February 15, 2015, Dr. B. Thompson
When your dog begins treatment with tramadol, you can expect positive changes, but learning to live life to its fullest with your dog despite their arthritis can be a challenge. Here are some tips for keeping your dog on the right track:
Exercise and play is important to the mental wellbeing of a dog. If they aren’t well rested they can become agitated and develop unwanted behavior. Arthritis can make regular exercise and play a pain for your dog. This is why some vets prescribe tramadol for dogs suffering with joint related issues, to help prevent inactivity and stress.
Instead of taking your dog for rigorous runs on hard surfaces, consider relaxing walks along a local beach (if you have any) or field, or even scheduled swimming sessions. Swimming takes all weight off of the joints allowing them to move freely, which should give your dog room to let loose.
Most owners are strict with safety when they first begin giving their pet tramadol, but as it becomes routine they start becoming less careful than they should be. Though it’s safe to use tramadol for dogs who need it, it’s still a very serious medication and overdoses can be fatal. When you couple this with the naturally inquisitive nature of the dog it could spell disaster. Always keep medicine in a closed cabinet where your dog cannot gain access to it. If a dog gains access to tramadol pills laying around on the table they are likely to eat a good amount thinking they are treats or food!
Be aware of the effects of a tramadol overdose, which usually involves labored breathing and alterations in heart rate and rhythm. If you notice these symptoms or notice an opened pot of pills tipped over or on the floor please be cautious and call the vet for advice.
3) Additional Supplements
While this pain medicine is strong enough to provide ample relief for the average dog, it’s likely that your dog’s life will involve additional supplementation from this point onwards to really boost results and give your pet their bounce back. As mentioned on the main article, supplements like Dasuquin and glucosamine have shown to be effective remedies, are natural and safe, and you should absolutely incorporate one of these into your regimen.
4) Regular Check-Ups
You should schedule regular check-ups with the vet during your dog’s treatment to make sure everything is going smoothly. The vet will be able to catch negative changes early, and can also adjust the dosage based on how your dog is responding to treatment. Many forms of joint pain tend to be degenerative in nature and these routine consults can help you to adjust what you are doing to compensate for any natural deterioration in the condition.
5) Dealing With Side Effects
Side effects of tramadol will usually go away by itself without the need for intervention. This includes drowsiness/insomnia and nausea. If serious symptoms arise call for emergency help, but typically it’s best to ride it out with a quick call to the vet for advice if your dog is only experiencing mild discomfort.
Hopefully this advice will be helpful to owners whose dogs have recently begun treatment with tramadol, and provides insight into what you should do and what to expect. If you have any more questions don’t hesitate to contact me.