Gabapentin for Dogs: Dosage, Side Effects, and Natural Alternatives

Key Takeaway: Gabapentin is a drug used to improve the effectiveness of other anti-seizure drugs in dogs. It has a similar chemical structure to the neurotransmitter GABA. This neurotransmitter helps calm down brain activity. Gabapentin can also be prescribed for pain and anxiety. Some side effects include wobbliness and lethargy. There are some natural alternatives to Gapapentin.

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For dog owners living with a dog suffering from neurological disorders, pain, or anxiety, daily life can be scary, unpredictable, and heartbreaking. Not only knowing that your dog is in chronic pain, but the uncertainty of when the next seizure or epileptic fit will come is a sad reality that many owners face.


Today we will specifically look at a drug called Gabapentin for dogs; what it does, how safe it is, its possible side effects, as well as take a look at some possible natural alternatives.

WHAT IS GABAPENTIN?

Gabapentin is a type of anticonvulsant drug that is usually given to increase the effectiveness of other seizure medications in dogs, but it can also be used for pain and anxiety. It is a common drug for humans, but can also be effective for dogs, cats, and other animals.

Seizures occur when there is abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Scientists aren’t sure exactly how Gabapentin works, but it has been shown to help calm this electrical activity and change levels of certain neurotransmitters, like serotonin.

Gabapentin has a similar chemical structure to the neurotransmitter GABA. This neurotransmitter helps calm down brain activity.

Gabapentin is a generic drug. Brand names for this drug include Aclonium®, Equipax®, Gabarone®, Gantin®, Gralise®, Neurontin®, Neurostil®, and Progresse®.

Because it does take a while for Gabapentin to have full effect, this drug is likely more commonly prescribed for chronic pain rather than temporary pain.

WHAT IS GABAPENTIN USED FOR IN DOGS?

Gabapentin is often prescribed to treat:

  • Anxiety – Gabapentin can be an option for managing stress in dogs if therapies alone are not enough. It can be effective for both sudden (i.e., fireworks, thunderstorms) and predictable (i.e., car rides, vet visits) stressful events.
  • Pain - Veterinarians will, in some cases, prescribe Gabapentin to dogs suffering from chronic pain, especially when it is associated with the nervous system.
  • Seizures – Gabapentin is sometimes prescribed for dogs with seizures who are not responding well to the main epilepsy medications. Combining these drugs with Gabapentin can sometimes help them work better.

PRICE OF GABAPENTIN

According to one popular online pet pharmacy, the following are prices sold per capsule depending on the dosage.

100mg 300mg 400mg
$0.24 $0.29 $0.34

SAFETY OF GABAPENTIN FOR DOGS

Gabapentin is currently not FDA approved for veterinary use, but it is commonly accepted and prescribed by vets. It is generally speaking a safe drug and appears to have few side effects, even when an overdose happens.

However, one study showed that high doses of Gabapentin caused pancreatic cancer in mice. A larger study in humans found that Gabapentin did not increase risk for this cancer, though, and no studies have been done in dogs. Still, you might want to ask your veterinarian if your dog’s breed is susceptible to this disease (e.g., Airedale Terriers, Boxers, Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels).

Also, because this drug passes through the kidneys, it may not be suitable for dogs that have kidney disease.

SIDE EFFECTS OF GABAPENTIN IN DOGS

The most common side effects of Gabapentin include the following:

  • Sedation or lethargy
  • Wobbliness and incoordination

You should gradually increase the medication over time until you reach the recommended dosage to alleviate these side effects.

Other more serious side effects may occur. If you notice the following symptoms, you should contact your vet:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Agitation
  • Blue tongue or gums
  • Swelling of the face/muzzle
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive drooling

As with any prescription drug, your vet will consider how your dog’s other medications might interact before prescribing Gabapentin.

