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Gabapentin 101: What You Need to Know if Your Dog or Cat Needs Gabapentin

Developed in collaboration with Andrea Johnson, DVM | Co-Founder | PetVet365

Last reviewed: 11/27/2023

What is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is an anti-seizure (anticonvulsant) and pain medication that is prescribed to treat seizures and chronic pain (primarily nerve pain) in dogs. It is prescribed for cats to treat fear and anxiety associated with veterinary visits. It is often used in combination with other medications.

Your veterinarian may prescribe Gabapentin under the brand names Neurontin®, Aclonium®, Equipax®, Gantin®, Gabarone®, Gralise®, and Neurostil®. It is given orally.

Key Facts About Gabapentin
  • Veterinarians typically prescribe Gabapentin to treat pain, anxiety, or seizures.
  • Helps pets feel calmer when stressed.
  • Used as pain control.
  • Used as an add-on treatment for dogs that don’t respond to other anti-seizure medications.
  • Most common side effects are sleepiness and clumsiness.
  • Is generally well tolerated.

What Gabapentin is Used For

Gabapentin is commonly prescribed by veterinarians for chronic pain relief and to treat anxiety and seizures in dogs. It is often prescribed to ease fear and anxiety associated with veterinary visits in cats.

How Gabapentin Works In Dogs and Cats

Gabapentin works by blocking calcium channels in the brain to suppress overly stimulated neurons that cause anxiety, nerve pain, and seizures in your pet.

  • Reducing Anxiety 
    Helps with anxiety by decreasing the release of over-stimulated nerve signals in the brain, which helps your pet feel calmer in times of stress.
  • Controlling Pain
    Provides relief for chronic (constant) and neuropathic (nerve) pain. It’s most commonly used for the chronic pain associated with arthritis and cancer pain. Veterinarians also commonly use it in combination with other pain-relieving medications to help with pain after surgery.
  • Preventing Seizures
    Gabapentin has anti-seizure properties that make it useful as an add-on treatment for dogs in which other medications don't work well, or at all, to control their seizures.

Possible Side Effects of Gabapentin

Drowsiness and clumsiness (ataxia) are the primary side effects of gabapentin. The level of sleepiness varies, so veterinarians generally prescribe a starting dose and then adjust the dosage up or down. Diarrhea and vomiting are less common, but still possible.

Drug Interactions with Gabapentin

Gabapentin is commonly found to be more effective for pain management at the beginning of treatment when administered alongside another pain reliever like hydrocodone or morphine. After a period, the second narcotic can be dropped from the therapy and gabapentin will remain the sole pain reliever.   Using gabapentin with other pain relievers may increase sedation.

Combining gabapentin with other anxiety reliever drugs such as clonazepam or diazepam can also increase sedation.

Gabapentin is also often combined with trazadone to reduce situational anxiety and pain in stressful situations such as veterinary visits, hospitalization, or post-surgery recovery.

Gabapentin should not be administered within two hours of oral antacids, or the antacids will hinder absorption of the drug, making it less effective.

Precautions Associated with Gabapentin

  • Give this medication to your pet exactly as your veterinarian prescribes. 
  • Use extreme caution when prescribing this medication to a patient with kidney problems, as gabapentin is removed from the body through the kidneys.
  • It should be used during pregnancy or lactation only when the benefits outweigh the potential risks.
  • Oral antacids may decrease the effectiveness of gabapentin. They should be given at least two hours apart.
  • The human oral solution of gabapentin contains xylitol, which should be avoided in veterinary patients. Do not give your pet human gabapentin.
  • Gabapentin should be used with caution in animals with decreased liver or renal function.
  • Be sure to tell your veterinarian about any medications, vitamins, supplements, or herbal therapies that you are giving your pet.

Gabapentin Dosage Forms and Strengths

Gabapentin is usually given orally. The starting dose for dogs is usually 10mg, and the most commonly used dosing strengths are 50mg, 100mg, and 300mg. Be sure to follow your veterinarian’s dosing instructions carefully.

Wedgewood Pharmacy provides medication options that help ensure accurate dosing, especially for hard to medicate pets. Click below for a complete list of Wedgewood’s dosing forms and strengths.


