Gabapentin for Dogs Side Effects & Alternatives

Gabapentin for Dogs Side Effects & Alternatives

PHC LLCJul 23, '20

Gabapentin for Dogs Side Effects & Alternatives

Nerve pain, epilepsy, and seizures are serious conditions that both young and old dogs may develop throughout their lifespan. Seeing your pet experience these health problems is truly heart-breaking. The good thing is, there are human medications that can be given to dogs to reduce these symptoms.


However, it’s important to seek professional help to make sure your pets will have a healthier and happier life. So, did your vet recommend gabapentin to treat your dog with epilepsy? Read on and discover other alternatives to lessen seizures in your pup.

What Is Gabapentin for Dogs?

Gabapentin is originally a medication for humans with epilepsy. But recently, it has been discovered that the drug can also be applied for veterinary use. For dogs, it helps reduce seizures and neuropathic pain who with chronic pain and epilepsy.


There are ongoing studies to determine the amazing effects of gabapentin in dogs, but some vets are already recommending the use of this drug in reducing the symptoms of chronic pain and seizures. Despite not having the approval of FDA for veterinary use, this is generally safe for your dog. You just need to get veterinary approval, follow the instructions, and benefit from this medication.

Dosage of Gabapentin for Dogs

Gabapentin is one of the most common drugs prescribed by vets to dogs suffering from brain disorder such as seizures. In addition, this medication is also recommended to dogs with chronic pain in order to reduce how much painkiller they need to take after surgery or masectomy.


The dosage of gabapentin for dogs depends on the breed, condition, and age of your dog. Therefore, it is always important to consult your local veterinarian before administering any drugs to pets. If you’re treating chronic pain, the recommended dose is between 1.4 to 5 milligrams per pound.


You need to administer this drug to your dog once per day to reduce pain. For seizures, the dose needed is higher – ranging from 4.5 to 13.6 milligrams per pound. You should administer it every 8 to 12 hours to maximize results. The available capsules are 100 milligrams and 300 milligrams, so be careful when giving the medication to your pet.

Side Effects of Gabapentin for Dogs

Side effects depend on the severity of the health problem and the current condition of the dog. However, one of the side effects of gabapentin is loss of coordination. It can make your pet feel unsteady and drowsy, while finding it difficult to stand on their own feet.


If you notice some adverse reactions, make sure to let your vet know. Regardless if the side effect is mild or severe, always consult an expert so you will know what to do during emergencies. Your vet will tell you if the side effects are harmless or something to be worried about. When you stop giving gabapentin to your dog, expect some withdrawal symptoms.


Some dogs experience heavy seizures after they stop taking gabapentin. This can be harmful to your dog in the long run. Therefore, it’s helpful to check with your vet about the most common side effects after administering this medication to your pets. Here are the common side effects of gabapentin in dogs:


  • bulging eyes
  • depression
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • wobbliness
  • lethargy

If you observe these signs in your dog, immediately contact your vet to see if it warrants a clinic visit. An appropriate treatment should be given if your dog develops other serious symptoms after taking the medication.


Cost of Gabapentin 

With a lot of brands that offer gabapentin for dogs, the prices differ from each supplier. Another factor that makes a product more expensive or cheaper than the other is the quality. However, price range usually depends on the number of capsules per bottle. The more capsules you buy, the higher the price you will need to pay.


Interaction with Other Drugs

Gabapentin is usually used with NSAIDs or opioids to treat chronic pain and seizures in dogs. Combining it with these medications helps increase the effectiveness of the drugs. However, you need to talk to your vet if your dog is taking other medications aside from gabapentin. That way, possible complications can be prevented from developing, especially to dogs with pre-existing conditions.

Other drug interactions that you need to be aware of are morphine, hydrocodone, and antacids. Make sure to let your vet know about the current medications you are giving your pet, including supplements, herbal therapies, and vitamins.


Ingredients in Gabapentin

The liquid oral formulation contains xylitol which is toxic to canines. This sugar substitute can harm your pet so be careful when administering liquid formulations orally to dogs. On the other hand, the capsule and tablet forms mainly contain gabapentin as their main ingredients, so they are basically safe to dogs with epilepsy and chronic pain issues.


Gabapentin Alternatives

If you don’t have gabapentin at home and you’re looking for better alternatives, there are some great options you can choose from. The following are some of the gabapentin alternatives for your dog:


  • Cymbalta - This is a prescription drug that helps improve mood while relieving pain. Other conditions that cymbalta can treat include depression, nerve pain, and anxiety.


  • Lyrica - This is also a prescription drug that helps treat pain due to nerve damage. It can prevent seizures in dogs while reducing nerve damage because of spinal cord injury, fibromyalgial, shingles, and diabetes.


  • Amitriptyline - This helps improve your pet’s mood and treat nerve pain. However, the concern with this drug is that, it has more adverse side effects compared to other alternatives.


  • Lidocaine - Another alternative you can use to reduce nerve pain is lidocaine. It’s safe to use unlike other pain relievers that have an impact on the kidneys and liver. This is available in topical formulation, and may cause skin irritation.


  • Hemp - Some studies are pointing that hemp can help dogs with chronic pain and seizures. However, dosing is different for humans and canines so it’s important to consult a veterinarian before administering hemp oil to pets.


There are many other alternatives to gabapentin for dogs and these are only some of the best options you can consider. If you want to go natural, hemp would be the perfect alternative in treating pets with epilepsy and chronic pain issues. Always check with your vet before giving your dog any supplements or medications to avoid developing complications.


So, have you administered gabapentin to your dog? If it’s not working, what alternatives have you tried to help your dog reduce the symptoms of seizures, epilepsy, and chronic pain?