You went to a veterinarian, and the vet advised your dear pup to take a gabapentin dose, and you do not know what that is.
Don’t worry many dog parents are unfamiliar with this term and are often confused about what it is used for and its effects.
To understand in simple words, Gabapentin is a medication that helps dogs combat chronic pain, anxiety, and seizures.
Many dog owners accidentally give a double dose of gabapentin and start panicking. This article will provide you with all the information related to gabapentin.
Furthermore, it will help you understand what it is used for in dogs and the side effects of gabapentin.
And for those seeking answers to what will happen if you accidentally give a double dose of gabapentin to your dog, we will also shed light on the topic by giving detailed information.
Readers will also learn what precautions you should take while offering gabapentin for your dog. So without further ado, let’s begin the read.
What is Gabapentin Used for in Dogs?
Gabapentin is a very common and useful drug to relieve the pain and anxiety of your canine companion.
Initially, gabapentin was designed for humans, and after evolving, it is now used for animals like cats and dogs. It is used for animals more than it is used for humans.
No exact mechanism has been discovered, but it works by readjusting the nervous system, which signals the brain.
Gabapentin is either given in a liquid form or a tablet form. As it takes time to fully effect, veterinarians recommend this drug for chronic pain rather than temporary pain.
Gabapentin is used to treat different health issues in dogs, such as:
1. Anxiety Control
Gabapentin is often used to ease anxiety disorders in dogs. There is a specific medication named trazodone which is an anti-anxiety medication.
Many people are curious and often ask if it is safe to combine trazodone with gabapentin, so the answer is yes, you can combine. Many pharmaceuticals even provide a combined solution to treat anxiety.
2. Preventing Seizures
When no other medication is effective in controlling seizures, Gabapentin is advised by vets as it contains anticonvulsant properties, which are very useful in preventing seizures and nerve control.
3. Pain Management
A dog in chronic pain is prescribed gabapentin, which is useful for treating chronic pain. It is often given with other pain-relieving drugs, such as carprofen.
It is given for chronic pain relief or conditions like osteoarthritis and joint pains, as chronic pain changes the brain’s pain pathways. It is also given for post-surgery pain.
Other conditions where Gabapentin is used are:
- Chronic pain.
- Nerve pain.
- Chronic arthritis pain.
- Back and Neck pain.
- Intervertebral disc disease.
- Muscle Spasms.
- Excessive Thirst.
What are Potential Gabapentin Side Effects in Dogs?
Side effects of Gabapentin are rare, but as with all drugs, there may be some side effects that may occur in some animals.
Consult your veterinarian immediately if your pet shows any of the below-mentioned signs of side effects.
1. Lethargic or Sleepy
Dogs are likely to be sleepy or lethargic if they are sensitive to this drug. It may also depend on the dosage, and this is the primary potential side effect of gabapentin.
2. Ataxia or Loss of Balance And Coordination
This is another side effect of gabapentin, as your dog may seem drunk or too tired to work properly.
A swaying, staggering gait often characterizes it. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog displays this sign. The vet may modify the dosage or change the drug altogether if it gets complicated.
Though often uncommon, some dogs may display diarrhea as a side effect of gabapentin. This is a rare side effect of gabapentin medication and varies from dog to dog.
All these signs are potential side effects of gabapentin, and their seriousness and severity will depend on the drug’s dosage, the dog’s condition, and the dog’s age.
What Should I Do if My Dog had a Double Dose of Gabapentin?
This is often a common and big question many new pet parents ask. What will happen, and what should I do, as my dog had a double dose of gabapentin?
The first thing a dog owner should know is to not panic in these situations as it will only worsen the situation, as you won’t be able to see the current symptoms your dog is displaying.
Here’s what you should do. Start looking for any above-mentioned symptoms of side effects your dog might display after a double dose of gabapentin.
If your dog is wobbly or showing signs of imbalance, keep them away from heights and other areas or objects from which your dog may fall or get hurt.
Next, refrain from giving home remedies or supplements to make him vomit or get better. It may unknowingly worsen the situation.
Call your veterinarian, and ask for instructions. Your vet will guide you on how to proceed further.
Precautions to Take When Offering Gabapentin to Your Dog
Prevention is better than cure, and taking precautions while offering gabapentin will help your dog get healthy quicker with fewer complications.
A few points should be considered while offering gabapentin to your dog.
1. Give The Prescribed Dosage
Always ensure your dog gets the accurate dosage of gabapentin as your veterinarian prescribes.
2. Do Not Compensate For The Dosage
If your dog misses a dose, do not offer a double dose in the next schedule to compensate for the missed one.
To note here is the timing; if you have missed the dose for your dog and the next schedule is only minutes away, do not offer a dose; just let it pass.
If the next fixed schedule for the dosage is hours away, you can give it but never compensate or double the dosage.
3. Do Not Give a Dose After Overdosage
It is important to understand the effects of over-dosing gabapentin in your dog.
If your dog has overdosed, talk to your vet about how to proceed with the medication schedules, and your vet will prescribe a new one.
Do not offer a dosage after an overdose; always let it get metabolized and completely out of your dog’s system.
4. Inform Your Vet of Other Medications
When you take your dog to see the veterinarian who prescribes gabapentin dosage, inform the vet about any other medications your dog has been prescribed before the visit.
Informing your veterinarian about other medications will lower the chances of side effects and interactions caused by consuming a combination of drugs like hydrocodone and morphine.
Also, ask your vet to prescribe a lower dosage and, more often, a tablet than the liquid ones in the market.
It is better for the dogs if they consume less gabapentin. And avoid liquid solutions of gabapentin, as they are often sweetened and harmful to dogs.
5. Avoid Sudden Stoppage of Gabapentin
Avoid stopping the medication as it may cause wind-up pain and seizures in dogs.
It is better to talk to a veterinarian and slowly decrease the gabapentin offering. Abruptly discontinuing gabapentin can cause side effects.
If you see an allergic reaction to gabapentin, tell your veterinarian, and he/she may recommend other drugs.
6. Keep Drugs Away From Reach
Keep your gabapentin and other drugs or harmful chemicals away from your dog’s reach.
Your pet can often jump up to a good height, and if they come across any chemicals or drugs, it can lead to many fatal health issues like overdose or skin burns and other harmful chemical reactions.
It usually starts working in an hour or two, and you can see its effects on your dog, and the medicinal effect will last up to four hours; this is for most dogs. It also varies on the breed and the dosage of the medication.
Dogs can get these health issues after gabapentin dosage, but it is very uncommon. Vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation are some of the very rare side effects which are only seen when dogs are administered at high doses of gabapentin.
It is very easy to know if gabapentin suits your dog and works. Observe your dog; if it is jumping, climbing, or running as it used to before getting ill, it means the drug is working well. They will climb up the stairs and furniture and start playing. If not, let your vet know after a few doses, and then they’ll decide further.
If your dog accidentally overdosed on gabapentin, do not panic. This article has all the answers to your problems as we covered the topics like what is Gabapentin, what it is used for in dogs, and what are the side effects of its usage.
This article also reflects on what you should do if your dog has accidentally been overdosed by the double dose of gabapentin and the precautions to take while administering gabapentin.
Hopefully, this read will help you and your dog in many ways. Till then, see ya.[wpdatatable id=68 responsive= stack responsive_breakpoint=”phone”/]
Dr. Lillian is a D.V.M. passionate about promoting awareness of dogs. She shares her expertise through her blogs on canineweekly.com and provides animal care services, including internal medicine, dermatology, and emergency care. Dr. Lillian is committed to contributing to animal welfare.