Tramadol for Depression in Dogs

Tramadol is a human pain drug introduced to the veterinary community to treat chronic pain, such as arthritis, in dogs in place of NSAIDs. Because tramadol is an opiate, it is also known to cause feelings of euphoria, which may reduce depression in dogs as well.

Symptoms of Canine Depression

Changes in a dog's environment may cause him to suffer from depression, much like people do. While there can be a hormonal component to dog depression, much of it is simply caused by environmental changes. If you recently changed jobs, lost a family member, added a significant other or baby, moved to a new town or experienced another big change that could reduce the amount of time spent with your dog, he may be suffering from depression.

Symptoms consist primarily of a lack of interest in things that your dog used to love, such as decreased appetite, lethargy and disinterest in toys, walks and human interaction. If your dog is experiencing these symptoms, visit a veterinarian to ensure there is no medical cause.

Treatment of Canine Depression

Dogs are amazingly adaptable and have a tendency to live in the moment, so curing depression can often be simple. Just give your dog a few days to bounce back. Try to spend more time with your dog, just cuddling if he's not interested in anything else.

Dogs respond well to routine, so if your dog is upset because of a dramatic change, make sure the changes to his lifestyle are minimal. Keep feeding and walking times as consistent as possible and do something special to interact with your dog each day at about the same time.

Install a DAP diffuser, which releases calming pheromones into the air, in your dog's favorite room.

Medication is also available for depression when symptoms don't seem to alleviate with time. Most of the medications are antidepressant or anti-anxiety medications similar to those used by humans suffering from depression.

Tramadol for Canine Depression

Tramadol has long been used for treating human pains, such as arthritis, by suppressing inflammatory enzymes that cause the pain. Scientists have altered the opiate so that it soothes pain and causes euphoria without being addicting.

It is most commonly used in the veterinary community as a pain reliever as well since it is easier on some dogs than commonly prescribed NSAIDs, such as Rimadyl. Its use on canine depression is relatively unstudied, but because of its relaxing and uplifting qualities, has shown a reduction in some symptoms.

Common side effects include an upset stomach, decreased heart rate and constipation. Tramadol is known to cause seizures and shouldn't be used in dogs with known seizure disorders. Overdoses may cause seizures or behavioral changes. Since the drug is secreted through the liver, liver enzymes should be checked regularly if the drug is to be used long term.

Any behavior changes while taking Tramadol should be reported to your veterinarian. Don't suddenly stop giving Tramadol to your dog as it may cause problems. If you wish to stop using it, talk to your veterinarian about a gradual reduction.

Canine depression can often be treated without medication, but Tramadol has been shown to improve symptoms by causing feelings of euphoria. If your dog has prolonged depression, discuss medication with your veterinarian.