Can I Give My Dog Tramadol?

Can I Give My Dog Tramadol?Tramadol, also known as Ultram, is a pain medication that can be appropriate for dogs. While it’s not FDA-approved for canine use, there are aspects to this drug that make it an appealing option for pets.

But this opioid pain reliever shouldn’t be given to your dog without a veterinarian’s prescription. It’s dangerous to administer your personal Tramadol supply since some side effects can be quite serious.

It’s true that vets sometimes utilize Tramadol. However, these powerful pills are usually provided to dogs for post-operative or injury-related aches and pains. Make no mistake, you can cause more harm than good with this drug.

Can I Give My Dog Tramadol? Answer: Yes, vet prescription only

This isn’t a medication that you should give to a pet on your own.

Besides, there may be better treatment options such as brands designed specifically for dogs. Whatever you do, don’t use leftover meds that you may have lying around because it’s simply not worth the risk. While Tramadol is safer than some others, this is still a powerful narcotic and pet usage shouldn’t be taken lightly.

We prefer to use more natural solutions. Instead of Tramadol, we’ve had success with this anti-oxidant anti-inflammatory pain reliever. It seems to work well for our older dog’s arthritis and related pains.

Why Tramadol is Popular

This pain reliever enjoys a good reputation among animal doctors. Tramadol is fairly inexpensive compared to similar brands. It’s also not addictive yet works just as effectively as most alternatives. Tramadol is also a comparatively weaker opiate which reduces risks to pets. Finally, this drug can usually be combined with most NSAIDs as well as joint pain medicines.

While your dog won’t become addicted to Tramadol, it can sometimes cause dependency issues.

The Potential Side Effects

Your dog obviously won’t be able to tell you if Tramadol is working. Instead, they may exhibit symptoms which could be cause for concern. Some negative side effects are upset stomach, panting, constipation, reduced heart rate, lethargy, dizziness, constriction of the pupils and undesirable behavioral changes.

More serious is the possibility of a seizure. Your dog’s liver or kidneys could suffer permanent damage as well. This isn’t meant to scare dog owners but only to make them aware that a vet’s guidance is warranted when Tramadol is involved.

Dosing Tramadol is Tricky

Calculating a Tramadol dose is absolutely critical. Every year thousands of dogs unnecessarily die from receiving improper dosage. That’s a big reason why human medications are so dangerous for pets. Only a qualified veterinarian can tell you the accurate amount for your pet dog. For this reason, we’ve decided not to provide this type of information.

A Pet Pain Treatment Plan

Many dogs, especially older ones, suffer from ongoing pain which is difficult to effectively deal with. The most common is arthritis. These stubborn conditions are very frustrating but sometimes side effects, from medications, make matters even worse. Giving your dog some Tramadol, without guidance from a vet, could lead to such a highly unfortunate scenario.

It’s worth researching things such as acupuncture or the previously mentioned all-natural medicine.

Vet Consultation is Key

A trained professional can assess what’s wrong with your dog. They’ll be able to treat the pain and manage it which will improve your dog’s life. In fact, pain solutions are a specialty of theirs because they often see pets that require meds on a daily basis. Maybe they’ll agree to a Tramadol prescription or offer something even better, like a Carprofen.

Conclusion on Tramadol

Yes, you can administer this drug but only with a prescription and detailed instructions from your vet. Tramadol has a good reputation and is routinely provided to dogs. It’s effective but the need for caution cannot be overstated since there’s a long list of side effects, some of which are serious. Your dog’s particular situation may warrant a different pain reliever. Consult with your veterinarian before providing Tramadol.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica April, 2016

Recently our 13 year old Golden Retriever couldn’t use her hind quarters. She has been on Tramadol for a year or so, off and on. She had ACL surgery, has arthritis and has many allergies. Yesterday she was put on Apoquel for allergies. She looked like she didn’t know us and her hind end was useless. I found on the internet that Tramadol, when given to dogs, can kill. Is it true? Please help!


Janie December, 2015

My lovely 14 year old mixed breed had an x-ray and it turns out she has a tumor on her spleen. She has been prescribed Tramadol. It’s so difficult to tell how much pain she is in.


David September, 2015

My 12 pound Pomeranian was still going pretty strong at 15 years. Eventually, I asked the vet for something because he would be restless at night and would bark for a majority of the night. I couldn’t get any sleep. The veterinarian prescribed Tramadol and he immediately went from a pretty strong elderly dog to sleeping almost 24/7.

He would not eat much but suddenly ate a lot on day 4, so I thought he was coming back to normal. But then he stopped eating again and his face started to swell up. I never gave him anymore than that one quarter of a pill. The dosage should have been 12mg according to the vet. One week later he was dead. The vet claims Tramadol does not cause face swelling but it’s all over the internet that it can.

I feel that Tramadol killed my dog after only one week and by just taking one quarter of a pill. Be careful! I would not give your dog any Tramadol.


Kim October, 2015

I had the same thing happen. My Lab was on it for 2 weeks and wouldn’t eat. 3 days later he passed away.


David November, 2015

Kim thank you for your reply. I am so sorry for your loss. If you want to provide any contact information, let me know. We are trying to reach out to those that have had a similar horrible experience with Tramadol.


