safety medical

Tramadol for Dogs: Side Effects, Dosage

Tramadol is a narcotic-like pain reliever that can be used to reduce moderate to severe pain and requires a prescription from a veterinarian. The effects of this pain reliever resemble opiates - namely morphine. There are a number of different benefits of this medication for dogs, including relieving acute or chronic pain, and the ability to use it in conjunction with other medications. Talk with your veterinarian to make sure that the benefits of pain relief outweigh the side effects for your dog’s particular situation.

Tramadol dosage for dogs

Depending on your location, determining a dosage of tramadol for dogs is an exercise in futility as this medication is classified as a controlled substance in many states (effective August 18, 2014, Tramadol has been placed into Schedule IV of the federal Controlled Substances Act, [wiki]). As with people, if the dog has a history of seizures it is important to let your vet know this, and they will likely tell you about alternatives. Be mindful about where you store the medication so that you can protect your dog from the risk of accidental overdose.

While the dosage amounts vary from dog to dog, the tramadol dosage for dogs can be put into effect by using the dog’s weight as the determinant. The usual range is .5 - 1.8mg per pound. This amount, whatever it may be for your pet, will fluctuate with the dog’s weight, but you should always consult and defer the decision to a trained professional regarding medication - in this case the veterinarian. Once there is a prescription for the amount and duration, it is important to follow the directions and provide feedback on the progress and nuances. Do not attempt to adjust the medication without professional help, as a tramadol overdose can be deadly.

Tramadol side effects in dogs

There are also a number of tramadol side effects (dogs) that you can watch out for, so that you can make sure that your pet is not in any additional pain. Common mild symptoms include: drowsiness, upset stomach, constipation, blurred vision, and difficulties sleeping. While these are not usually too dangerous, if you notice the symptoms increasing or persisting, talk to your vet. There are some dogs that experience more severe tramadol side effects and these require emergency medical attention from a vet: convulsions, peeling rash, difficulties breathing, or slowing of the heart rate. With persistent monitoring and regular visits to the veterinarian, you will decrease the side effects and find the correct dosage of tramadol for dogs that will help relieve the pain that your pet is experiencing.

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Please correct your information. Tramadol is not a narcotic. It is prescription but it is not a controlled substance like morphine.

You are right, tramadol is not a narcotic.

However, long-term use or abuse of tramadol can lead to addiction and physical dependency.

Tramadol is not a federally controlled substance but some states have classified it as a Schedule IV controlled substance under state law.

According to the compounding pharmacies we contacted Tramadol is now considered a controlled substance and many refused to ship the prescription to us. We found only one pharmacy that's 1400 miles away who would compound and ship Tramadol to us.

I have a Springer Spaniel who is now, at the age of 13, suffering with arthritis in her back legs. Our vet has prescribed Tramadol capsules 50mg 1 x twice a day if necessary together with 10mg Metacam once a day and the Tramadol seems to help her pain. My vet herself suggested I try online to purchase the Tramadol had has given me a signed prescription, however, like yourselves, after completing the forms, I cant find anyone that will ship to me from the US. Ive not yet come across the pharmacy that will, even though 1400 miles away, and would appreciate you letting me have their details as a last resort. Thanks.

Drs. Foster & Smith sell tramadol (see their website) so long as you have a script, the price is very reasonable too.

I filled my Tramadol prescription for my 12 year old pitbull mix at a local Safeway pharmacy. You should be able to find a human pharmacy that will dispense this prescription for you. Jake is about 80 lbs and my vet prescribed Tramadol on an as needed basis (two 50 mg pills is one dose). He takes 1/2 of a 7.5 mg Meloxicam pill for his arthritis every day, and I only give him Tramadol when he has a day here and there where he seems to be in more pain or has more difficulty getting around. This system is working out great for him. :)

is the price the same for these two drugs for people and or dogs at the pharmacy? Trying to get them both less expensive than at the vets. Thanks for helping. Trish

Costco pharmacy carries tramadol. $8.65 for 100 50 mg. Tablets.

You'll need an RX from a Vet.

