A Path to the Rainbow Bridge: Can I Euthanize My Dog with Tramadol?

🔄 Updated on November 18th, 2022

dog-paw-woman-hand-euthanized

I recently had to say a sorrowful goodbye to my sweet dog. This moment was not the first time I have lost a pet, and it likely won’t be the last. Instead of taking my furry baby to the vet to die in a cold, unfamiliar room on a metal table, I wanted her to have her last moments in the home we shared for years. 

My first thought went to a painkiller, and I wondered: can I euthanize my dog with Tramadol? But, after some research and understanding of the medication, I opted for a different method. 

If you are considering Tramadol to euthanize your dog, I want to make sure you have all the necessary information to make the best decision for your pup. 

Can I Euthanize My Dog with Tramadol? Quick Answer

Do not use Tramadol to euthanize your dog. I will discuss two medications that you can use for euthanasia, and Tramadol is certainly not one of them. 

Please, for the comfort and peace of your pet, do not use Tramadol for euthanasia. 

What Is Tramadol Used for in Dogs?

When considering Tramadol for dog euthanasia, my first question was: what is Tramadol prescribed for by veterinarians? And the answer is simple: pain and inflammation. 

While a painkiller like Tramadol may seem like an easy option to put your dog to sleep, it has horrible side effects that will cause your dog significant pain and discomfort in its final moments. 

Most prescriptions are usually of Tramadol for dogs with anxiety or arthritis, pain due to an injury, cancer, inflammation, to reduce pain and symptoms. 

But does Tramadol make dogs sleepy? Yes, your dog will get sleepy from Tramadol if it can’t get comfortable because of arthritis or chronic pain. 

Side Effects of Tramadol in Dogs

Before deciding to dose your dog with Tramadol, you must know the side effects of using Tramadol for dogs. Like most medications, Tramadol has some not-so-fun side effects for your dog that may make you reconsider using this medication to ease any of their pain. 

  • Dizziness/distraught demeanor 
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Diarrhea/constipation
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of appetite
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Panting/trouble breathing
  • Involuntary sleeping/fainting
  • Tremors/uncontrollable shaking

If you attempt to give your dog a large quantity of Tramadol in hopes of them passing on, they will likely experience most, if not all, of these side effects. So rather than die in a peaceful and comfortable state, their pain will worsen, and they’ll be in great distress. 

Humane Euthanasia 

While Tramadol to euthanize a dog is not a good choice, there are other ways to help your pass without any pain or stress. Vets practice humane euthanasia on animals often. 

Your vet can offer a peaceful passing, and you can also say goodbye to your dog from the comfort of your home, but not with Tramadol. 

How Vets Humanely Euthanize 

Vets typically euthanize dogs by first putting them to sleep with a strong sedative. After that, they will use one of the alternatives discussed below (Benadryl or Pentobarbital) to euthanize the dog via injection. This process is painless and quick, so your dog will not suffer. 

Alternatives to Tramadol for Euthanasia

There are two main alternatives to Tramadol if you decide to euthanize your beloved dog at home. Unlike Tramadol, these two medications are more likely to provide a calm and painless death for your dog. 

Benadryl

Most people are familiar with Benadryl as a drug that helps reduce the side effects of allergies, but it can also put your dog to sleep. Many people use this in the United States because it will lull your dog to sleep in a dreamy state, causing them no pain or stress. 

Consult with your veterinarian on how many doses to give your dog. Then, administer the drug in a comfortable space for both them and you. 

Pentobarbital

Pentobarbital is a seizure medication that will result in a peaceful death for your pet when administered in a high enough dose. 

Pentobarbital is the medication that many vets use to put dogs to sleep. After dosing your dog, they will become unconscious and lose all brain and heart function in less than three minutes. 

Pain and Euthanasia

Euthanasia is a very difficult concept to think about. But when done correctly, your dog will not feel any pain or stress in its final moments. While it is painfully hard for us to watch them pass on, they are at peace in those last moments when you use the proper medication and proper dosage. 

How to Know When It Is Time

One of the most gut-wrenching questions a pet owner has to ask themselves is: at what point should I euthanize my dog? It’s hard to come to terms with our pet companions passing on, and I know it doesn’t get any easier no matter how many times you go through it. 

The decision is quite painful but is usually a merciful and caring choice. But how do you know when it’s time? Here are some signs that your dog’s life is no longer enjoyable for them, and it would be best to allow them to move on in peace with you by their side. 

  • If your dog cannot walk or move due to old age
  • If they suffer severe pain from an illness or injury
  • If they don’t enjoy anything that they once did, like walks or toys
  • They have stopped eating and drinking water

Essentially, if you feel your dog is not enjoying their life and struggle daily to find comfort or contentment, it would be best to put them out of their misery in the most painless way possible. 

The Key Takeaway

Tramadol is undoubtedly not a good option to euthanize your dog. I sympathize with any pet owner getting ready to say goodbye to their furry friend. But the last act of love you can do for them is to offer a peaceful and comfortable death. 

Always consult a veterinarian before euthanizing your dog at home to ensure you do it humanely and lovingly. Every animal deserves a respectful and gentle send-off.

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Sarah Alward | Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Sarah Alward | Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Our resident DVM helps review every article to ensure we always provide scientifically accurate, up-to-date information. She’s proud to help provide pet parents everywhere with the info they need to keep their pets safe, healthy, and comfortable.