Hydromorphone For Dogs: Usage, Side Effects, And Dosage. – Relievet

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Hydromorphone For Dogs: Usage, Side Effects, And Dosage.

Christopher Kjolseth - August 28th 2020

Accuracy Review & Edit: Nicole Wanner, DVM - September 28th 2021

Table Of Contents

  • What is Hydromorphone?
  • What is Hydromorphone used for in dogs?
  • Hydromorphone dosage for Dogs.
  • Side Effects of Hydromorphone.

What is Hydromorphone?

Hydromorphone for dogs is an opioid medication that acts on the central nervous system (CNS) to relieve pain.

As a derivative of morphine, it has similar effects but is approximately two to eight times more potent with a shorter duration of action and greater sedation.

As a schedule II narcotic, Hydromorphone is only available with a prescription from a veterinarian.

What is Hydromorphone used for in dogs?

Hydromorphone for dogs has several different uses in veterinary medicine, including as a sedative, an analgesic to treat moderate to severe pain, and preoperatively to reduce the pain sensation of surgery.3 Another drug veterinarians prescribe for pain is tramadol for dogs. 

It may also be used, off-label, for suppressing the cough reflex within the brain.4

Hydromorphone dosage for Dogs.

Hydromorphone may be administered orally or by intravenous (IV), intramuscular (IM), or subcutaneous (SC) injection. When administered by injection, the typical dosage for dogs is 0.10 to 0.20 mg/kg (0.05 to 0.10 mg/lb).

When taken as an oral tablet, it is available in either the immediate or extended-release variety.

The extended-release form of the tablet should not be crushed, chewed, or dissolved as it will lead to a quick release of the full dosage, which could potentially cause an overdose.4

Side Effects of Hydromorphone.

As a powerful opiate drug, some animal patients may experience certain side effects. Side effects in dogs are generally dose and route of administration dependent.

Common side effects associated with Hydromorphone are: 

Additional side effects witnessed in dogs include: 

  • Vomiting
  • Defecation
  • Panting
  • CNS, respiratory, and cardiac depression.


  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories – Motrin, Advil, Excedrin, and Aleve 
  • Acetaminophen – Tylenol, Panadol
  • Non-Opioid Prescription Drugs - ibuprofen (Motrin), acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin (Bayer), and steroids
  • Localized numbing of problem areas – injection of anesthetic 
  • Non-Drug Treatments – ice, massage, heat pads, and acupuncture
  • CBD- The Cornell University Arthritis Study found that activity scores showed a significant decrease in pain and increased activity at both week two and week 4 of CBD treatment compared to week 0 and the placebo group. CBD has the potential to give your suffering dog a better life.  

Can CBD Help With Dog Pain?

Finding a natural way to help your dog relieve pain could dramatically change your dogs life and yours. Making the correct choice could help your dog avoid a lifetime of pharmaceutical drugs and the side effects that come with them.

Fortunately, there is research on CBD for pain in dogs. This article breaks it down and draws from our decades of experience to help you find out if CBD could help your dog.

Find Out Now

Biscuit's Story

To say Biscuit lived an active life would be an understatement. Unfortunately, at the age of 10, she started to limp after trips to the dog park. It broke my heart to see her in pain doing what she loved the most.

I started feeding her a raw food diet and added high-quality supplements to ensure her nutritional needs were met. Unfortunately, while she loved the food, the limping persisted.

I decided to go to the vet. They quickly diagnosed her with osteoarthritis and prescribed a drug to help. Her limping stopped, and she was in less visible pain. For the first week, it seemed that this was the solution.

A few days later, it was to my absolute shock that she...

Read Her Story
Accuracy Review by:
Dr. Nicole Wanner is a veterinarian and published scientific researcher. She studies the effects of CBD as a Ph.D. candidate.

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