My husband joked on the way home from the animal hospital about being able to share our dog’s muscle relaxants and pain medications if his runs out. My husband has chronic back problems, including a fusion surgery of the C5 and C6 degenerative discs. Hubby has taken muscle relaxants and pain medications for his back for around 25 years. Even though I knew my husband was joking about this, I really know much about canine pain medications, so I did some research and what I learned was very alarming. Sharing your dog’s pain medications can kill you.

We recently rushed our 8-year old AKC-registered Maltese dog, Spike, to the animal hospital around 10 pm. We came home from a motion picture around 8 pm and Spike was whining, moaning, and could not walk. The dog tried to walk, but could only use his front paws and painfully drug his limp back legs along the ground. When we touched the dog to see if he had cuts, stickers, broken bones or whatever, Spike let out a horrendous scream.

For the next two hours, Spike would not eat or drink water. The dog continued intermittent displays of excruciating pain. At first, we thought he may have a bowel blockage, or some issue with his kidney or liver because his abdominal area seemed to be a bit bloated. We decided to take him to the animal hospital to get x-rayed. We found out that our dog injured his back, probably from jumping off the bed, and was having spine pain and muscle spasms, just like a human does. The veterinarian that this is typical in aging small dogs weighing less than 10 pounds.

The veterinarian prescribed two medications for our dog: Tramadol HCL Tabs and Rimadyl 25 mg tabs and stated to take Spike to our regular veterinarian is the pain did not subside within 24 hours. He also stated to call him back immediately if Spike experiences vomiting, seizures, or other abnormal reactions. I immediately wanted to know more about these drugs.

Possible Dangerous Tramadol HCL Side Effects

Tramadol HCL, or tramadol hydrochloride, is an analgesic sometimes given to humans under the trade name ULTRAM for moderate to moderately severe pain. There have been numerous studies on the use of Tramadol for various pain symptoms in humans, including pain from dental work. Tramadol HCL can have hazardous side effects, including seizures and death, in humans who are:

Hypersensitive to opioids, use alcohol, use hypnotics or psychotropic drugs, or use other centrally acting analgesics like codeine or morphine. In some cases of Tramadol overdose, injecting Naloxone, which is used to counteract heroin overdose, can actually increase the chance of seizure.

Using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI antidepressants or anorectics), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and other tricyclic compounds (e.g., cyclobenzaprine, promethazine, etc.), MAO inhibitors, neuroleptics, tranquilizers, or opioids.

Already sensitive to seizures from epilepsy, head trauma, metabolic disorders, alcohol and drug withdrawal, and CNS infections.

Other possible Tramadol HCL side effects include:

Pruritus, hives, bronchospasm, angioedema, respiratory distress, impaired renal function, impair mental or physical abilities, dizziness, constipation, headache, and nausea

Withdrawal symptoms from suddenly stopping Tramadol HCL include:

anxiety, sweating, insomnia, rigors, pain, nausea, tremors, diarrhea, upper respiratory symptoms, piloerection, and in rare cases, hallucinations.

Keep the Dog Pain Medications Away from Children

Children may think since their favorite pet is taking medications for make it feel better, that they can take some too, like candy. Tramadol HCL can be a very drug. Keep the dog medication away from children, elderly family, and pregnant women. For more information about the dangerous side effects of Tramadol HCL, visit this FDA web site:

FDA Grade for Tramadol HCL Tab

Rimadyl 25 for Dogs. Not for Cats or Humans

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Rimadyl for dogs in 1996. Rimadyl is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to relieve pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis in dogs. NSAIDs are commonly used in human medicine like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen for relief of pain. Carprofen, the active ingredient in Rimadyl, is not approved for use in humans. You should never give Rimadyl to cats.

Rimadyl is one of two NSAID products currently approved for use in dogs. Rimadyl is available by veterinary prescription only. For more information about using Rimadyl with your dog and the possible side effects of Rimadyl, visit these two FDA web site brochures:

Dog Owner Information About Rimadyl

Currently Approved Labels for Companion Animal NSAIDs


FDA Grade for Tramadol HCL Tab

Rimadyl Information from the FDA