Gabapentin for Dogs

Gabapentin is a veterinary analgesic, anticonvulsant and anti-epileptic medication, chiefly prescribed for controlling chronic pain but can also be used for managing epileptic fits. As an anticonvulsant Gabapentin was originally developed and formulated for human use only and FDA hasn’t approved it as a vet medication. Hence this anticonvulsant’s use as a veterinary drug is for ‘extra-label’ purposes only.

As a veterinary medication, Gabapentin is prescribed exclusively for dogs and cats largely for treatment and management of pain, epilepsy, and anxiety. Vets generally stipulate using this palliative and anticonvulsant along with other drugs for pain management but sometimes it’s prescribed individually.   


Gabapentin at a Glance

Brand Name


Generic Name (Active Ingredient)


Drug Type


Is it approved by FDA?

Only for humans, cats, and dogs


Only through prescription

Available in forms

Tablets and capsules

Is Gabapentin Safe for Dogs?

Vets frequently prescribe Gabapentin for the control and management of neuropathic pain its disapproval by FDA for use in animals notwithstanding. Several studies have indicated that this medication works best when prescribed together with an NSAID for dealing with pain. Gabapentin helps in relieving arthritic pain when administered in conjunction with an opioid medication such as Tramadol.

Numerous studies have also pinpointed that this analgesic-cum-anticonvulsant is remarkably efficient in reducing postoperative or postsurgical pain in dogs.

The Mechanism of Action of Gabapentin in Dogs

Gabapentin has slowly and gradually become extensively popular as a vet medicine thanks to its effectiveness in canine pain management. However, this drug was initially formulated to help deal with epileptic fits and convulsions in humans. Like any other anticonvulsant, the action of Gabapentin comprises obstructing the transmission of specific electrical impulses that cause paroxysms and seizures.

Advanced research has amply demonstrated that some of these neurotransmitters (the chemical substance that carries the electrical impulses or messages) transmit signals associated with pain perception. However, in the present times, this anticonvulsant tends to be more popular for its singular capacity to control neuropathic pain. Pain in the backside and neck resulting from nerve tumors, pinched nerves or swollen discs are instances of neuropathic pain.

Though Gabapentin is alleged to be most effective against neuropathic pain, it’s widely used as an ‘add-on’ for treating chronic pain. When it comes to managing veterinary pain, NSAIDs have always been and continue to be the first line of treatment. It’s only when a specific NSAID fails to manage neuropathic pain that vets consider using Gabapentin as an adjunctive drug.

Appropriate Gabapentin Dosage for Dogs

The following table shows the recommended or prescribed dosage stipulated by vets for the different conditions that Gabapentin helps manage.


The prescribed or appropriate dosage

Seizure clusters (two or more paroxysms in a 24-hour period)

5mg/lb (10mg/kg) administered three times a day every 8 hours for 3 consecutive days


5-10mg/lb (10-20mg/kg) once every 12, 8, or 6 hours

Neuropathic pain

1.5-5mg/lb (3-10 mg/kg) once daily


Strictly follow the above dosage when offering Gabapentin for a specific condition mentioned in the table. The action mechanism of the medication starts just within hours of giving the same. Gabapentin dosage normally does not change irrespective of the weight, size or age of your dog.

Additionally, the efficacy of the drug does not vary regardless of whether you offer the medicine with or without food. Suddenly curtailing the treatment without first informing or discussing it with the vet might trigger withdrawal symptoms as Gabapentin is a very powerful drug. The tapering-off process should be slow and gradual and it usually takes three weeks at the most for the course to end. 

Common Side Effects

Common side effects of Gabapentin include:-

  • Drowsiness or sleepiness (the dog may remain asleep for many more hours than usual)
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Swollen eyes
  • Uncoordinated movements

Overdose Signs and Symptoms

In case you observe any one of the above side effects, you should report the same immediately to your vet. Alternatively, you can get in touch with ASCPA (Animal Poison Control Center Helpline [1-8888-426-4435])

Drug Contraindications

You must not offer the drug if your dog is:-

  • Allergic to the anticonvulsant
  • On morphine, hydrocodone or antacid
  • Nursing or pregnant
  • Suffering from kidney disease

Disclaimer: The above content is based on multiple research articles referred to online. Global Dog Breeds intends to share information, but it's strictly advised to consult a veterinarian and seek advice before using any medications described. We believe each condition and dog is unique, and only after careful evaluation from a qualified professional should you be offering any medications to your pet.

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