Veterinarians will sometimes prescribe metoclopramide for dogs that are suffering from nausea. Although the drug is formulated for humans, vets will often prescribe it as an off-label treatment for dogs with digestive problems. Metoclopramide can also be used to treat dogs after a surgery or as they are going through chemotherapy. In both cases, it helps to improve the movement of food through the stomach into the intestines and to prevent acid reflux that can also create nausea.
The U.S. Food and Drug administration has not approved the use of metoclopramide for dogs as of 2011. Veterinarians often prescribe it for pets that are struggling with nausea, however. It can be administered directly into the pet via an injection at the vet’s office, but it is usually prescribed in 5- or 10-mg tablets. Dog owners are directed to administer the drug to their ailing pets about 20 to 30 minutes before meal times, along with plenty of water. The drug is often given several times per day, at six- to eight-hour intervals. It is also available in an oral syrup form, but many dog owners have reported difficulty in administering it to their pets due to the taste.
There are some side effects that a dog can experience from using metoclopramide. The drug has been known to cause allergic reactions, such as swelling and difficulty breathing, in some pets. Muscle spasms and seizures have also been reported in dogs that have had no previous incidents of these conditions. Jaundice, behavioral changes, and an inability to sleep have also been reported in some dogs that have taken this medication. Pet owners should stop administering the drug and contact their veterinarian immediately if they notice any of these symptoms.
Veterinarians can often prescribe metoclopramide for dogs that are already being given other medications. Certain drugs should not be taken with it and can cause serious reactions if they’re given at the same time. These include some antibiotics, pain relievers, and any drug that can cause drowsiness. Veterinarians will often tell owners to avoid using certain types of flea collars on their dogs while administering the drug. Dog owners should talk with their vet about any drugs their pet is taking before administering metoclopramide.
Certain dogs should not be given this drug. These include dogs that are pregnant or nursing pups or ones that have diabetes, high blood pressure, or kidney disease. Dogs that have a history of seizures should not be given metoclopramide, because it can often induce additional seizures in these animals.