I know this post is about a year old, but I wanted to let you know that I have a 9 year old collie with severe arthritis and my vet calls in my Tramadol perscription to my local grocery store.

If you are still having problems, you may want to see if this will work. I use Harris Teeter and they are fine with it.

As of 8/18/14, Tramadol (Ultram) is a schedule !V controlled substance (

Tramadol us now a controlled substance in Florida. Have to count and monitor just like other controlled meds.

Tramadol IS a controlled substance in Washington state

Although not a narcotic it is a controlled substance and requires a triplicate script al least here in ny state

Will tramadol cause irritability in dogs?

I am aware of one dog that died after being put onto tramadol for osteoarthritis. Tramadol is not an effective analgesic for osteoarthritis in people and 80% of patients prescribed tramadol with/without paracetamol take themselves off treatment because of the unacceptable side-effects (See Cochrane Library Systematic Review) . Tramadol is much more short acting in dogs than it is in humans, there is hardly any evidence to show that it works in dogs- and its safety profile in this species is not known. We should not be using drugs until there is enough evidence that they work and are safe.

I have been taking tramadol for severe osteoarthritis for almost 10 years and it works better than Percocet. I know several people whose physicians presribe it and it works wonders. It does not have the drowsiness, nausea or high feeling other pain meds give you, and you can actually think straight...difficult to make a blanket statement that a particular drug doesn't work for a condition unless you have surveyed everyone which I doubt you have.

I give tramadol to my dog for back pain and it works great. She can be in severe pain shaking but 20 mine after her tramadol she is back playing and wagging her tail.

I just got a rx for it for my dog and was told by the vet it is a controlled substance and I had to sign for it.

If you have trouble getting tramadol for your pet, many times the vet can send the prescription to a human pharmacy and they'll fill it. (If the vet is authorized to prescribe tramadol.) This has been very helpful for us.

My dog who is 12 years old...weighs 70 pounds was determined to have arthritis. I was giving him a couple of aspirin a day per vet. It seemed to help somewhat, but I noticed he was struggling more often getting up with his hind legs. The vet thought maybe an inflammatory would help, but my dog was prescribed Tramadol as an interim since she said he would need to be off aspirin for 7 days before starting the inflammatory drug. I started giving him the Tamadol on a Wednesday night, by Saturday, I thought my dog was going to die. He wasn't as interested in food, his lameness became worse, his breathing was more labored and he essentially wouldn't move from a spot. I cried all day...I lied down with him and prayed...that's how bad he got from this medication. I took him off it Saturday night and began giving him 2 aspirins at a time instead of one. I saw improvements immediately on Sunday. The last couple of days he's been walking around like a puppy again. Yesterday he even jumped up on the couch. I also changed his diet to a much smaller kibble mixed with wet food to help with his digestion since he is older and has a tough time with regular sized dog food bites. I know for humans they say not to crush or chew Tramadol. All I can say is stay as far away from this drug as possible. While he was on this drug...he also yelped when I tried to help him up...he never yelped before being on this drug.


My elderly Bichon Frise has a bad back leg and has been taking Deramaxx (NSAID). A new vet said to add the Tramadol (25 mg every 8-12 hrs) for additional pain. Today is Friday, Aug. 1. I gave her one dose Wed and Thurs morninings. By last night, she had no apetite and she is very lethargic, but she is not running a fever. She normally eats anything that doesnt eat her first! Like you, I was crying like a baby last night until a friend calmed me down.

She has been acting the same way today, so I thought maybe it's the Tramadol.

Thank you for your story. No more Tramadol for MY dog!!!

Thank you! I hope she make

I went to my walgreen's to fill the dog's tramadol prescription and it was $260! I was later whispered to that I should have a human doc write the script.

I use deramaxx too. If I get 3 or more hours off schedule the dog feels it.

My dog was better with both medicines than when he came home from the shelter but after a few weeks of both pills he declined again.

Now, if I give him a tramadol it is 1 in the dinner hour (the prescription is 1-3 pills every 8 hours as needed). On less and almost none he is in less pain and plays more. It is great to have tramadol when he over does it or the other dog knocks into his legs but using it all day leaves him clumsy and unable to regulate his own body's strength. Now he is running and playing while avoiding certain movements. He can take of himself.

