As a dog lover, you are sure to give your loyal companion the best care possible from daily walks to nutrient-packed meals. Nonetheless, your dog may incur injuries or get into accidents some of which may be unforeseen.

vet and dog

Fortunately, your vet is qualified to administer pain relievers to alleviate the pain and possible discomfort. The prescription given will usually be guided by the nature of the injury and the intensity of the pain.

In case your furry friend has had surgery before, it is highly likely that the vet prescribed Tramadol upon discharge. Scientifically, Tramadol is considered an opioid-based pain reliever, meaning it modifies the transmission of pain to the brain allowing animals and humans some level of comfort.

It also inhibits the reverting of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain resulting in euphoria due to the increase of the chemicals in the blood. Given that it is a pain killer, it has no participation in muscle recovery which is the role of anti-inflammatories.

How Safe is Tramadol for Dogs?

Generally, the chemical structure of human and canine medication is customized into what their livers can assimilate. In the case of anti-inflammatories, Carprofen which is ideal for dogs belongs to the same family as Ibuprofen, for humans, has different structuring.

According to Dog Times, that is not always the case. Tramadol is one such medication where an exact chemical make-up is prescribed to both humans and dogs. However, since it only numbs pain, it is prescribed alongside an anti-inflammatory designed for joints and muscle recovery.

How does Tramadol Work?

The American Kennel Club is of the opinion that the purpose of Tramadol is to block the pain sensors in the brain such that the severity of the pain is lessened.

Where a dog would otherwise whimper due to pain post-surgery, Tramadol helps alleviate the aching into a mild discomfort and manageable pain. For example, suppose your dog was suffering from arthritis or another condition, the vet will prescribe Tramadol to lessen the pain.

What are the Effects of Tramadol on the Dog’s Brain?

Once your dog ingests Tramadol, it is disintegrated and absorbed into the bloodstreams to work with Serotonin and Norepinephrine. These are the chemical components responsible for the body’s sensation and reaction to pain.

vet and dog


Ideally, the brain produces Norepinephrine, the body’s fight or flight chemical, which is then absorbed into the blood. It leaves the brain into the bloodstream and relies on neuroreceptors to identify pain and exhaustion, reverting this information to the brain. The Veterinary Practice News advises that Tramadol is responsible for Norepinephrine’s failure to get back to the brain thus, missed pain recognition.

Due to the incomplete circuit, the brain keeps releasing additional Norepinephrine, fueling the body to move despite the grave pain and the brain to remain active. The continued lack of reverting of the gathered information draws the brain into discounting the actual extent of pain on the body.

What is the Reason for My Dog Acting Loopy?

vet and dog

As the concentration of Norepinephrine in the blood increases, it necessitates the production of Serotonin- a naturally produced neurological component responsible for euphoria. The 1800 Pet Meds advice that euphoria results from an increase in the levels of Serotonin and Norepinephrine associated with the intake of Tramadol.

What are the Uses of Tramadol?

According to Therapypet.org, the uses of Tramadol are endless. Depending on the nature of the injury, it can be taken to dull any pain from the stiffness of the joint to management of chronic post-surgical pain. In dogs, Tramadol is administered to ease pain and other likely symptoms associated with ailments such as Arthritis.

Owing to its effectiveness in the management of pain, it can be abused easily thus, prudence is advised in its intake to prevent overdosing. Tramadol is commonly used in below instances;

  • Chronic pains of the nerves,
  • Fractured joints and bones,
  • Coughing,
  • Degenerative myelopathy (disease of the joint)
  • Osteoarthritis,
  • Anxiety,
  • Cancer,
  • Back pains,
  • Post-surgery pain.

Despite its wide range of uses, Tramadol is not the solution to all ailments. Rather than treat what caused the pain, it alters the brain’s perception of pain offering some degree of relief to patients.

Like most medications, it is a potentially high-risk drug, especially when misused or prescribed wrongfully. Considered a level four (4) controlled substance, the narcotic department is highly vigilant in the monitoring of its use. The vet and pharmacy are also committed to controlling its prescription and purchase as an extra measure to prevent its abuse.

Additionally, the dog owner is responsible for the health and well-being of his loyal friend. These responsibilities including the administration of proper dosage and the knowledge of possible side effects as listed below;

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea,
  • Stomach upsets,
  • Constipation,
  • Poor appetite,
  • Vomiting.

Although the above listed Tramadol side effects on dogs are the standard, their severity varies. Additionally, dog owners should also be concerned about overdoses which are likely to happen accidentally and may have fatal consequences.

Below symptoms form part of what you should be aware of since they are indicative of a Tramadol overdose;

  • Drooling excessively,
  • Drowsiness,
  • Aggression and violence,
  • Tremors.
  • Alarmingly low heart rate,
  • Lethargy,
  • Slow, shallow breathing,
  • Respiratory depression,
  • Muscle contractions and involuntary movements,
  • Convulsions.

Is tramadol Bad for Dogs?

In case you suspect Tramadol overdose by your dog, it is advisable that you seek professional assistance from your vet. He or she will determine the appropriate prescription amount to get your dog. Refrain from altering the dosage prescribed for whatever reason before proper consultation with your vet.

Despite its effectiveness in pain management, the responsiveness of dogs to Tramadol varies for a number of reasons.

It is thus advisable for dog owners to remain alert during the recovery process as this allows them to monitor their dog’s progress. Additionally, listen to your intuition on dog’s behavioral changes while maintaining communication with your vet for continued monitoring. Despite the numerous benefits it offered, your top priority ought to be the health of your dog thus Tramadol should be administered with caution.