Wedgewood Pharmacy provides medication options that help ensure accurate dosing, especially for hard to medicate pets. Click below for a complete list of Wedgewood’s gabapentin dosing forms and strengths.

Stopping Gabapentin in Dogs

Gabapentin should not be stopped abruptly because withdrawal can trigger seizures or rebound pain. Talk to your veterinarian to make a plan to decrease gabapentin gradually over the course of two to three weeks.

Gabapentin withdrawal symptoms may appear as agitation and anxiety, sweating/panting, body aches, confusion, tremors, gastrointestinal distress, and heart palpitations.

What To Do if You Miss a Dose

If you miss giving your pet a dose, give the next dose as soon as you remember or, if it is close to the next scheduled dose, return to the regular schedule. Do not double dose to catch up. If you are not sure what to do, call your veterinarian about the missed dose and follow their directions.

What to Do in the Case of a Gabapentin Overdose

An overdose of gabapentin would likely cause increased severity of side effects, including lethargy, sleepiness, depression, and clumsiness.

Remember to tell your veterinarian about any medications, vitamins, supplements, or herbal therapies that you are giving your pet.

If you suspect your pet or another animal was accidentally overdosed or has eaten this medication inadvertently, immediately contact your veterinarian or the A.S.P.C.A.’s Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

Remember to take your prescription container with you when you take your pet for treatment. If you or someone else has ingested this medication, call the National Capital Poison Center at 800-222-1222.

Cost of Gabapentin

Wedgewood Pharmacy’s gabapentin preparations start at $0.10 per dose, however, your veterinarian will prescribe a specific dosage based on the pet’s weight, condition, and other factors.

Compounded medicines are prepared for the exact strength your veterinarian prescribes. The price of the medication will depend on the dosage and the medication form with certain dosage forms and higher strengths generally being more expensive.

In addition, the cost of a medication will depend upon the price of the other active pharmaceutical ingredients and may increase the cost of the finished drug.

Looking for Gabapentin

Looking for Gabapentin?

We can let your veterinarian know that you are interested in our compounded Gabapentin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions for Gabapentin

Can You Use Gabapentin and Trazodone Together for Dogs?

Yes, trazodone is generally safe to use with gabapentin. Trazodone is commonly prescribed by veterinarians to reduce stress and anxiety before vet visits or during post-surgical confinement and rest. Gabapentin is used for the same purposes, so veterinarians often prescribe these two medications together.

Can Dogs Take CBD and Gabapentin?

It is not recommended to use CBD and gabapentin together because of the increased risk of over-sedation.

Always consult with a veterinarian before starting your dog on any additional medications or supplements that were not originally prescribed to ensure that they are safe with your dog’s current medications.

How Does Gabapentin Make a Pet Feel?

Gabapentin will make your pet feel calm and “chill.” The most often reported side effects of gabapentin in dogs are sleepiness and loss of coordination. The side effects can be worse the first time your pet takes it but generally go away within 24 hours. More rarely, your pet may experience vomiting and diarrhea.

Is Gabapentin a Strong Pain Killer for Dogs?

Generally, no. Your veterinarian may add gabapentin, which has minimal side effects, to your pet’s pain management plan to reduce the dosage of other pain-relieving medications like NSAIDs, which do have potentially dangerous side effects, especially with long-term use.

Why Can’t My Dog Walk After Taking Gabapentin?

The most frequently reported side effects of gabapentin are sedation and ataxia. Ataxia is the loss of motor control over the limbs, the main symptoms of it being weakened limbs (inability to walk, swaying, stumbling), drowsiness, tilting the head to one side, unresponsiveness, vertigo, and nausea.

Does Gabapentin Help with Arthritis Pain in Dogs?

Gabapentin is commonly recommended for chronic, neuropathic pain, which often develops in dogs with arthritis.

This article is meant to provide general and not medical advice. We strongly recommend that a veterinarian be consulted with for the specific medical needs of your animal.



VCA Hospitals
American Kennel Club
Canine Arthritis Resources & Education (CARE)