It was a human nurse that told me that his decline was likely due to the amount of tramadol. She recommended the time to administer based on when he would be most likely to sleep through the side effects. I am using it maybe once a week.

Cathy - thank you for the info. Our 5 yr old Chocolate Lab was put on Tramadol and 2 days later, he is having difficulty getting up from a lay down position, and had trouble walking - none of which were occurring before Tramadol. I stopped the pill 24 hours ago and he is improving and more alert. This med scares me

What is the shelf life of tramadol? My dog has intermittent back issues. She's hasn't had an issue in about a year. Would it still be just as strong now?

My 9 year old Black Lab has very bad arthritis in his hips. He was spending all his time laying around and had to be forced to even get up to go out to the bathroom. My vet gave me 100 mg twice a day for him (he's 100 lbs) and he's like a puppy again. We do have 3.75 mg of Meloxicam 1 time a day AS NEEDED but not daily. With the Tramadol, he's eating well, playing so has lost a few pounds, seems happy..... the only side effect we've noticed is about once a week he wanders the house at night and wants company so I've started with his 2nd dose several hours before bedtime.

I picked up my 9yr old black lab from the vet, he had been given by another vet meloxicam 7.5mg 1/2 pill daily for pain w/arthritis. When the vet looked down his throat and intestanal tract, he look like raw hamburer. He was having trouble swallowing so saliva run out of his mouth and his breath was very bad. His is in pain, but his tail still goes. Temp. The vet has put him on tramadol.

After reading all the comments I am also afraid of that drug and will watch him very close for side effects.

My Boxer is 9 yrs old. She no longer has an ACL in her knee, spinal stenosis, arthritis and vertebrae are fusing together. She has been taking the tramadol 50 mg for a year now and no problems. It keeps her pain free and 120 tabs from vet is less than $25. None of the meds our pets take or that we take are good for us but what is the alternative for each???

Thanks for the info. My 9 year old female boxer has started taking Tramadol for her arthritis pain. She started yesterday evening. She seems to be okay, has started eating. I am hopeful with this medicine, she will continue to be pain free!

Tramadol is a human drug. I take it as i need it for pain in my tailbone. I broke it several years ago. I give my 10 year old 112 lb St. Bernard 150 mg in the evening about an hr before his bedtime. Helps him rest and be pain free from daily activities. My Louie has bone cancer. Not sure how long i get to keep him but as long as he seems pain free and happy im gonna.

My vet told me that some dogs don't tolerate Tramadol well. After a ru-in with a car, my dog was prescribed 100 to 150 mg of Tramadol every 8 hours and he was a basket case. Wouldn't eat or drink, could barely stand or walk. On 50 mg. twice a day he was much better. A bit dazed when the drug first kicked-in, but eating, drinking and walking around, and much more alert.

Hi I have a 9.5 year old boxer and he's to take 125 mg tramadol 3x a day but hard so he was on it for twice a day till yesterday took it the times and I thought he was dieing. He's also on 150 mg rimaydl once a day. He's not himself till I didn't give him any pain medicine today but yelped twice. We can't exactly figure out where the pain is but we think it has to do with something on the left side. He started out with an ear infection I believe. It's so hard to see him like this.

I pry that this drug works. My dog has to go in and have major leg surgery done (9-15-14 ). The problem is she will not take pills or liquid medicine!!! The vet and I have tried everything, its the only time she will attack and bite is if I try to pill her. So are vet prescribed Tramadol that's in a gel pen, you rub it in their ear. Just wondering if anyone else has used this gel pen before?

I put my dogs tramadol in a slice of cheese and he eats it right up

Try liverwurst. It's meat silly putty and you can get any pill into a dog in a small ball of liverwurst. Give them one or two small balls with nothing in them, then slip the one with the pill, then a plain one to kill the bitter taste. I had a sheltie with cancer and this method worked well.

I have a little poodle terrier mix that turns 21 this year. He has an arthritic left arm that he had gotten quite lame on..we too had tried tramadol hidden in food but he always smelled it and turned away or would spit it out. We are having success with the ear gel!! He is chasing the cat right now as I speak! As with all meds for people or pets, side effects need to be monitored but so far he is eating sleeping and getting around well.

