Dr. Shelby Loos discusses gabapentin for dogs, including what it’s used for, the gabapentin dosage for dogs, and potential side effects. CBD and Gabapentin For Dogs: Can Dogs Take CBD and Gabapentin? Cannanine™ Ultra-Premium Hemp Oil (250mg, 500mg, 1000mg) $69.99 – $129.99 $39.99 – $99.99 The most potent and cost effective Dogs receiving chemotherapy for cancer tend to have a lot of unwanted side effects. Many pet parents use CBD oil as a way to curb some of them and make their pet more comfortable. Recent research has shown that giving CBD oil to your pet in conjunction with radiation actually may make chemotherapy more effective.
Gabapentin for Dogs: How It Can Help
Gabapentin has a variety of uses in veterinary medicine, and prescribing gabapentin for dogs, especially, is becoming more popular amongst veterinarians.
Here’s everything you need to know about gabapentin for dogs.
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What Is Gabapentin for Dogs?
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant and analgesic drug that is commonly prescribed by veterinarians to treat seizures, pain, and anxiety in dogs.
It is a human medication, and its use in veterinary medicine is “off-label,” meaning it is not FDA-approved for pets.
How gabapentin works is not completely understood; however, it is thought to inhibit the release of excitatory neurotransmitters.
What Is Gabapentin Used for in Dogs?
Gabapentin can be prescribed to help with seizures, pain, and anxiety in dogs.
Gabapentin has anticonvulsant properties that make it beneficial for adjunctive therapy for dogs with refractory seizures, or those whose current medication regime is no longer effective enough.
Gabapentin is also an analgesic, meaning it provides pain relief for chronic pain and neuropathic pain. It’s most commonly used for the chronic pain associated with degenerative joint disease.
It has also shown to be beneficial when used in combination with other pain medications—such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories or opioids—to help with pain associated with surgery.
While traditionally used for seizures and pain, gabapentin is becoming more popular to use as adjunctive therapy for anxiety in dogs as well.
What Are the Side Effects of Gabapentin in Dogs?
Sedation is the main potential side effect of gabapentin, and the level of sleepiness varies from patient to patient. Veterinarians will prescribe a starting dose, and if this results in the dog becoming a little too sedate, the veterinarian will taper the dose down to the most effective one.
Like all medications, there is a small chance that a dog could be allergic to it, in which case, this medication should be avoided.
What’s the Gabapentin Dosage for Dogs?
The dosage range for gabapentin varies widely depending on what it is being used to treat. Gabapentin should be used with caution for animals with liver or kidney disease, as it will take longer to metabolize.
Gabapentin is available in several forms that are human-labeled products:
100 mg (capsules and tablets)
300 mg (capsules and tablets)
400 mg (capsules and tablets)
There is also an oral solution made at 250 mg/5 mL; however, sometimes the solution is formulated with xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Your veterinarian will help you order this medication in a form that is safe for your dog.
Sometimes a dog is too small to use the human formulations, in which case, a compounding pharmacy can formulate whichever form and dosage that the veterinarian requests.
Gabapentin is usually given by mouth three to four times, with or without food. Check the directions on the bottle or ask your vet if you are not sure of the correct dosage for your dog.
Gabapentin should start to take effect fairly quickly, and relief should be noticed within one or two hours of administration.
Since it is a short-acting drug, the effects will be gone in 24 hours; however, the medication may last longer in dogs with renal or liver impairment.
This drug should not be stopped abruptly when used to treat seizures, as it can result in withdrawal seizures. Always consult a veterinarian before discontinuing any medication.
Can You Use Gabapentin and Trazodone Together for Dogs?
Trazodone is a commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medication, and while it is not recommended to be used with tramadol, it is safe to use with gabapentin. There are combination solutions from compounded pharmacies that contain both trazodone and gabapentin, and these are more commonly prescribed for behavior disorders like anxiety.
Can Dogs Take CBD and Gabapentin?
Another common question is if dogs can take gabapentin with CBD oil. This is not recommended due to the risk of increased sedation between the two.
