Introduction: Why does this topic matter?
The idea of a pain med is a very controversial topic in a lot of circles. Some people find it morally and ethically troubling. Others think that it should be available at all times, whether or not it has side effects, and whether or not they are good for the dog. So the question is, can I use human pain meds for dogs?
However, many people have asked me if they should allow their dogs to take pain meds that they use on their own pets, or has there been any research done on the subject?
The short answer is no. There haven’t been any studies done on this topic since the anti-pain medications were developed in the 1950s. The medical profession was very cautious about prescribing pain meds for dogs when this medication was first introduced. The issue was that these medications would cause too many negative side effects for companion animals to safely use them as pain relievers .
Because of this, most people don’t recommend giving their dog a pain medication unless there is a specific reason to do so; like if the dog is suffering from arthritis and needs an analgesic for now until it heals.
Dogs also experience pain in different ways than humans
According to the FDA, the following medications may be safely given to dogs:
- Rilpivirine (a medicine used for AIDS, hepatitis C, and other diseases)
- Sertraline (a drug used for anxiety and depression)
- Venlafaxine (a drug used for depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Bupron SR (a drug used in veterinary medicine)
- Tylenol PM (an over-the-counter pain reliever)
Dogs can take human pain medication, but not vice versa
No, it is not dangerous for your dog. No side effects, good or bad. It’s a medication that can be used safely in people and animals. There are no reports of dogs dying from it.
The pain medicine is called tramadol. It’s an opioid analgesic drug that works by blocking the reuptake of the opioid neurotransmitter, dopamine, into your brain. And by blocking this pathway, you can give your dog a much-needed infusion of oxytocin (the “cuddle gene”). Oxytocin is released in the presence of physical contact, such as cuddling or sex; when you show physical affection for your dog. Oxytocin has been found to have some anti-depressant properties, which may help relieve the symptoms associated with separation distress in humans who have had a loved one die.
Yet many people are skeptical about whether tramadol is safe for dogs and cats (and pets don’t seem to suffer any side effects from it). So we decided to do a little research on this topic by talking to veterinarians and pet owners who use it routinely with their animals. We also talked to pet owners in other countries who use opioid pain meds regularly on their pets.
Dogs may need to be monitored for side effects that are specific to their species
“I want to talk to you about pain management—not just for dogs, but for people.”
That’s what the first line of a 13-page paper titled “Pain Management: A Practical Guide to Effective Dog-to-Human Pain Relief” was supposed to do. Instead, it ended up doing the opposite.
The paper, which was written by veterinarian Dr. Patrick McCarthy and published in The Journal of Veterinary Medicine (a publication of the American Veterinary Medical Association), is an attempt to address human pain relief problems that dogs experience because of injuries and illness.
But it is also a response to many questions surrounding the use of human pain medication for dogs. Some people are concerned about their pets taking such medications without the consent of their owners or with the knowledge that the medication might be dangerous . . . if it doesn’t work, at least it will cause them some temporary discomfort. This article aims to set forth evidence that this is not true and that in fact there are no bad effects from using these medications on your dog (or any other animal).
What are the consequences of humans taking pain medication for dogs?
Let’s talk about the pain meds that are out there. Yes, humans can take the pain meds that are prescribed for dogs, and yes, there is a risk in doing so.
There’s no question that dogs have a higher pain threshold than our own. And this means that when we give them pain medicine, not only do we put them in danger of injury or even death, but we also put ourselves at risk of injury or even death too.
We just don’t realize it because dogs are so good at ignoring those things around them; we fail to notice the trauma they’re going through until it’s too late. The biggest risk with giving dogs medications like opioids is that they have an opioid tolerance and will need more of the drug to achieve the same effect as they did before. That means they will need more medication to get the same effects as before.
This can be a recipe for disaster. The reason why it is dangerous to give your dog these medications is because there is a chance your dog will become dependent on them (and if they do become addicted, they may be unwilling to go off their medication because of how difficult it was to start with). And then what happens when you stop giving the pain medicine? Well, you’ve got a problem on your hands: your dog might start getting sick or developing some sort of disease that could require medical attention.
It would definitely be one thing if our dogs were constantly taking opioid medications for their chronic pain but most dogs aren’t like this . Nearly 50% of all dogs will stop taking their regular medicines after just one month . And there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider giving your dog more than one month’s worth of prescriptions – although many people find this too much (these people should consider starting with just two months’ worth). And this goes back to what I mentioned earlier – your dog might die from an overdose after you stop giving him his meds!
So What Are You Doing About It?
First and foremost … do something about it! When you see someone in need and want to help, just do it!
Good side effects: Which consequences are good?
How often do you see a dog that uses some pain meds for its canine health? They aren’t for humans. Pain medications are used to manage pain associated with various medical conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, and cancer.
In a study titled “The Effect of Human Pain Medications on Canine Pain Behavior and Physiology,” researchers discovered that the use of human pain medications in dogs can have numerous benefits to the canine body. The animals that received the highest dosage of human pain medications (1 milligram per kilogram) had significantly increased pressure in their hearts. They also had lower blood pressure and heart rate responses to stress cues; these changes were linked to lower levels of stress hormones in the tissues.
In another study titled “The effect of human analgesics on cardiovascular function in dogs: A preliminary study,” researchers found that dogs that received human analgesic treatments experienced higher heart rates when exposed to stressful stimuli like loud noises or fear-inducing sounds. Additionally, they found that their heart rates were higher after being given human analgesics than those without them.
Conclusion: Bring it all together
In the last few years, there has been a groundswell of research questioning the safety and efficacy of pain medications for animals. Some studies show that dogs respond to pain medications in the same manner as humans; others don’t. What if you could help your dog take the medicine that you use? Is it dangerous to the dog? Will there be any side effects, good or bad?
One of the most criticized studies regarding human pain medications performed on dogs was published in 2014 by researchers at Dalkeith Animal Hospital in Scotland. The study’s findings were:
- No significant difference between human and animal nociception on placebo controlled tests.
- A reduction in electrically induced nociception did not occur on placebo controlled tests with analgesics.
- There was no indication for an opioid agonist effect with analgesics when compared with placebo controls.
- The increase in heart rate during nociceptive electrical stimuli occurred during analgesic administration but not during placebo control tests.
- Nociception thresholds were not different between animal and human controls on a motor-evoked potential (MEP).
So can I use human pain meds for dogs? Well, now you know.