Hi Kathy, they make Tramadol in an ear gel? Where do you get it?

Wrap the pill ( or crush it into tiny pieces first if u like as well) in peant butter. About a teaspoon scoop. Get doggy used to having I drugged peanut butter scoop treat first for a few days then simply slip the meds into it. Works like a treat!!! Tell your puppy he's getting a treat!!

My 2 yr old dobie just had a major surgery on his urinary track and my vet gave him Tramadol 50 mg. About 6 hrs after first dose he had a seizure. About 2 hrs after 2 dose he had uncontrollable seizure's. He has now been back in the hospital for 2 days with an unknown outcome.

The same exact thing had happened to my pug. I have taken him off the Tramadol; but now they want to run test with a neurologist. Have you had any improvment?

My 13 year old German shepherd is not on Tramadol yet, but we may try it soon for arthritis caused by her hip dysplasia. I was on Tramadol a few years ago for an extremely painful arthritic condition. As soon as I began taking it, my pain began to get much worse, and I lost my appetite and lost a pound a day. I was on it for about two weeks. I have heard of a lot of dogs really helped by Tramadol, so I guess it is a mixed bag. I will be watching very closely, to get her off of it if she has side effects.

I am not sure if anyone can tell me this, I just lost my 5 year old 60 lb male boxer friday night. On monday he was in a severe dog fight, and I took him into the emergency vet, which wrapped him in tight bandages, gave him tramadol (2 50mg tablets every 8 to 12 hours), and sent him home. This first night was awful. He cried all night, and I had to be rubbing him at all times. The 2nd was much better, but on the 3rd he got so bad he'd cry out every 5 to 15 min all night and day. He experienced heavy breathing, which I now see is common with the tramadol, but the biggest part was the pain. The next day I noticed he seemed like he might stink under his bandages. I took him in that morning and my vet was very upset how tight they had wrapped him. The drainage had been sitting on his wound. He didn't have a fever, which I was confused by because he had been very warm, but the vet said he may still have infection. He cleaned him, gave him new antibiotics, lazored his wounds and set him home. He seemed so much better, but would never eat that day. When I got home he was a mess. My daughter had been watching him and she was panicked because he was crying and breathing so heavily. He kept wanting to put himself under the bed. He was leaking out the drainage, but they said he would. It had been 8 hours so I gave him the 2 pain pills. It was the first day he wouldn't take them in food, so I had been trouble getting him to take them. I thought he had them down, so I went into make him chicken hoping he'd eat it. When I came back I moved him and noticed to pain pills on the blanket. I didn't think much of it, so I just gave them to him. Afterwards it hit me, and I don't know if those were from then or earlier. Later on he spit the other out. I put it back in and then he spit it in the water bowl. It dissolved mostly, but I put the remainder back in which was very small. If he took all of them it may have been 3 and 1/4-1/2. He was still in severe pain the rest of the night, and did start acting very loopy. He was smelling so bad at that point, and loosing enough drainage to soak thru blankets at this point. He was cold and he kept trying to go to the bathroom where my daughter was showering to get warm. I slept on the couch, so I could rub him if he needed it. He kept crying out, but lightly. I woke up at 5 am realizing he had slept all night since around 11(4 or 5 hours after he'd consumed the meds), and I knew before I saw him that I'd lost him. I went down to his bed and he had died with his eyes closed. It keeps going through my head over and over that I may have killed him. We loved that dog so much, and I can't quit beating myself up thinking I may have done it. If anyone can help me, and tell me what amount of this med could do this? He probably had about 150 175 mg, if he had taken extra? I pray that it was not painful because I saw that dog go through enough pain in 4 days it's kept me up at night. Any answers please....

175 mg wouldn't have been enough to harm him. Most likely was the infection.