Always consult with a veterinarian before starting your dog on any additional medications or supplements that were not originally prescribed to ensure that they are safe with your dog’s current medications.
Is Tramadol or Gabapentin Better for Dogs in Pain?
Tramadol is another medication that has been commonly prescribed to treat pain in dogs; however, this is starting to fall out of favor with veterinarians.
Studies have found that tramadol may not be as effective as originally thought. In fact, it was found to be ineffective at controlling pain associated with osteoarthritis in dogs. However, studies are ongoing, and the debate is still up for discussion on the effectiveness of tramadol.
In the meantime, veterinarians are turning more towards gabapentin for pain relief in their patients.
Want to learn more about pain medication for dogs? Read this advice on pain management.
CBD and Gabapentin For Dogs: Can Dogs Take CBD and Gabapentin?
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Gabapentin vs CBD Oil for Dogs
In the last 2 years, the popularity of cannabidiol (CBD) has exploded in popularity for dog owners seeking to manage pain & anxiety. CBD is often touted by some as a miracle drug, capable of curing nearly any ailment. The truth, however, is much more nuanced and while the industry is plagued by unrealistic promises for using CBD, actual research backed science is emerging that shows great promise for this hemp based compound.
In this beginner’s guide, we’ll introduce you to canine pain management using CBD. We’ll cover topics on the safety and legality of CBD, what scientific studies have shown, the success rates of using CBD on dogs, and choosing a quality product. We’ll conclude with a list of resources where you can learn more about CBD.
How CBD Works In Your Dog’s Body to Modulate Pain
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is an interconnected chain of receptors found in your dog’s brain, their nervous system, glands, and organs. Scientists don’t fully understand the ECS yet (it was only first discovered in 1992) but its believed to help maintain balance within the body.
All mammals—humans, dogs, and cats included—rely the ECS system to regulate immune response. CBD oil interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your dog’s body and acts as a natural neuroprotective agent with multiple health benefits. The cannabinoids in the oil open up two-way communication between endocannabinoid receptors to allow the body to either increase or decrease the immune response as needed. CBD oil is the natural way of regulating the system to maintain the perfect balance.
The reason CBD seems to help modulate pain is that many dog’s bodies are deficient in cannabinoids. Supplementing with CBD increasing cannabinoids in the body and restores balance to the ECS system.
RELATED: 10 Myths Regarding CBD Oil and Dogs
Is It Safe To Use CBD and Gabapentin to Manage Pain for Dogs?
In 2016, Colorado State University completed a pharmacokinetic and safety study of CBD on healthy dogs. This was the first clinical trial to demonstrate that the cannabidiol compound was absorbed by the dogs and measurable in the blood. The study suggests that CBD usage in dogs is safe enough to warrant more studies. Source
For the study, 30 healthy dogs were given 2 different dosages CBD in 3 different methods of delivery: capsules, an oil tincture, and a cream applied on the skin. The results showed that CBD given orally as a tincture was best absorbed and bioavailable to the body. (This is why we recommend buying CBD in a tincture as your first choice).
What Scientific Studies or Clinical Trials Have Been Done on CBD for Pain Management for Dogs?
In addition to the safety and absorption study mentioned above, 3 clinical trials have recently concluded with promising results. It’s important to note that the we’re still in the early stages of understanding how CBD interacts with the body, and much more research needs to be done:
1. Cornell University: Osteoarthritis Pain Reduction in Dogs: Cornell University researchers found that CBD supplied by ElleVet Sciences increased comfort and the activity of dogs suffering from arthritis, according to a study published in July of 2018. This clinical study suggests that 2 mg/kg of CBD given twice daily can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with osteoarthritis. Source
2. Liberty Leaf: CBD Research Study on Canine Pain Management: In August of 2018, results from a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial demonstrated that dogs with diagnosed osteoarthritis receiving a daily dose of only 0.3 mg per kg of a CBD-infused oil formulation for 4 weeks showed reduced pain and improved functional performance.
3. Colorado State University: Reduction in Seizures for Dogs with Epilepsy: For 24 weeks, dogs that experience at least two seizures a month received either CBD oil treatment or a placebo. Preliminary results released in July of 2018 showed that a 89% of the dogs studied showed a drop in regular seizures.
