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Let’s get right to it — first the good news: Veterinarians do use Gabapentin.
This drug is primarily given to help dogs with chronic pain, but it is also prescribed for seizure-prone animals.
With that being said, you should never provide your animal with a leftover Gabapentin prescription. Doing so is too risky!
Play it safe. Get your pet checked out and properly diagnosed.
Gabapentin Can Be Given To Dogs (with vet Guidance)
We asked Dr. Sara Redding Ochoa from Whitehouse Veterinary Hospital to weigh-in on this topic and here is what she told us:
“I sometimes prescribe Gabapentin for chronic pain (particularly for nerve related pain). It is commonly used on dogs suffering with back or disc injuries. The drug has become much more popular since the opioid epidemic. Gabapentin is generally a good choice for alleviating pain in dogs.”
Expertise is a Requirement
It cannot be stressed enough:
There is potential for harm despite the fact that Gabapentin works for dogs too. Do not go it alone!
Gabapentin (AKA Neurontin) is not FDA-approved for dogs and, again, it can certainly cause complications.
Drug interactions, proper dosing, kidney damage and several common side effects are real concerns.
When Gabapentin Is Risky
Be especially cautious about giving your dog Gabapentin if there is a history of kidney problems. Acute renal failure must be avoided.
Any dose administered to pregnant or nursing dogs could be very dangerous. Miscarriage or birth defects are also possible.
Be sure to discuss these scenarios with a trusted vet.
The fact is people abuse Gabapentin and some have died. Obviously dogs can also overdose.
Dosing Info For Pet Dogs
Often times Gabapentin needs to be combined with other pain meds. And, again, this is true for dogs as well.
It can be a complicated treatment option.
For example, determining dosage depends on what is being treated. A vet may recommend a relatively high dose for seizures compared to arthritis-related pain.
Rule of thumb guidelines are as follows:
10mg of Gabapentin per pound of body weight given twice daily for seizures. For pain, do not give your dog more than 4mg per pound (and do so only once a day).
Important: Dosing really should be for a trusted vet to decide. And mention any other meds that your dog is currently taking!
Know About Side Effects
Thankfully Gabapentin’s negative effects aren’t known to be extremely serious (assuming it isn’t taken in excess).
But kidney complications are one exception.
Your dog is more likely experience these effects:
- Fatigue (sedation)
- Lack of coordination
- Some swelling
- Bouts of vomiting
Discontinue the drug if you notice any of these symptoms.
A potential for side effects should make consulting with a vet an easy decision. Do it for your dog’s sake!
The X-Factor is Xylitol
There are versions of Gabapentin (generic or otherwise) that contain Xylitol.
This type of sweetener is usually found in the liquid form. In any case, it’s terribly toxic.
Be sure to check the label or insert because Xylitol can harm your dog.
The Bottom Line
Some dogs can benefit from taking Gabapentin or Neurontin.
It’s effective though there are precautions and side effects to consider when it comes to this drug.
While Gabapentin may greatly reduce your dog’s pain, let a professional determine if it’s the right medication for their medical situation.