Tramadol (Ultram) is a pain relief medicine which acts on the brain to achieve its effects. Instead of working directly on the area of pain and inflammation like Rimadyl and other NSAIDs do, it changes how pain is felt by binding to mu-opioid receptors and inhibiting the reuptake of chemicals known as serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain.

Pain relief effects may not be noticeable immediately, Best results are seen when the drug is given with NSAIDs such as firocoxib or other pain relief medicines

It is important that the capsules are swallowed whole. If they are broken or chewed, symptoms of overdose could occur.

Tramadol can be injected, both methods are equally effective but an IV injection begins working faster

Will my dog develop a tolerance to tramadol?

Dogs can develop a tolerance to tramadol over time. The vet may choose to prescribe additional medication if this happens

How regarding dual-action medicines?

Some tramadol product, particularly those created for humans, contain extra active ingredients. It’s best to use plain tramadol once treating dogs as a number of the foremost common superimposed ingredients (for example Tempra in Ultracet) will be dangerous once given at human doses.

Is it safe?:

When used correctly it is often well tolerated by dogs, with sedation being the most common adverse effect. However, it may be unsuitable for use in dogs with existing liver disease and kidney disease (in which case the dosage may be adjusted), or in dogs with poor lung function or seizure disorders.

What should I do if my pet reacts badly?

If your pet develops problems such as breathing difficulties or an abnormal heartbeat you should get in contact with the vet immediately.


Tramadol is a pain relief drug which is sometimes prescribed by vets to relieve arthritis in dogs and pain in general.

  • Anxiety
  • Canine degenerative myelopathy
  • Coughing

What side effects can I expect?

More Common

  • Vomiting
  • Constricted pupils
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tummy upset
  • Slower heart rate
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Anxiety
  • Panting

Incidence Unknown

  • Diarrhea
  • Itching
  • Rashes
  • Racing heart rate
  • Blurred vision
  • Seizures
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting


The first sign of overdose is usually depressed respiration, which will result in your pet breathing heavier or appearing to have difficulties with their breathing.

See the list of overdose symptoms below:

  • Drowsiness
  • Excess salivation
  • Odd movement or an inability to walk
  • Respiratory depression
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting

If you suspect your dog has been given (or has accidentally ingested) an overdose seeks emergency veterinary care.

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