How Successful is CBD At Managing Canine Pain?
iHeartDogs commissioned a survey that was completed by 455 people who gave CBD to to their dogs. The following data represents the responses of dog owners who gave CBD for pain management:
Survey Question: How effective do you feel the product was for your dog’s condition?
You can view the full survey results here.
How to Choose a Quality CBD from Hemp Product for Your Dog
Choosing a high quality CBD product can be confusing since the market is currently exploding and your options appear endless. Unfortunately, many brands do not perform 3rd party batch testing on their products to ensure the efficacy and purity.
We’ve put together a buying guide for CBD, containing 8 things to watch out for before making a purchase. You can receive the CBD Oil Buying Guide by by requesting it below:
What Real Dog Owners Say After Using CBD for Their Dog’s Pain
We asked members the iHeartSeniorDogs Facebook community for their experience with using CBD to alleviate their dog’s pain:
Cannanine CBD is currently the only CBD oil approved and recommended by iHeartDogs.com
CBD has done wonders for our 11 year old Roti. You have to be very careful not to give them too much THC so choose your CBD carefully – Ken Tress
A lifesaver! I truly believe I would’ve already had to put her to sleep if not for it. – Suzanne Stanfield
The best thing I have ever done for my 200 pound Old English Mastiff was CBD oil she is 7 and we rescued her at 3 yrs old she was kept in a crate for 22 hours a day so she has terrible arthritis… so I medicate her 2 times a week and she runs and plays with my 2 puppers!! – Janell Michelle Cody
It’s been two weeks for our 13 year old pug and his hips are shot. His energy is back now, not jumping from pain when I pet him and is happy again. If I hadn’t tried this CBD oil I wouldn’t have believed it. Been a God send for my ole guy. I highly recommend it. Beats giving him pain meds which takes his spirit away. – Susan Johnson-Smith
I purchased Cannanine CBD oil for my two Bull Terriers for two different reasons. One is 8.5 yrs old and has arthritis. After a couple doses 1 per day there was an amazing improvement. She is up and playing and running around with my 2.5 yr. old. My 2.5 yr old is very excitable and we bring them both to our Sean soak campground. I tried it on her for calming effects. It seems to hit her the next day. Still experimenting with this. But for my 8.5 yr old it has brought back her quality of life. – Ann Fyfe
Some dog owners use CBD, but in addition to other supplements or prescription medications:
CBD and Gabapentin For Dogs
My dog is on Gabapentin along with CBD. No problems. – Mary Mueller
My dog is on Gabapentin and uses a 300mg cbd. It’s Really made a difference. He is 11. – Gene Sorensen
Good option but definitely not 1st line. Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM combo with Turmeric is a better 1st line options. Add CBD if this combo is not fully working by itself. –
My dog was on carprofen (generic rimadyl) and gabapentin for his arthritis pain. When I started him on cbd oil, I started with a much lower dose than what was recommended. Too much cbd too fast may cause issues like drowsiness or loose stool. While the cbd oil gradually increased, the other meds gradually decreased. As someone mentioned, it’s best to wean your dog off gabapentin slowly, don’t stop abruptly. My boy is only taking the cbd oil now and he is doing quite well. He even runs a little and he hasn’t run in years! Good luck with your pup! – Barbara Kalman LaVista
I am using Cannanine cbd oil along with turmeric paste. I couldn’t be happier with the results. – Pam Smith
Other dog owners saw results, but also had a few mild side-effects:
Fang (our 120lb..13 year old lab): has been on CBD oil for about 5- 6 weeks now and we’ve seen a noticeable improvement in his joint pain and overall movements. He’s able to walk up our 5 stairs with NO help and at times even takes off rather briskly up them. As of today, I would highly recommend CBD oil for older dog joint pain. We have noticed an increased appetite which has been a bit of a problem since he’s always had a rather enormous Lab appetite. We just focus on keeping his food intake the same to avoid weight gain…he can be a tiny bit hungry to be pain free. – Sinéad Daly Heath
One User’s Story: CBD for a 12 Year Old Immobile Dog
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What Drugs Will Interact with My Pet’s CBD?
