Tramadol For Dogs – Dosage, Side Effects & All You Need To Know

Tramadol, also most commonly known under its brand name Ultram, is a prescription medicine given in order to relieve pain by having specific pain-relieving effects on the brain.

Tramadol doesn’t have any specific anti-inflammatory properties or abilities to directly affect the area that’s causing you pain, it instead focuses on specific properties that allow your brain to decrease the sensation of pain at that given moment in time.

Introduction To Tramadol For Dogs

If what you’re looking for is something that will directly affect the area of pain in your dog’s body and/or reduce swelling in that area in order to reduce pain, then you should probably be searching for something such as Rimadyl for dogs and not Tramadol for dogs.

(Here’s a good article that discusses the difference between the two and when either is a better option).

Most probably though, the reason you’re here reading this article is in order to find out whether giving your dog Tramadol in order to make them feel better is a good thing during times they’re going through pain, to which the answer is yes.

However, there are a few things you have to be very well aware of before you go ahead and give your dog a dosage of Tramadol, so read along in order to be well educated about this issue before you give them any of this medication.

When Is It A Good Idea To Give My Dog Tramadol

If you’re a dog owner that has thought about giving their dog Tramadol at any given time before, you should only do this if there’s a real need to.

After all, Tramadol does require a prescription for you to buy, so this alone speaks volumes about how this medication is not to be taken lightly.

Here are some of the most common cases where giving dogs Tramadol would be a good idea.

After-Surgery Pain: Dogs that have been recently operated on for any reason will tend to feel after-surgery pain.

If this pain is on the higher end of your dog’s threshold, then giving them Tramadol in order to reduce this pain feeling would be a good idea to consider.

Joint Pain: Many dogs that suffer from joint pain, whether that be because of a mild condition or arthritis, are given Tramadol to help ease the feeling of pain.

Excessive Anxiety: Dogs that get overly anxious because of something going on, an event, a noise, etc .. are often given Tramadol in order to induce calmness and a feeling of being at ease.

One of the most common times Tramadol is given to dogs is around the 4th of July, where people go crazy with fireworks and dogs panic because of the very loud noise.

Short Term Injury: Tramadol is sometimes prescribed to dogs that suffer from short term injuries because of an accident that they got in during a certain physical activity or because of an event that took place during their day to day lives.

Anti Depressant: Although this isn’t as common as some of the other cases we mentioned above, some dog owners get prescriptions to give their dogs Tramadol to help with their case of depression.

Tramadol Dosage For Dogs

If you plan on giving your dog Tramadol for any reason, you have to make sure that you give them just the right dosage they need in order to stay safe and not put their health at risk.

If you give your dog excessive dosages of Tramadol over time, this can lead to many health problems in your dog, sometimes even life threatening ones.

In order to best make sure that the dosage of Tramadol you’re giving to your dog is within the realms of safety, talk to your veterinarian about this and follow the dosage recommendation they give you, as they’re the most competent person you know that’s able to give you a scientific answer about this.

With that being said, there is a general range when it comes to giving dogs Tramadol which most dog owners abide by, depending on how serious and intense the pain they’re trying to help their dog overcome is.

Depending on the level of pain your dog is experiencing, it’s often recommended that you start off at a dosage of 0.5 mg/lb if the pain your dog is feeling is minimal, upping the dosage all the way to 1.8 mg/lb if the pain your dog is feeling is maximal.

This dosage should not be exceeded at all every 12 hours.

Again, this is the most general dosage recommendation you’re going to get about giving your dog Tramadol, and the case your dog is suffering from and the Tramadol dosage they should be getting may be very different, which is why it’s always best that you talk to your veterinarian about this and let them do the accurate calculations.

Even when your veterinarian specifies a certain dosage of Tramadol you have to give your dog, it’s your duty to see whether or not this dosage is actually reliving your dog from feeling pain or signs of them still being in pain are still there.

In the latter case, you have to tell your veterinarian about how you’re noticing that your dog is still in physical pain so they, maybe, decide to up the dose a little.

Importance Of Not Skipping Tramadol Dosages With Your Dog

If you’re going to put your dog on a course of treatment with Tramadol, please do the best of your abilities to keep a set schedule and follow through it without missing Tramadol dosages for your dog.

By making a habit of missing Tramadol dosages a few times, and besides the fact that the course of treatment won’t be as effective as it should be if you don’t miss any dosages, you run the risk of missing one too many dosages that will eventually cause your dog to relapse, prompting you to re-start the course of treatment from square zero all over again.

How Long Can I Give My Dog Tramadol?

Again, this is something that’s best (and most accurately) determined by your veterinarian, since the required length of treatment with Tramadol may greatly vary from dog to dog.

A dog suffering from minor leg pain will require a much shorter course of treatment with Tramadol than a dog suffering from excruciating pain because of something much more serious.

It’s very important that you don’t give your dog Tramadol for extended periods of time and only follow the length of treatment course specified by your veterinarian in order to avoid your dog eventually developing a tolerance to Tramadol with time.

If your dog develops a tolerance to Tramadol, they won’t feel nearly the same pain relief they used to feel before they developed a tolerance, which means you’ll have to search for a stronger medication to give them the same pain-relief feeling they used to feel before – definitely not a good thing!

