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Everything You Need to Know About Tramadol For Dogs

Bulldog Laying on a dark shag carpet with their lips flapping on the ground

There’s nothing worse than seeing your dog suffer. When your canine companion is in pain, your veterinarian may prescribe tramadol. This painkiller can help ease the aches of pains from a variety of causes, including injuries and ongoing medical issues. Before giving your dog tramadol, consider reading this article so you can fully understand how to treat your dog, what symptoms to look out for and what are the alternatives to tramadol for dogs.

Is tramadol safe for dogs?

White dog that is wet and running through the forest

Tramadol is prescribed by vets for dogs who are suffering from pain. The analgesic drug is one of the few painkillers recommended by vets as it has been deemed safe for treating dogs. However, before giving your dog tramadol you must visit the vet and acquire a prescription. Only your vet can know the required dosage for your dog, as this can depend on a variety of factors including your dog’s size, breed, and age. In addition, your dog may not be able to take tramadol if they are already taking a certain medication for an existing health condition or they have a sensitivity to the drug.

How is tramadol used for dogs?

Young dog on a grassy hill looking up with its tongue out

Most often used to treat chronic pain associated with conditions such as osteoarthritis, Tramadol is a very commonly prescribed drug for dogs. Osteoarthritis is widespread amongst older dogs, as the cartilage in their joints can wear down over time. Although tramadol will not treat the condition itself, it can help your dog feel more comfortable as it eases the pain.

Your dog may also be prescribed a short course of tramadol following an operation. Tramadol will help your dog get the rest they need to fully recover from the surgery.

If your dog is unfortunate to have been diagnosed with cancer, your vet may prescribe tramadol to treat their symptoms, particularly pain and restlessness.

Symptoms of pain in dogs

Golden dog running through the water towards their owner

Since your dog cannot tell you when they are in pain, it’s important to keep your eyes peeled for the following tell-tale signs:

  • Limping or avoiding putting weight on a certain paw
  • Change in eating, drinking or sleeping habits
  • Excessive licking of one spot
  • Panting heavily
  • Agitated or anti-social
  • Shaking or unsteady on their feet

Just like humans, no two dogs are the same. That’s why you should always watch your dog’s behavior closely and report any changes to the vet. Only you can know if your beloved companion is different than usual.

What are the side effects of tramadol for dogs?

Two golden retrievers sitting at the top of porch steps

Tramadol is a strong painkiller, therefore there are several side effects to be aware of before giving it to your dog. Your vet will warn you of these side effects and they will not prescribe tramadol to your dog if they think it might conflict with any existing medications or conditions. If you’re in doubt, always contact your vet as they are best placed to advise on your dog’s pain treatment.

Side effects of tramadol in dogs include:

  • Digestion issues, including vomiting, diarrhea or constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation

Can my dog overdose?

White Lab Running Through Tall Grass On A Sunny Day

It is possible for your dog to overdose on tramadol. For that reason, it is paramount that you follow your vet’s guidance regarding dosage. The tramadol dosage for dogs is different for every pup as there are a number of contributing factors to take into account, including weight, breed, and sex.

Signs your dog has overdosed on tramadol:

Australian shepherd jumping in the air catching a frisby
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Severe vomiting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Loss of consciousness or coma
  • Decreased heart rate

If you suspect your dog has overdosed on tramadol, contact your vet immediately.

Alternative methods of pain management for dogs

Whether your dog is unable to take tramadol, or you would simply prefer to not give your dog this analgesic, you have a few options.


CBD oil is a common natural pain remedy that both humans and dogs can benefit from. Derived from the cannabis or hemp plant, CBD oil contains many benefits of the drug without the psychoactive effects (THC).

CBD oil is not just an effective method of pain relief for your dog. It can also be used to treat anxiety, restlessness, sleep problems and even common allergy symptoms. CBD is available in a typical oil format, which can be added to food or treats for your dog. You can also buy treats already infused with CBD, so your dog can reap the benefits from this natural phenomenon in the tastiest possible way.

Natural Doggie CBD Infused Coconut Oil For Dogs


Starting at $39.99


Did you know that turmeric is also a natural pain reliever? The spice is particularly effective for pets suffering from osteoarthritis as it boasts anti-inflammatory properties. You can easily give your dog turmeric by adding it to their food or simply making a paste with warm water. The spice is ideal for dogs that are sensitive to tramadol and/or other common analgesics. If your dog is a picky eater, why not try wrapping a turmeric supplement in a piece of their favorite meat or a treat?

Advanced Mobility Chews With Turmeric




If your dog is unable to take tramadol, your vet may suggest an NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). As with tramadol, don’t give your dog any NSAIDs you may have in your medicine cabinet. Always be sure to consult your vet first as they will know which treatment best suits your canine friend’s needs.

NSAIDs are commonly prescribed for the treatment of inflammatory conditions as they help to reduce swelling. Dogs suffering from temporary joint pain or chronic osteoarthritis may be able to take NSAIDs. Not all NSAIDs are suitable for dogs, however. The below NSAIDs are the most commonly prescribed by vets:

  • Carprofen
  • Deracoxib
  • Firocoxib
  • Meloxicam

There’s nothing worse than seeing your loved one in pain. Whether your dog has experienced an accident, is recovering from surgery or is simply feeling the pains of aging, tramadol may help them settle and relieve their pain. Ask your vet if tramadol is appropriate for your dog’s condition. If your dog is already taking tramadol, monitor symptoms closely and report any significant changes to your vet to prevent any bad reactions or overdose.

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Everything you need to know about Tramadol for dogs By Ellen Forster

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