You Gave Your Dog Gabapentin: Now He Can’t Walk

Medically reviewed by James Davis, PharmD
You Gave Your Dog Gabapentin: Now He Can’t Walk

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Nobody likes to take medicine, but it's sometimes a necessity when a condition can't be left untreated. Unfortunately many medications come with harmful side effects, which are all the worse when they're happening to your fur family. In this article we'll explore what side effects gabapentin might have, and whether it could cause your dog to be unable to walk. We'll also take a look at some natural alternatives.

Like any medication, gabapentin can have side effects that may cause harm to your dog. Your dog might not be able to walk after being given Gabapentin. This may be due to the sedative effects of the medication, which can cause drowsiness and impaired coordination in some animals. Other possible side effects of gabapentin include diarrhea, vomiting, and a loss of appetite.

If your dog is having trouble walking or experiencing any other concerning symptoms after taking gabapentin, it’s important to contact your veterinarian right away. Your veterinarian will be able to tell you what you should do if your dog can’t walk, and may adjust the dosage of gabapentin if it’s causing lameness. Your vet can also perform tests to determine whether gabapentin is really causing your dog to be unable to walk, or if there is another cause. Your vet might prescribe a different medication that is better suited to your dog’s needs. In the meantime, you should closely monitor your dog’s behavior and provide plenty of rest and quiet time to help your canine friend recover.

What is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is a medication that was originally developed to treat epilepsy in humans, but has since been found to be effective in treating a variety of other conditions such as nerve pain, anxiety, and insomnia. It works by altering the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain and nervous system, which can help to reduce pain and seizures, as well as promote relaxation and sleep.

In dogs, gabapentin is often prescribed to manage chronic pain conditions, such as arthritis, as well as to help control seizures or manage anxiety. Its prescription in dogs is considered “off-label”, because it is a drug designed for humans. It’s typically given orally, in the form of capsules or tablets. As with any medication, there is a risk of side effects, including sedation, dizziness, and gastrointestinal upset. Its sedative effect might lead to your dog being unable to walk.

Gabapentin is a prescription-only drug, so when talking with the veterinarian about options for your dog, be your dog's advocate and ask what its potential side effects are.

Can Gabapentin Cause Your Dog to Not Be Able to Walk?

Gabapentin can potentially cause your dog to have difficulty walking or become uncoordinated, especially if the dosage is too high. This is because gabapentin can have sedative effects on the nervous system, which can cause drowsiness, lethargy, and impaired motor function in some animals.

If you notice any alarming symptoms in your dog after administering gabapentin, get in touch with your vet. Your vet may be able to adjust the dosage or recommend a different medication that is better suited to your dog’s needs.

Not all dogs will experience these side effects when taking gabapentin, and some may be able to tolerate the medication without any issues. Closely monitor your dog’s behavior and response to the medication, and seek veterinary care if you have any concerns or questions about their treatment.

Dosage of Gabapentin for Dogs

The dosage will be determined by your veterinarian, who will take into account your dog’s individual needs and medical history, as well as any relevant information you provide.

As a general guideline, the recommended dosage of gabapentin for dogs is between 1 and 13 mg per pound of body weight (depending on the condition being treated), given orally twice a day. However, the actual dosage may be higher or lower depending on the specific circumstances. You can read more about the dosage of Gabapentin here.

Follow your veterinarian’s instructions carefully when administering gabapentin to your dog, and never adjust the dosage or frequency of administration without consulting with them first. Giving your dog too much gabapentin can increase the risk of side effects, while giving too little may not provide adequate relief from their symptoms.

If you have any questions or concerns about the dosage of gabapentin for your dog, or if you notice any unusual symptoms after giving the medication, be sure to contact your veterinarian right away for guidance.

What are the benefits of Gabapentin for dogs

Gabapentin has several potential benefits for dogs, and is often used to manage a variety of medical conditions, including:

  • Seizures: Gabapentin can be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan to help control seizures in dogs with epilepsy or other seizure disorders.
  • Chronic pain: Gabapentin can help to reduce pain in dogs with chronic conditions such as arthritis or nerve damage.
  • Anxiety: Gabapentin may help to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation in dogs with generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety, or other anxiety-related conditions.
  • Insomnia: Gabapentin can help to promote sleep and improve overall sleep quality in dogs with insomnia or other sleep-related disorders.

Gabapentin is not a cure for any of these conditions, but rather a tool that can help to manage symptoms and improve overall quality of life for affected dogs. The benefits of gabapentin will vary depending on the individual dog and their specific condition, and that you should always follow the vet’s instructions for its use.

What Are the Side Effects of Gabapentin for Dogs?

Gabapentin is generally considered safe for use in dogs when used as directed by a veterinarian, but like any medication, it can have potential side effects. Some of the most common side effects of gabapentin in dogs include:

  • Drowsiness or sedation: Gabapentin can have a sedative effect on dogs, causing them to become drowsy or lethargic. This sedation can sometimes cause a dog to be unable to walk.
  • Loss of coordination: Some dogs may experience a loss of coordination or become unsteady on their feet while taking gabapentin.
  • Gastrointestinal upset: Gabapentin can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in some dogs.
  • Increased appetite: Some dogs may experience an increase in appetite while taking gabapentin, which can lead to weight gain.
  • Changes in behavior: In rare cases, gabapentin can cause changes in a dog’s behavior, such as aggression or restlessness.

Before changing the dosage of gabapentin your dog is getting, consult with your veterinarian, as doing so can increase the risk of side effects and may not have the intended effect.

Natural Alternatives

There are several natural that may be helpful in managing some of the conditions that gabapentin is commonly used to treat in dogs. These include:

  1. CBD oil: CBD (cannabidiol) oil is a natural compound derived from the hemp plant that has been shown to have potential benefits for managing pain, anxiety, and seizures in dogs. However, note that not all CBD oils are created equal, and it’s essential to choose a high-quality Broad Spectrum oil that is specifically formulated for use in dogs.
  2. Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil and other supplements, have anti-inflammatory properties and may help to reduce pain and inflammation in dogs with arthritis or other chronic pain conditions.
  3. Physical therapy: Physical therapy, including exercises and stretches, can help to improve mobility and reduce pain in dogs with arthritis or other conditions that affect their musculoskeletal system.

While natural alternatives may be helpful in some cases, they should never be used as a replacement for veterinary care. A veterinarian can inform on treatment options that are specific to your dog’s needs. In some cases, a combination of conventional and natural treatments may be the most effective approach for managing your dog’s condition.

More about Gabapetin in Dogs


Gabapentin’s sedative effects can sometimes cause alarming side effects like making your dog unable to walk. Keep your vet apprised of your dog’s situation to make sure that your dog gets the best treatment possible. If gabapentin does not work for your dog, or it causes side effects that have a significant impact on your dog’s quality of life, then it’s worth asking your vet about natural alternatives that might work as well as gabapentin without the side effects.


Biscuit's Story

I was unprepared for what would happen to my dog, Biscuit. 

Ever since she was a puppy, she’d spend her days running and playing. I’d take her on walks, to the beach, and dog parks.

Unfortunately, at age 10, she started to limp after trips to the beach. 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 went to the vet, who looked over Biscuit and said she was likely limping due to joint inflammation. She gave us something to help. This worked well at first. Biscuit was moving around more freely, and was limping less. 

However, a few days later, It was to my absolute shock that she…

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