Ben is correct. It was the infection. Deep wounds from a dog fight are very dangerous! The wounds are highly contaminated with oral bacteria from the bites and any other dirt that may have been contacted. It is most likely your boxer died of septic shock as a result of septicemia (systemwide infection spread through his bloodstream). This can occur rapidly, and once shock has set in, chances of survival are very slim. The dog's system may have been so compromised by infection and shock that he wasn't even able to mount a normal immune response (hence, no fever is quite possible). Therefore, please set your sense of guilt aside: the Tramadol dose was NOT responsible and, in fact, probably made the process much less painful and traumatic. My sincere condolences on losing your pal this tragic way.

My 100 lb Lab was just prescribed 100-200 mg per 8 hours as needed. I don't believe you did anything to hasten the death of your dog. You probably made him more comfortable. So sorry for your loss.

I have a chihuahua 6 1/2 lbs and she was prescribed 1/4 of a 50 mg tablet 2 to 3 times a day and she is acting brain damaged and nearly unresponsive after onlt taking the meds for a few days and now off them since 23 of November

We have a 11th old we site last Friday was diagnosed with an enlarged prostate we r waiting for biopsy results in mean time vet prescribed anti I'm malamute tabs but 2 night he is panting in n shaking in pain so they have prescribed tramadol as well but after reading these comments I'm worried we don't want to loose him

Tramadol is a controlled substance now.

My 90 lb lab/Rhodesian Ridgeback, pulled one of her claws crooked and was favoring it gently and holding it up, licking it, it bled some too. It was on the weekend and we were out of state. So I looked around online and found that Tramadol was acceptable to administer, and I already take it several times a week for chronic pain in both of my shoulders, although I don't really like the immediate nausea, and sometimes the migraines the next day. Anywho I have 50mg tabs and I cut about a 1/6th off and fed it to my lab in some peanut butter without really checking to see what the dosage should have been. Got kind of worried when I tried to wake her up afterwards and she was lethargic, haha. One website said 1-4 mg every 8-12 hours ! and I was sure it was at least 10mg that I gave her, but after reading some of these other reviews of some owners giving their dogs 1-50 mg tablet, it put me at ease. My wife and kids would never forgive me if OD'd the family pet... Thanks guys..

My vet gave me tramadol 50 mg. My dog weights 50lbs, the directions say no more than 2 pills per 8 hrs for her weight. My dog upon taking this medicine started labored breathing as well as crying and howling aporx 10-15 mins after taking this drug. I do believe it is this drug that caused her strange behavior. I will not give this to my dog anymore. I have since talked to a vet and he said the reactions I prescribed were from Tramadol side effects that some dogs cant take this medicine.

I have found that, with a prescription, it is easy to obtain Tramadol for my dog from any regular pharmacy. We have had no problems at all getting it filled at our local Kroger or Walmart pharmacy.

I gave my dog 50 mg 3 a day for 2 was today he suffered a nosebleed. The tramadol seemed to be helping but now I am nervous about continuing the meds. I have not read anywhere that nosebleeds are a possible side effect.

I have a 14yr Shepard that just got tramadol I have read some of your stories she is also on Metacam I just pray every day that I have her and hopefully she will not have these side effects who ever has dogs knows what we are going through good luck to all you dog owners and say a pray for my baby


This morning our 13 yr. Border Collie couldn't use her hind quarters. She has been on Tramadol, for a yr or so off and on. She had ACL surgery, has arthritis, has many allergies. Yesterday she was put on Apoquel for allergies. She looked like she didn't know us and hindend was useless. By the time the Vet opened, about two hrs she was able to walk somewhat, and we knew that she knew us. The Vet took xrays, she has severe arthritis in her spine. When the Vet brought her back to the exam room, she was perfectly normal. When I say she was on Tramadol off and on, it was only as needed, 3-4 pills aweek. Now that I have read these post's on Tramadol, and I looked up the a site for Apoquel I am very confused. It is 10:30 PM, and she is her normal self. Thanks for any feed back. Patty

My 13 year old black lab "Violet" was just diagnosed with bone cancer and we were given tramadol 50mg to give her every 6to8 hours is seems to help but she will always limp. I t does make her a little sleepy but she is still eating good, she only has 2 to 4 months left, we are heartbroken!! So if this makes her comfortable I am all for it, but I will keep an eye out for any serious side effects but so far so good!!

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