Side Effects of Dramamine for Dogs

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Dramamine for Dogs

Dramamine, an antihistamine used to treat motion sickness in humans, can also help alleviate nausea, vomiting and dizziness in dogs. Dramamine should be distributed to dogs at least an hour before motion. Dosage recommendations depend on the size, breed, and existing medical conditions of your dog.

As almost any dog owner can attest, dogs often experience the same sort of maladies as humans do – from hay fever to upset stomachs, humans share a lot in common with dogs. There may even be moments when you want to give your fur baby something from your own medicine cabinet to alleviate their misery. But chances are, it’s not the safest decision.

In fact, most experts will agree that giving your dog medications intended for humans can be downright dangerous, as there are a number of risks involved, including but not limited to adverse reactions, overdosing, and administering treatments that are inappropriate for your dog’s specific condition. It is therefore very important to consult a licensed veterinarian before giving your dog any type of medicine, whether it’s a prescription drug or an over-the-counter treatment.

This article will explore the pros and cons of Dramamine and how it may be helpful in the event of motion sickness or nausea in dogs.

Understanding The Medication: What Is Dramamine?

Dramamine® (generic name Dimenhydrinate) is an antihistamine and an antiemic drug that is commonly used by humans to regulate the symptoms of motion sickness. The primary active ingredient, Dimenhydrinate, may be regarded as a weaker form of diphenhydramine (the main ingredient found in most U.S. Benadryl® allergy products). Dimenhydrinate is actually a combination of diphenhydramine and a mild stimulant known as 8-chlorotheophylline, which helps to inhibit drowsiness and sedation.

This medication works by inhibiting stimulation of the vestibular system of the brain, which is located within the inner ear and is responsible for detecting motion. Dramamine blocks certain neurotransmitters, preventing the passage of information from the vestibular apparatus (middle ear) and inner ear to the part of the brain associated with coordination of reflex actions (such as vomiting and swallowing). Dogs as well as humans can experience nausea, vomiting, dizziness and stumbling when there is an excessive amount of overstimulation to the vestibular system.

Although Dimenhydrinate is not approved for use in animals by the FDA, it is prescribed legally be veterinarians as an extra-label drug. While it is primarily used to treat motion sickness in dogs, it has also been administered by vets to treat general anxiety in dogs and used as a sedative. Your vet may also prescribe it to treat nausea unrelated to motion-sickness, such as symptoms that relate to inner-ear (vestibular) disease, which is prevalent in older dogs.

How Can Dramamine Help My Dog?

In many instances, people who suffer from motion sickness will take Dramamine when they’re about to travel long distances by car, train, plane or even boat. Also known as ‘travel sickness’, motion sickness describes symptoms that are experienced while traveling; symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, dizziness and fatigue.

Much like their human counterparts, dogs are also prone to motion sickness during long trips; however, some studies show that in 95% of cases, it is stress-induced and not motion-related. Because pets are comfortable in familiar surroundings, removing your dog from his environment is likely to cause him stress and anxiety, unless he’s used to traveling frequently.

Since traveling of any kind can be extremely stressful for your dog, you may wish to discuss the possibility of administering Dramamine with your veterinarian for such occasions. Your vet may decide this medication is a suitable treatment for your dog’s motion sickness, which may include symptoms such as:

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  • Excessive drooling
  • Inactivity
  • Listlessness
  • Nervous pacing
  • Panting or rapid breathing
  • Persistent licking or smacking of the lips
  • Retching
  • Trembling/shaking
  • Uneasiness or anxiety
  • Vomiting (even on an empty stomach)
  • Whining, whimpering or barking
  • Yawning
  • Fear of cars

As mentioned, Dramamine hasn’t received FDA consent for canine usage; however, your vet may prescribe this medication as an extra-label drug. Although the way the drug is being utilized may not fit into the FDA’s regulatory guidelines, it is still legal as long as the practitioner is certain that its usage is medically appropriate. Dramamine acts as a sedative, which may allow your dog to relax and alleviate the symptoms of motion sickness.

Did You Know…

Oftentimes, your dog may have a negative association with rides in the car – for example, being taken to the kennel, a trip to the vet, or even away from his first home. So it should come as no surprise that your pooch may become easily upset when it’s time to get into the family vehicle, considering the mental, physical and/or psychological trauma associated with traveling.

Keeping this in mind, you can help to make your dog more comfortable for future trips – many experts suggest crate training your dog at home to get your dog accustomed to being in a ‘safe’ space. Encourage your dog to sleep in his crate, and make it a comfortable and inviting space by putting pillows, blankets, toys and other familiar items inside.

Treats are also a great way to coax your dog into his crate or carrier. Leave the door open at all times, and let your pup come and go as he pleases. Once you’ve established that the crate is a safe haven, it may be easier to make the transition during car-trips and other forms of travel.

Speak To Your Vet: Is Dramamine An Appropriate Treatment For Your Dog?

Whether it’s a prescription drug or an over-the-counter treatment, you should always speak to your trusted veterinarian first before giving your dog any type of medication. While you are at your dog’s check-up, it’s important to have his complete medical history available, including any medications he may be currently taking.

In addition, if you have specific questions about his condition, be sure to go over any signs or symptoms that you have observed. Once your vet has given your dog a physical examination, he or she will be able to determine the cause of his symptoms, and whether or not they are solely based on motion sickness or are indicative of some other underlying health issue.

What Are The Side-Effects Of Dramamine For Dogs?

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As a pet owner, it’s crucial to be aware of the side-effects of Dramamine in the event that your vet’s office deems it an appropriate therapy for your dog. Be sure to inform your vet or clinician of any medications/supplements your dog is currently taking to avoid potential drug interactions, and ask if Dramamine can worsen a preexisting medical condition.

Some common side-effects that occur in dogs who have been treated with Dramamine include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Lethargy
  • Sedation
  • Urine retention (i.e., an inability to fully empty the bladder)

Dogs who receive Dramamine tablets containing the ingredient meclizine may experience sedation. In rare cases, they may also experience rapid heart rate, hyperactivity, or dry eyes. Sedative effects often become less frequent with repeated usage. It’s important to monitor your dog once you’ve given him Dramamine, particularly if it’s his first time taking the drug. If you notice any unusual or adverse side-effects, be sure to contact your vet right away to discuss next steps.

Caution: In some instances, your dog may experience diarrhea, vomiting