Propalin for dogs


Oral liquid

Active ingredient



Urinary / Respiratory

What is Propalin?

Propalin is a brand name for the drug phenylpropanolamine, marketed by Vetoquinol. It is usually used to treat urinary incontinence in spayed female dogs, but may also be used for nasal decongestion. Propalin is a prescription-only medicine, so only your vet will be able to prescribe Propalin to your pet.

What does Propalin do?

Propalin is used to treat urinary incontinence due to urethral sphincter mechanism incompetence (USMI) in spayed female dogs. Urine normally leaves the body by a tube called the urethra. Urine flow through the urethra is controlled by a ring of muscle called a sphincter. In dogs with USMI, the sphincter is too weak to close shut the urethra, so urine dribbles out. Propalin works by binding to receptors on the muscle sphincter and activating it. This shuts off the urethra and prevents urine from leaking out.

Propalin also causes the small blood vessels to constrict (narrow). It does this by acting on the alpha-adrenergic receptors. By narrowing these vessels, this medicine can reduce nasal congestion.

What is Propalin for?

One of the rare side effects of spaying your dog is the development of a condition called USMI. The main sign of USMI is urinary incontinence. Propalin is given to treat spayed female dogs with urinary incontinence.

Propalin may also be used to help nasal congestion, as it causes blood vessels to constrict. This can provide symptomatic relief in cases of viral or bacterial infections, like cat flu. This use is ‘off license’ under the prescribing cascade.

Remember, Propalin should always be given under veterinary guidance, ensure to consult your vet so that you can do what’s best for your pet.

What are the side effects of Propalin?

Whilst most pets will tolerate Propalin without any serious issues, it can have side effects just like any other drug. The common side effects of Propalin that you should be aware of include:

  • Digestive issues – these may include soft stools, diarrhoea, or a lack of appetite.
  • Heart problems – these may include changes to heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Changes in behaviour – these may include dizziness, restlessness, and aggression.

Your vet will assess if the benefits of Propalin outweigh the risks listed above. However, if you do notice any of these side effects or are worried about a change in your pet’s well-being, get in touch with your veterinarian for more advice. They will be able to provide you with guidance and adjust the treatment plan if necessary. This will help to ensure your pet’s safety and put your mind at ease. 

Which pets is Propalin not suitable for?

There are several reasons why Propalin may not be suitable for your pet. Your vet should be aware of any conditions your dog has and the drugs your pet is on, but make sure to remind them especially if you are seeing a new vet. If your pet is not suitable for Propalin, your vet will be able to discuss the alternatives with you.

  • Propalin is not suitable for behavioural causes of unwanted urination e.g marking.
  • Propalin is not suitable for dogs that are allergic to any of the ingredients in the product.
  • Propalin is not suitable for dogs that are pregnant or lactating.
  • Propalin should not be given to dogs that are also on non-selective monoamine oxidase inhibitors such as selegiline (Selgian)
  • Propalin should be used with caution in dogs that are also taking:
    • Anticholinergic drugs and sympathomimetic drugs (unlikely in dogs not having an anaesthetic)
    • Tricyclic antidepressants such as clomipramine (Clomicalm) or amitriptyline
  • Propalin should be used with caution in pets with heart disease, kidney disease, or liver disease.
  • Propalin should be used with caution in pets with diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s, glaucoma, hyperthyroidism, or other metabolic disorders.

In addition, behavioural causes of inappropriate urination, urinary tract infections, and anatomical problems should be ruled out before giving Propalin to dogs.

