Vicodin For a Dog in Pain? Read This First!

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Vicodin is powerful prescription narcotic that relieves severe pain.

But for a pet dog?

Can I Give My Dog Vicodin?Straight to the point:

This combination formula (Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen) is not recommended unless your vet is advising you.

Do not attempt to reduce your dog’s pain with a leftover supply of Vicodin.

Providing this medication could make the situation much, much worse!

When it comes to Vicodin, dogs are way more susceptible to harm compared to humans. The risks are very real.

Few Vets Prescribe Vicodin These Days

Acetaminophen, in particular, is not well-tolerated by canines. And combining it with an opioid (Hydrocodone) increases a possibility of bad side effects.

It cannot be stressed enough:

Never take it upon yourself to give any amount of Vicodin to your dog. Again, only a vet can make that call!

Thing is the FDA almost banned Vicodin. It has been linked to hundreds of deaths (not to mention countless cases of liver damage).

Just imagine what it can do to your dog!


FYI: A better alternative to Vicodin is Rimadyl.


Vicodin is Very Risky

It’s all about active ingredients.

Vicodin contains Paracetamol (AKA Tylenol or Acetaminophen) which is easily toxic to dogs. The other component is an opioid called Hydrocodone.

As pain killers go, Vicodin is nearly as potent as Oxycontin and Morphine.

Do not give any dose!

It doesn’t matter if you have a large breed or small puppy. Providing your dog with Vicodin could be fatal. Their organs may not stand a chance!

Some Safer Alternatives

Pain is a big problem as our dogs live longer.

You are encouraged to research several Carprofen names. These are formulated prescriptions designed specifically for animals with inflammation and the associated aches and pains.

Brands include:

  • Imadyl
  • Novox
  • Vetprofen
  • Imafen
  • Rimadyl (already recommended as this one is the most popular)

The above drugs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). While there are lots of known side effects, they are certainly safer than Vicodin!

An End of Life Option?

It’s heart-breaking to see the family dog dealing with chronic pain. Of course, you want stop their suffering because you love them so much.

But hopefully you’ve been convinced that Vicodin is out of the question.

Sure, we occasionally hear from owners with near-death geriatric dogs who’ve successfully used certain prescription pain killers.

For a short time, such drugs may make a life-long friend more comfortable. However, this approach could also backfire.

Do it right and get assistance from a trusted veterinarian.

And, in all honestly, sometimes the only path forward is euthanasia.

The Bottom Line

Administering Vicodin to your dog is generally a bad idea.

In fact, this pain killer isn’t even optimal for animals at the end of their life cycle. It is too unpredictable.

If, for some reason, a veterinarian has prescribed Vicodin then be sure to carefully follow their instructions.

Just be warned that this drug can do more harm and than good. There really are better alternatives for a pet dog’s pain problems.

What Do You Think? Have Your Say Below…

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3 thoughts on “Vicodin For a Dog in Pain? Read This First!”

  1. My dog was diagnosed with a couple different tumors and was given 2-weeks to a month to live, at most. That was 3 months ago! I think today is the day though as she’s not eating. Her fur is falling out, her skin is drying and her gums are whitish or ashen color. She gets sick from Tramadol. Can I give her a Vicodin, just to help her hurt less, until I can take her to be put down properly?

    1. Sarah, do not give your dear canine companion Vicodin! First of all, it contains Hydrocodone, as well as Acetaminophen. Dogs cannot metabolize this narcotic or analgesic. It causes both liver and kidney failure. It will not ease her pain and will most likely cause system failure which can be excruciating.

      It sounds like your poor little friend has reached a point where you must evaluate, seriously and immediately, her quality of life, her lack of energy and the degree of pain she endures daily.

      Vicodin produced a violent and horrible end for my friend’s failing Collie. It included nausea, vomiting, ataxia behind, seizures and the agony of realizing we had failed his pet and only brought him more pain and agony. Unfortunately, the poor animal died before we could reach our vet.

      Tramadol is an NSAID, an entirely different class and schedule of drug. If it’s no longer effective, keep your vet apprised of the med’s inability to help your pet. I know your heartache. Keep her close, let her know you’re there and that she’s loved. After all, that’s what matters most to us.

      1. Erika, I am truly sorry for the untimely loss of your friend’s Collie. All the symptoms you provide (nausea, vomiting, ataxia, seizures) are indicative of an overdose. A chronic overdose in fact. The nausea and vomiting would have been fairly swift. However, the ataxia and seizures are more typically symptomatic of prolonged use.

        If those symptoms presented as quickly as you indicated, “…died before we could reach our veterinarian.”, it was an most likely an overdose. Yet, it could just as likely have been an adverse or an allergic reaction.

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