I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz around the internet about a drug called Gabapentin which people are giving to their dogs to help them cope with anxiety and stress. I decided to do a little digging into whether using gabapentin for dog anxiety is safe and whether it helps relieve anxiety symptoms in dogs. This is what I found…
Gabapentin is a drug that was originally developed for the treatment of seizures and epilepsy in humans. It is not FDA-approved for veterinary use so its use is sometimes controversial. Although not approved, many vets do safely prescribe it for dogs suffering from chronic pain and seizures. It is used for anxiety in dogs as long as the treatment is advised and monitored by a qualified veterinarian and the gabapentin dog dosage is correct.
Gabapentin is marketed under the following brand names: Neurontin®, Aclonium®, Equipax®, Gantin®, Gabarone®, Gralise®, Neurostil®, Progresse®
Precautions When Using Gabapentin For Dog Anxiety:
Please be aware of the following things if you are considering using gabapentin for your dog’s anxiety:
- Don’t ever use the commercially available liquid form of gabapentin as it contains Xylitol. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener and it is extremely toxic to dogs and should always be avoided.
- Gabapentin should not be used in pets that are pregnant or nursing.
- The body metabolizes Gabapentin via the liver and kidneys so dogs with poor kidney function or kidney/liver disease shouldn’t use it.
- Never abruptly stop using gabapentin as this can cause your dog to experience withdrawal symptoms including seizures. Speak to your vet about how you can safely wean your dog off the drug.
- If you give your dog antacids you will need to wait at least two hours before giving him gabapentin as the antacid decreases absorption from the stomach.
Is gabapentin safe for dogs long-term?
The longer a dog uses gabapentin, the more likely he will start building a tolerance towards it and over time he will need higher dosages to achieve the same effect. Of course, this also means an increase in side effects.
Speaking of side effects…
Can gabapentin for dogs cause seizures?
Yes, especially if the medication is suddenly stopped. Your dog will need to be carefully weaned off the drug. Always contact your vet for advice on how to safely do this.
Can gabapentin make dogs sleepy?
Yes, gabapentin’s most common side effects include sleepiness, lethargy or sedation along with wobbliness and weakness, especially in older dogs with decreased muscle strength.
Are there other side effects you should know about?
Yes, unfortunately, there are quite a few side effects that are more serious and you should contact your vet immediately if you notice them. These include:
- Loss of coordination or collapse
- Breathing difficulties
- A blue tongue or gums
- Excessive drooling
Using gabapentin for dog anxiety seems to be quite a divided topic. Many dog owners online have reported great results while just as many have had horrible experiences and regret having given it to their dogs wishing they had used more natural methods before trying gabapentin.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you used gabapentin and would you recommend gabapentin for anxiety in dogs?
Disclaimer: The information contained in this post is in no way intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any illness or condition your pet may have. Please always consult a qualified veterinarian for professional advice if you suspect your dog is sick.
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