Muscle Relaxers for Dogs

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A muscle relaxer for dogs can help to relieve painful muscle spasms and ease your dog's pain. Muscle spasms can be a result of injuries or inflammation. Your veterinarian will prescribe the muscle relaxer if needed to help with your dog's condition. Be sure to follow all of the treatment instructions, including those to treat any underlying conditions.

Muscle relaxer for dogs

Methocarbamol is a muscle relaxant used for dogs and other companion animals. It is offered under the brand names Robaxin, Robinax, and Robaximol. This medication is not sold over the counter, you will need a prescription from your veterinarian to get this for your dog. This is a very safe muscle relaxer for your dog, although you should exercise caution if your dog is pregnant or nursing.

Inflammation, injuries, some toxicities, and some conditions, such as intervertebral disc disease, may cause muscle spasms. Your vet may prescribe methocarbamol to relax the painful spasm. Depending on the underlying condition causing muscle spasms, additional medication and treatment may also be necessary.

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Giving your dog muscle relaxers

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Your veterinarian may administer a shot of methocarbamol in the clinic or she may send you home with oral tablets. Follow the dosage recommendations prescribed by your veterinarian. You can give the pill on an empty stomach or with a meal.

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Your dog's symptoms should improve within one or two hours. The medication usually stops working after about 24 hours. However, if your dog also has a kidney or liver condition, medications may stay in his system longer.

It can be difficult to get some dogs to take a pill. Consider options such as putting the tablet in a pill pocket or a small chunk of cheese. You can also purchase a pill device that will help you get the pill to the back of your dog's tongue without risking your own fingers. Once the pill is in his mouth, gently hold his mouth closed and stroke his throat to encourage swallowing.

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Praise your dog and offer a small treat after giving medications to make sure the experience is as pleasant as possible. Consult your vet for tips if you are still having trouble giving him medications.

Potential side effects

Methocarbamol does not usually have any serious side effects. Fatigue and sleepiness are the most common issues. Drooling, vomiting, and lack of coordination may also occur. You may notice your dog's urine is a darker color than usual. These are usually minor, but contact your vet if the symptoms persist or worsen.

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If after administering methocarbamol your dog is panting and having difficulty breathing, it could be a sign of an allergic reaction to the medication. Other symptoms may include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, hives, and facial swelling. This is an emergency situation, so contact your vet right away and do not give your dog this medication again.

Overdose and drug interactions

If you forget a dose, give it as soon as possible or wait until the next scheduled medication time. Do not give two doses at once or too close together as this can result in an overdose.

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Do not give your dog a muscle relaxer prescribed for humans as some of these products may be toxic to dogs. If your dog gets into an unprescribed medication or overdoses on a prescribed muscle relaxer, contact your veterinarian right away. You can also call the Pet Poison Helpline or ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center for advice and treatment options.

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Some medications may interact with this muscle relaxer. Be sure to tell your vet about all the prescription medication and non-prescription supplements and remedies your dog is taking. Some drugs that may cause a problem include anticholinergics, mirtazapine, central nervous system depressants, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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