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Gabapentin side effects in dogs

Updated February 21, 2017

Gabapentin is a prescription drug originally developed to treat epilepsy in humans, but today, it's used to relieve pain in people, dogs, cats and a variety of other animals. Read on to find out what Gabapentin mean for your dog.

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Gabapentin is used mainly in dogs and cats for chronic pain caused by neuropathic disorders. However, it has also been recommended for dealing with arthritic pain and pain caused by malignancy.

How It Works

Oral Gabapentin, the most common form of the drug, is absorbed by the duodenum and partially metabolised by the liver. If your dog has liver or kidney problems, Gabapentin may not be the best drug choice.

Mild Sedation

Although they're considered minor side effects, the most common side effects of Gabapentin are mild sedation, increased drowsiness or lethargy in some dogs.


In some cases, ataxia can occur after use of Gabapentin. Ataxia is a neurological symptom where the muscles no longer work together correctly.


You should not stop using Gabapentin abruptly. Abrupt withdrawal of the drug may cause seizures or extreme rebound pain in dogs.

Effects in Laboratory Animals

Although there has been no link in dogs, Gabapentin caused fetal loss in laboratory animals, and should only be used in pregnant or lactating animals when absolutely necessary.


Do not give your dog the human form of Gabapentin for pain. The human form of Gabapentin contains xylitol and can be toxic to dogs.

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About the Author

Sienna Condy

Sienna Condy began writing professionally in 2001 while attending the University of Cincinnati, and she's been at it ever since. Since graduating, she's written everything from marketing materials to articles on removing stains. Today, she enjoys writing about weddings, legal issues, science, health and parenting.

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