Metoclopramide For Dogs: Uses, Dosage, & Side Effects

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Metoclopramide is a medication used to treat nausea, vomiting, and acid reflux in dogs by helping food pass quickly through the upper digestive tract. It works by increasing the release of acetylcholine, which causes the muscles of the digestive tract to contract more frequently and pass food and bile that has built up in the stomach. It can also strengthen the muscles of the upper gastrointestinal tract and the esophagus. Metoclopramide should only be given to dogs with a prescription from a veterinarian, and veterinary instructions should be strictly followed. Here is what you should know about the uses, dosage, and side effects of metoclopramide for dogs.

Uses Of Metoclopramide For Dogs

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Metoclopramide is often used as an antiemetic to prevent vomiting and nausea in dogs. It is particularly effective for this use, as the drug is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and block dopamine, which reduces the urge to vomit. Nausea is also reduced when the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract contract and move built-up food and bile out of the stomach. Metoclopramide is effective for treating acid reflux by aiding in digestion and strengthening muscles in the upper gastrointestinal tract and esophagus, though it has minimal effect on the lower digestive tract.

Dosage Of Metoclopramide For Dogs

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The usual dosage of metoclopramide for dogs is 0.1 to 0.2 mg per pound of body weight administered every six to eight hours. The drug is available in tablets and should be given a half hour prior to eating food. If your veterinarian prescribes metoclopramide for your dog, follow their dosage guidelines strictly and do not discontinue giving the medication to your dog until your veterinarian tells you to do so, even if symptoms improve.

Side Effects Of Metoclopramide In Dogs

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There are some side effects of metoclopramide that have been seen in dogs, and because of the drug’s ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, some of these effects are neurological. If you see concerning side effects in your dog, consult your veterinarian, as they may wish to adjust the dosage or seek an alternative form of treatment. Here are a few side effects that you may see in dogs that take metoclopramide.

  • Sedation
  • Hyperactivity
  • Behavioral changes
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Fluid retention
  • Increased urination
  • Increased seizures in epileptic dogs

Make sure your veterinarian is aware of any other medical conditions your dog might have, especially epilepsy or other seizure disorders, as these can be worsened by metoclopramide. Also, inform your veterinarian of any other medications your dog may be taking, even over-the-counter drugs, because they may react badly when mixed with metoclopramide. As with any other medication, there is a risk of allergic reaction in dogs that take metoclopramide that could lead to anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening condition. If you see the signs of an allergic reaction in your dog, including swelling, itching, hives, or other symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Has your dog ever been treated with metoclopramide? Was it effective? Let us know in the comments below!