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Is Dramamine Safe for Dogs?

A veterinarian may prescribe Dramamine when dealing with motion sickness in dogs. However, the drug is not safe for pregnant dogs as well as for those with pre-existing medical condition related to the heart or the thyroid gland.
DogAppy Staff
Did You Know?
Generally 2 to 4 mg of Dramamine is prescribed for each pound of dog's weight.
When traveling long distances in a vehicle, people suffering from motion sickness consider taking Dramamine (antihistamine). Also referred to as travel sickness, motion sickness refers to a set of symptoms that are experienced while traveling long-distance by a car, train, boat, or airplane, and the symptoms commonly include dizziness, nausea, and fatigue.
Like humans, dogs too may suffer from motion sickness while traveling. It can make the dog drool excessively followed by whining. Other symptoms include persistent licking of lips, nervously pacing, trembling, retching, and vomiting.
Can Dramamine be given to Dogs?
Yes, Dramamine, a medication that works as a treatment measure for motion sickness in humans, can also be given to dogs. Although Dramamine hasn't received consent from the FDA for usage in dogs, the veterinarian can prescribe the medicine off-label. This off-label prescribing is permissible and moreover, not uncommon. So even if the way the drug is being used does not fit in the FDA's regulatory guidelines, it is legal as long the practitioner is sure that its usage is medically appropriate. Dramamine acts like a sedative, which actually allows your pet to relax, thereby helping him seek relief from motion sickness.
When is Dramamine Not Safe for Dogs?
Pregnant dogs are not a candidate for Dramamine, as the medication can affect the fetus negatively. The medication is also not given to nursing animals. Allergy to antihistamines is another factor that can influence your vet's decision in administering this medication to dogs. As Dramamine is an antihistamine, dogs who are allergic to antihistamines should never be given this medicine. Dogs with a history of heart ailments, glaucoma, thyroid diseases, and high blood pressure are also not prescribed Dramamine for motion sickness.
Side Effects
Due to its sedative effect, the dog may become a bit lethargic, which is not a cause of grave concern. However, the dog can go into coma from excess dosage. Overdose can also cause seizures and severe respiratory distress in dogs. Hence, make sure you consult your vet to decide the appropriate dosage.
Some of the common side effects associated with Dramamine usage are drowsiness, and dryness in the mouth, throat, and nose. These side effects are usually minor and go away in some time.
Other problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, trouble urinating, and decrease in appetite can also occur in dogs put on Dramamine. These side effects require veterinary intervention.
Dramamine dosage is highly dependent on your dog's weight. For small-sized dogs (9-22 lbs), usually a 12.5 mg strength tablet is given. On the other hand, a 25 mg strength tablet is prescribed for medium-sized dogs (23-60 lbs). Whereas, a 25-50 mg strength tablet may be given to large-sized dogs (60-90 lbs). In case your dog is not comfortable taking Dramamine in tablet form, you may give 5 ml of oral liquid, which is equivalent to administering 12.5 mg strength Dramamine tablet.
The timing of the dosage plays a crucial role in determining how effective it can be in treating motion sickness in dogs. Giving it during an episode of motion sickness can not only make it difficult to administer the medication but can also reduce its efficacy. So it is advised to give Dramamine to your dog, half an hour to an hour prior to traveling. This way one can boost the effectiveness of this drug.
A point to note here is that Dramamine has been formulated for humans. Hence, after giving it to your pet, you need to keep a tab on his health. If any serious symptoms occur, you must contact your veterinarian immediately. Vomiting after taking the drug is an indication that your pet cannot tolerate it.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a veterinarian.