After the specified course of treatment with Tramadol is up for your dog, your veterinarian should make it as clear as possible how you should “end off” this course of treatment by gradually decreasing the dosage all the way to square zero.

This will ensure that your dog doesn’t experience any “Tramadol withdrawal” symptoms and that the process of them getting off this medication goes as smooth as possible.

As far as your dog developing an addiction on Tramadol is concerned, you shouldn’t worry about this happening as long as you stick to the duration and dosage specified by your veterinarian.

Tramadol in and of itself isn’t known to be a medication that has the ability to develop addiction among patients who take it, so that shouldn’t be a worry of yours to start with.

How Can I Give My Dog Tramadol?

First off, there are different forms in which Tramadol can be given to dogs, most common of which are:

  • Swallowable tablet form
  • Needle injections

Because Tramadol is a fairly strong medication to take, it’s best that you give your dog Tramadol with certain food they’re having that they’ll swallow right away.

This will make it easier on your dog’s stomach to handle and will greatly reduce the risk of your dog vomiting if they take this medication on an empty stomach.

It’s especially important that if you choose to give your dog Tramadol along with something they’re eating, that you give it to them in a form that they can only swallow and not chew on the Tramadol pill, because chewing the Tramadol pill can lead to negative health effects.

Besides the fact that giving your dog Tramadol with food helps with making it easier on their stomach, giving your dog Tramadol disguised in food they like to eat will make it incredibly easier to actually get them to take the medication to begin with.

You may have a very obedient dog at home that’ll take any medication you give them without being the least bit stubborn, but this isn’t at all the case for all dog owners out there, as many of them have dogs that give them the hardest of times when it comes to taking their medications, something which isn’t fun at all if you’re going to have to do this multiple times on a daily basis.

So, if your pup is a stubborn fella, just wrap the Tramadol pill inside one of their favorite treats or whatever meal they’re having and call it a day!

Tramadol Side Effects In Dogs

Here are some of the most common side effects that you may notice in your dog upon giving them Tramadol for pain relief.

– Excessive desire to sleep and feeling lethargic (This feeling is only very common at the start of the treatment course with Tramadol, it eventually goes away with time)

– Lightheadidness and lack of coordination when moving

– Difficulty breathing

– Irregular heartbeats (may be a sudden decrease in heart rate or an increase in heart rate)

– Decreased apetite

– Stomach & digestive problems (loose stool, constipation, etc ..)

– Vomiting

– Development of rashes on skin and increased desire to scratch itches

– Seizures

– Losing consciousness

– Coma

Even if you follow your veterinarian’s dosage requirements when giving your dog Tramadol, your dog may experience some of the aforementioned side effects, in which case you should take note of them and act accordingly.

However, if you’re following a proper dosage schedule and amount set by your veterinarian, chances of your dog experiencing some of the more dangerous and intense side effects are slim.

If they experience any side effects, it’s most likely going to be the lower-scale ones.

If the side effects your dog shows are very mild ones, take note of them and talk to your veterinarian about them so they can determine whether any changes to the dosage need to be done, and if the side effects your dog shows are serious ones, you need to drop everything you’re doing on the spot and take them to the nearest pet emergency care center where they can be taken care of right away.

Tramadol Overdose In Dogs

If your dog has overdosed on Tramadol, whether it’s because you’ve given them a much larger dose than they should have taken or they somehow made their way to the box and swallowed some pill on their own, immediate action should be taken.

In such cases, you don’t have time to wait at all and you need to get your dog to the nearest emergency pet care center right away so that they remove the Tramadol from their body before it does further damage to your dog’s system.

When Is Tramadol Bad For Dogs?

As is the case when it comes to all sorts of medications, Tramadol for dogs can be bad and lead to very serious health complications in some specific cases, which is another reason why you should always talk to your veterinarian before giving your dog any dose of Tramadol or any other medication.

You may be giving certain medication to your dog that strictly cannot be taken along with Tramadol, or your dog may suffer from certain health conditions that will be greatly aggravated if given Tramadol, both of which you obviously don’t want happening with your dog.

Here are some of the most common cases where giving your dog Tramadol would be a bad idea:

– Dogs that suffer from kidney disease/kidney problems

– Dogs that suffer from liver disease/liver problems

– Dogs that suffer from lung functionality problems

– Dogs that experience seizures

– Extra Important: Pregnant and/or nursing mothers, as Tramadol will be passed to the baby puppy through the mother’s milk.

A Note About Giving Dogs Tramadol Made For Humans

When it comes to giving your dog Tramadol, you have to be very careful not to give them Tramadol that was designed for human consumption, but one that was specifically designed to be consumed by dogs.

The reason you have to be very careful about this is due to the fact that Tramadol designed for human consumption will often contain multiple ingredients that may possible be harmful to dogs, which is why these ingredients are removed from Tramadol that is specifically designed to be consumed by dogs.


  1. My dog was feeling depressed after losing all of her puppies. We brought her to the vet and were prescribed of tramadol. I did not have much time to ask the vet what the medicine was for. Thank you for this information. I trust vets, I just want to know more about what goes into my dog’s system.


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