How to give Propalin safely:

  1. Follow vet instructions: Always use Propalin exactly as your vet has prescribed. This includes the right dose and frequency. Never adjust the dose on your own, even if your dog seems to be feeling better or worse. If you aren’t sure of the dose prescribed, please call your vet to confirm.
  2. Give in feed: Generally, it is easiest to give Propalin in your dog’s feed. If your dog doesn’t like it on their food, you can give it into their mouth just before a meal.
  3. Be consistent: No matter how you decide to give Propalin, it’s important to give it consistently, three times a day. So if it’s in food, your dog will need a small meal every 8 hours.
  4. Check with your vet if giving anything else: Your vet should be aware of other drugs your pet is on, but it’s always worth double-checking in case there’s been a miscommunication somewhere. If your dog is on supplements or non-prescription treatments you should also tell your vet when they prescribe Propalin, as they may not be suitable to be given together.
  5. Storage: Do not store Propalin above 25 degrees. Make sure it’s out of reach of children and other pets. Propalin ingestion can be fatal to children, so contact an emergency department immediately if your child has taken your dog’s Propalin.
  6. Wash hands after use
  7. Wash eyes with water for at least 15 minutes if there has been eye contact
  8. Report any accidental overdose to your vet immediately: If you have mistakenly given too much Propalin, report it to your vet as soon as you realise the error. They may recommend blood tests or monitoring depending on the severity of the overdose.

Propalin alternatives:

If you are struggling with the Propalin syrup formulation for any reason, it is useful to know that other formulations of phenylpropanolamine are available:

  • Proin – This is a different brand of phenylpropanolamine and comes as a chewable tablet.

If you feel as though Propalin isn’t working for your dog or they have experienced bad side effects, your vet may suggest a different drug to treat their urinary incontinence.

These other treatment options may include:

  • Incurin – This drug contains estriol. The main advantage of this drug is that it may be able to be given less frequently than Propalin.
  • Surgery – This option may help to provide a more permanent resolution.

It is important to remember that you will not be able to buy any urinary incontinence medication for your dog over a non-veterinary counter! You will have to go back to your vet to discuss the other options, where you can both decide what is the next best thing for your pet to keep them happy and comfortable.

How much monitoring do pets need on Propalin?

  • Medium


    Dogs on Propalin need occasional urine tests

Dogs on Propalin usually need urine tests to check that a UTI hasn’t developed. Other than that, long-term use of Propalin usually only requires a clinical exam every few months, to make sure your dog’s health is stable. Your vet will need to fulfil certain obligations to continue prescribing Propalin, which they’ll explain to you.

What does Propalin cost?

  • pound

    ££ – Moderately expensive

    Propalin costs £15-60 per month

Depending on the size of your pet and the dose they’re on, Propalin costs £15-60 per month from an online pharmacy, and you’ll also need to factor in the cost of the written prescription from the vets. From your vet, Propalin costs £25-55 per month.

Popalin FAQs

Does Propalin have to be given with food?

Propalin does not have to be given with food, but it is recommended that it be given three times a day with food. This may reduce the risk of digestive upset. Propalin is absorbed better on an empty stomach, but this isn’t always practical. Either way, it’s important that you’re consistent with how you give Propalin to make sure the same amount is absorbed at each dose.

What are the side effects of Propalin in dogs?

The side effects of Propalin in dogs are digestive issues such as soft stools or diarrhoea. Your pet may also experience heart problems and dizziness, or aggression. If you are worried about any side effects get in touch with your vet immediately and stop the Propalin.

How long does it take for Propalin to work on dogs?

Propalin takes just a few hours to start to work in dogs, and you should notice less urine leakage within a few days. This may be slightly longer in some dogs, so give it at least a week before you decide whether Propalin is working. If you feel like Propalin isn’t working, ask your vet about the alternatives.

Can Propalin be given twice a day?

It is recommended that Propalin is given three times a day with food. The effect of Propalin is very short so it must be given several times a day for it to be an effective treatment option.

Propalin Datasheet

All drugs have a manufacturer’s datasheet, which gives information about the drug’s use and possible side effects. There is usually one in your Metacam box, but if you have lost it you can click on the button below to be taken on an online version.

Courses related to Propalin

We don’t currently have any courses related to USMI in dogs, but you might be interested in reading more about neutering and USMI as a possible side effect, especially if you’re considering getting another dog. All our courses are written by vets and contain evidence-based information to help you become a better pet parent.

Please note that the information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only. Although it has been written by a vet, we cannot consider the individual nature of your pet’s problems so it does not constitute veterinary advice. If you have questions about your pet’s medication or their health you should contact a vet, who will be able to help.