Jab August, 2015

Our Fox Red Lab, Ms. Bailey, is 12 years old and has a cancerous tumor on her hind right leg. She also tore her ACL on her left leg so the vet put her on Tramadol and Rimadyl. The medical college added Gabapentin once the cancer was diagnosed. I’m not a big fan of synthetic drugs so I’m trying to incorporate natural alternatives and lots of prayers. I give her a teaspoon of grated lemon zest 3 times a day, grated turmeric root 2 times a day and Treatibles every 4 hours.

Since starting this routine, she is no longer lethargic and her energy levels are much higher. I am going to add Cosequin to, hopefully, slowly replace the Rimadyl. My hope is that we can replace all the synthetic drugs with a natural alternatives. I don’t want her in any pain, so it will probably be a gradual process. According to my research, turmeric root can help to kill cancer cells and also prevents their formation and growth.


Ginny August, 2015

I’m so sorry! You might want to try CanineActiv too. It’s all natural and relieves pain and inflammation. I know they send free samples to veterinarians.


Julia November, 2014

My mixed breed dog has lupus and arthritis. Tramadol (50mg) should be given as per weight, just like giving children medication. You can break it up. I give her 15mg; 1/2 a tablet because she is 33 kilos. Never give a dog or cat any meds unless they are weighed first.


Shar October, 2014

My Maltese-mix was run over by a car in October. I took him to the emergency room. He ended up having a broken pelvic bone on the left side. It has to heal naturally while he’s confined to a cage for 4-5 weeks to restrict movement. The vet prescribed him 50mg Tramadol tablets for pain. He is to take (half) 1/2 a tablet every 8 hours. He weighs 18 pounds. It’s been 3 days now and he seems to be fine and the meds are helping with his pain. He’s alert, not sleepy.


Kathy October, 2014

Update on my comment of 8/24/14 – My lab took a turn for the worse and stopped eating. My vet said there was nothing else they could do for him. Then on August 26 of 2014 he passed away. With his condition of the large cancerous mass, I’m sure this is what caused it. Anyway, I still don’t think I would choose Tramadol for any other of my pets. I wish everyone else the best in their decisions. It may work good for you.


Rita February, 2015

My pet weighed 33 pounds and had 2 herniated discs in center of his spine. The vet took an x-ray. The dosage was 50mg Tramadol 2 to 3 times a day. My dog came down with diarrhea after given Gabapentin 100mg. He had blood coming out of his mouth had to be euthanized. The vet did not refer a specialist and in my opinion was negligent. Our dog could still be living!


Sandra January, 2016

Rita, I do not think it is fair to say the vet was negligent. What works for 1 may not work for another. That does not mean anyone was negligent. I am sorry for your loss. I am having to make that decision, right now, about my dog with lymphoma. We all will and do miss our loved animals.


Tyna August, 2015

I’m sorry for your loss. Did you get an x-ray done? Where was the mass? How did you find out it was cancer and what symptoms were there? Sorry, but my dog is very sick and the vets are not sure what’s going on. Please let me know.


Kathy August, 2014

My 90 pound 8-year old Lab was diagnosed with severe arthritis and a large mass in his lung that the vet felt was cancerous. They only give him a life expectancy of 2-3 months. Tramadol was prescribed and I started giving it to him. After several days, my dog was getting worse. He couldn’t hardly get up and was very week.

I stopped the medication and gave him Aleve. He is almost back to normal. My vet says Aleve is not recommended for dogs, but due to my dog’s condition, if it was helping him, I could continue to do so. It’s been a month now and I only give him Aleve when I feel he is in a lot of pain. I would never give my dog Tramadol again! It may work for other dogs, but not mine.


Tiffany November, 2014

Aleve is absolutely terrible for dogs. If a dog owner is not comfortable giving their dog Tramadol, that’s fine, but basically any other medication (with prior advice from your vet, of course) would be a better choice than Aleve.

There is a decent chance of allergic reaction but more so, it has an extremely long half-life in dogs and this ends up causing severe reactions, leading often to deadly, gastrointestinal problems. There are also quite a few reliable clinical studies showing solid evidence in regard to its direct correlation with causing, and exacerbating, various types of canine cancers.

So when your vet says something isn’t good for your pet, you have two choices: Listen to them and recall that you chose them because you respected and had faith in their abilities or go find a vet you will listen to. Why bother going otherwise? I’d bet that you wouldn’t give your child a medication if your doctor said it was dangerous so why do people always think they know better when it comes to their pets?

Vets go to school longer than Pediatricians (actually, longer than heart surgeons, usually) for many reasons, one being this: people can talk, kids can talk, pets can’t. So Kathy, while I don’t doubt you loved your dog very much, and while I’m truly sorry for your loss, you really made an incredibly reckless move.

Because I work for a vet clinic I can tell you that we can write pretty much any pain medication a dog would need…and one dying from cancer will undoubtedly need a strong one – one that’s much stronger than an OTC such as Aleve.


Pam August, 2014

Our rescue mix was prescribed Tramadol and an antidepressant. We administered over the course of several weeks ans stopped it due to lethargy. This is disturbing. You rely on your vet to help you make an informed decision. Wow!


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