GABAPENTIN DOSAGE FOR DOGS

Your vet will determine the dosage of gabapentin for your dog as its a prescription drug. Before giving it to your dog, it would be best if you were aware of and comfortable with the possible side effects. The following are the generally prescribed dose ranges:

  • Seizures: 4.5 to 13.6 mg per pound of your dog’s weight, every 8-12 hours.
  • Pain: 1.4 - 5 mg per pound of your dog’s weight, every 8-12 hours.

NATURAL ALTERNATIVES TO GABAPENTIN FOR DOGS

Nowadays, it's not surprising that more and more pet parents are working with their vets to find natural ways to help their dogs.

One plant has been the subject of more research than any other in recent years, and to say it has had a profound impact on my life, my dog Biscuit, and those around me would be an understatement.

When Biscuit turned ten, she started to show visible signs of pain after trips to the dog park. The vet prescribed a drug to help, and almost immediately, it did. 

The problem didn't come until a few days later when she did something entirely out of character, something she hadn't done in her ten years of life.

She snapped at Gravy, my other Dog, while eating. This act was presumably due to this new medication; for us, it wasn't a side effect we were willing to put up with. 

Having to choose between Biscuit being in discomfort or her personality changing was not easy. I was determined to find a way to help her. 

In my search, I was fortunate to find a study by Cornell University in which several dogs with Arthritis were given CBD at a dose of 2mg/kg twice a day. To my astonishment, over 70% of the dogs showed improved mobility and reduced signs of pain after just two weeks of use.

Not only that, but there were thousands of other small studies exploring CBD's potential to help with anxiety, seizures, and much more. I was sold.

But back in 2018, when I went to purchase an appropriate CBD oil for Biscuit, one at a dose similar to the study I mentioned, which could also improve her energy levels, I realized that it did not exist.

I wanted to find a solution for Biscuit.

After months of reading every study I could find on CBD and talking to multiple veterinarians, I decided to contact a pharmacist and attempt to make a new kind of CBD oil for Biscuit.

The result was a product that helped her live more comfortably. The best part was that it did so without the risk of any severe side effects. It was gentle but effective.

I used USDA Organic coconut MCT oil to get the CBD extract to the correct dose for her weight. I did this because it tastes great and has properties that increase the absorption of CBD and a host of other benefits related to neurological health, metabolism, and more.

After human testing was completed, it was Biscuit's turn. It got the lick of approval, and she happily took her CBD oil twice a day from then on. I like to think she knew it helped.

While she has since passed, the CBD oil for dogs and other resulting products she inspired have helped many thousands of animals find natural relief from various issues.

We always recommend going to a veterinarian to diagnose and treat health issues in dogs. As a result, many veterinarians now recommend using our products alone or in combination with conventional medications.  

Relievet is now funding research on CBD for dogs in hopes of changing the lives of many more animals responsibly with this wonderful plant.


References

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Is Relievet

I'm Chris; I started Relievet to help my dog Biscuit deal with her mobility issues naturally. Relievet is a family-owned business composed of a team of passionate pet parents that includes a Doctor of Pharmacy, a dog trainer, a writer, a psychologist, and more. We make natural products that help dogs maintain balance and deal with the issues they face, and we do our best to educate people on natural pet health. Beyond that, we are conducting research in hopes of improving the lives of many more animals.


In a world of giant corporations, we favor the personal approach. Reach out to us any time, whether just to tell us your pet's story or for your vet to consult with James, our in-house Pharmacist; we would love to hear from you.

What Can We Do For Your Pet?

Animals suffer from many of the same issues as us, with one crucial difference: they can't communicate their needs or feelings. Relievet products are designed from the ground up for animals with careful consideration of their needs.


We make over 40 natural products targetting some of the most common issues faced by dogs, cats, birds, and horses.

Does My Vet Need to Be Involved?

You don't need a prescription to purchase Relievet products online or in stores in the United States and many other parts of the world.


However, only your vet can diagnose and recommend treatment for your pet's health issues, and you shouldn't ever stop, change, or add to their medication without your vet's guidance. If they have questions regarding our products, reach out to us, and we will be happy to help.