While we still do not even know the extent that people’s medications will interact with CBD, even less is known about pet CBD medication interactions. That is simply because the research is lacking for both, especially in the pet field.
My veterinarian will not talk to me about CBD, but I would still like to make an educated decision on whether or not giving them CBD would be for the best.
We understand that this can be a very frustrating issue for a lot of pet parents. While CBD can cause some pet medications to be more or even less effective if consumed with CBD, there are similar precautions that have to be taken when giving your pet herbal supplements or even vitamins. There is always going to be a chance of interactions. The extent of them depends on body chemistry and prescription dose. What will affect one pet, may not affect another.
When CBD is ingested orally at large doses a group of liver enzymes in your pet may be temporarily altered. One of the most common interactions that relate to this is grapefruit for humans. CBD is also metabolized by cytochrome P450 enzymes preventing it from metabolizing other compounds.
“The extent to which cannabidiol behaves as a competitive inhibitor of cytochrome P450 depends on how tightly CBD binds to the active site of the metabolic enzyme before and after oxidation. This can change greatly, depending on how – and how much – CBD is administered, the unique attributes of the individual taking this medication, and whether isolated CBD or a whole-plant remedy is used.” – Adrain Devitt-Lee, a researcher at Project CBD.
60% of all medications are metabolized in the liver via specific enzymes produced in it. CBD, like grapefruit, temporarily uses up the enzymes and/or inhibiting the action of others.
Drugs that may be used for pain relief in your pet such as NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory drugs), Tramadol, Gabapentin or anxiety relief such as Prozac all rely on the P450 enzymes. This does not mean your pet can’t take CBD, it just means you might want to be a little more careful when dosing it at first. And CBD can be a wonderful way to hopefully have your pet use less of the above medications.
NSAIDs can wreak havoc on the stomach and liver over long term use.
Tramadol and Gabapentin usually require an increased dose over time because the body gets used to it.
Prozac and any other anti-anxiety will have withdrawal symptoms if given over a period of time. Please do not ever take your pet off of these medications cold-turkey. It is very very important your pet is titrated down slowly off of them.
Here is how one of our clients uses CBD and Prozac together-
“I give my dog Blooming Culture pet CBD oil on a daily basis to help with her generalized anxiety. When we travel or fly I up her dose of CBD that day and add in her veterinarian prescribed Prozac. I have found in conjunction they work really well together for extreme circumstances.”
One of the biggest known and visible side-effects of dosing your pet CBD with any of these medications is tiredness, which can be easily remedied by adjusting their dose.
If you are thinking about switching your pet off their prescription medication or trying to lower their dose, do it slowly. You can first start with a low dose of CBD and talking to your veterinarian on the best way to ween off the particular medication.
All Drug Interactions are Not Negative
Since CBD can also enhance the effects of certain medications, this means that a lower dose of that medication or therapy can sometimes be used, which is a positive.
Drugs used for dog seizures is one. Since CBD also has its own anti-seizure properties, it has proven to work well in human clinical trials together with anti-seizure medications. The AKC Health Foundation recently announced that it will begin a major clinical trial to study the potential for pet CBD oil for use in drug-resistant epileptic dogs.
The second is chemotherapy. Dogs receiving chemotherapy for cancer tend to have a lot of unwanted side effects. Many pet parents use CBD oil as a way to curb some of them and make their pet more comfortable. The same way people going through radiation may use CBD or cannabis. But recent research has shown that giving CBD oil to your pet in conjunction with radiation actually may make chemotherapy more effective.
Some research states that CBD triggers TRPV2 channels, making the cancer cells more sensitive to chemotherapy.
A different study showed that rats with pancreatic cancer had 3X the survival rate when given CBD in conjunction with chemotherapy instead of only chemotherapy.
Again, please work with your veterinarian as much as possible to make sure every medication, natural or not is working together safely on your pet.
*This article is for informational purposes only. If you have pet medication interaction concerns, please always consult with your veterinarian first.