids.

Its use must therefore be supervised by a veterinary professional.

Although we understand the feeling of helplessness that we can have in the face of the pain of our animals, a bad choice can have dramatic consequences for your dog.

It’s therefore essential to avoid self-medicating your dog, by rummaging in your pharmacy box or that of your animal.

Only a veterinarian can advise you on the ideal treatment for your dog.

Especially since tramadol like other painkillers, is not intended to cure.

It’s therefore essential to make the correct diagnosis on what your dog has, in order to eliminate the pain permanently.

About Amanda

Passionate about animals, Amanda draws her expertise from her training as an educator, pet behaviorist as well as her extensive experience with animal owners. A specialist in dog and cat behavior, Amanda continues to learn about our four-legged companions by studying veterinary reference books but also university research sites (UCD, Utrecht, Cambridge, Cornell, etc..)

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