Tralieve for dogs



Active ingredient



Pain relief

What is Tralieve?

Tralieve is a brand name for an opioid called tramadol. It comes in a chewable tablet form and is commonly used to treat pain in dogs associated with conditions such as osteoarthritis, cancer, and post-operative pain. Tralieve is a prescription-only medication, meaning only your veterinarian will be able to provide your pet with Tralieve. 

What does Tralieve do?

The tramadol in Tralieve works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and switching off pain messages. Tramadol also increases the amount of serotonin and noradrenaline in the brain, which further inhibits the perception of pain in our pets. The double whammy effect of tramadol makes it a very effective drug in treating your pet’s pain. By blocking your pet’s perception of pain, they will feel relief and be more comfortable.

What is Tralieve for?

Tralieve is given to dogs for a variety of reasons. Dogs that are struggling with different types of pain are recommended Tralieve.

Here are the common reasons why Tralieve is recommended for pets:

  • Post-surgical pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Pain due to muscle injury
  • Cancer-related pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Lameness
  • Some spinal cord diseases

There are several other situations where your veterinarian may think that it is suitable to give Tralieve to control your pet’s pain. In some pet’s, Tralieve is even given to help treat obsessive-compulsive behaviours, such as excessive licking due to anxiety. Remember, Tralieve 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 Tralieve for dogs?

Whilst most pets tolerate Tralieve without any issues, it can have side effects just like all other medications. Although these side effects are usually rare, here are the common ones that you should be aware of:

  • Sedation – Higher doses of Tralieve may result in mild sedation and drowsiness, this varies across pets.
  • Changes in behaviour – These may include anxiety, changes in appetite and restlessness.
  • Digestive issues – These issues could include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, or constipation. The severity of these signs will vary depending on the dose of Tralieve being given and the animal’s tolerance of the drug.
  • Allergic reactions – Although rare, some dogs will show signs of having an allergic reaction. These include itching, hives, facial swelling, or difficulty breathing.
  • Convulsions – This side effect is very rare and is normally only seen in dogs with a low seizure threshold. They may lose consciousness, shake uncontrollably, and stiffen their muscles.
  • Serotonin syndrome – This occurs when Tralieve is given in combination with other drugs that affect serotonin. This syndrome may present as agitation, tremors, increased body temperature and a high heart rate. To be safe, make sure to tell your vet what other medications your dog is on before they give your pet Tralieve.

You are more likely to see adverse side effects of tramadol in dogs if you accidentally give them too much tramadol. You may notice excessive drooling, seizures, sedation, vomiting, coma, agitation, and decreased breathing and heart rate. Contact your vet immediately if you think your pet has had too much Tralieve.

Remember, the benefits of using Tralieve usually outweigh these risks, especially in pets with serious health conditions. However, if you do notice any of these side effects or are worried about a change in your pet’s behaviour, it is best to stop using Tralieve immediately and 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 Tralieve not suitable for?

Whilst Tralieve is suitable for most pets, there are a few situations where it should be avoided or used with extra caution. Where Tralieve should be avoided, alternatives should be discussed with your vet.

  • Tralieve should not be used in dogs with epilepsy.
  • Tralieve should not be used in dogs that have had recent seizures.
  • Tralieve should not be used in pregnant or lactating dogs unless there has been a risk-benefit discussion with the prescribing vet. If your pet could be pregnant, stop giving tramadol and talk to your vet.
  • Tralieve should not be used if your dog has tramadol hypersensitivity.
  • Tralieve should not be used in dogs that are also on TCAs, MAOIs and 5HT reuptake inhibitors.
  • Tralieve should be used with caution in dogs suffering from kidney or liver disease, monitor these cases when using this product.


How to give Tralieve safely:

  1. Follow vet instructions: Always use Tralieve 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. Tablet form: Tralieve chewable tablets can be given directly into your dog’s mouth or can be hidden in a piece of food such as a strawberry or some cream cheese. If you are struggling to give your dog their tablets, it may be worth considering an alternative form of pain relief.
  3. Tell your vet if your pet is taking other medications: 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. Tralieve should not be used along with TCAs, MAOIs and 5HT reuptake inhibitors.
  4. Give with or without food. Follow your vet’s guidance, but Tralieve can be given with or without food. If they are having it mixed in their food, double check it hasn’t been spat out!
  5. Storage and Handling: Store Tralieve in a cool and dry place. Make sure it’s out of reach of children and other pets. Wash hands after use.
  6. Report any accidental overdose to your vet immediately: If you have mistakenly given too much Tralieve, do not give anymore and report it to your vet as soon as you realise the error. They may recommend monitoring, depending on the severity of the overdose.

Tralieve alternatives:

Don’t worry if you are struggling to get your dog to take these tablets every day, you are not alone! However, ensuring your pet receives enough pain relief is still important. There are no authorised liquid versions of tramadol on the market in the UK, but you can ask your vet about the possibility of formulating one.

If your pet can’t have Tralieve or has experienced side effects in the past, there are plenty of other pain relief options for your pet. If you think your pet needs a different type of pain relief, have a chat with your vet to work out what alternative is best for them.

Your vet might suggest:

It is important to remember that you will not be able to buy any pain relief medication for your pet 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. All pet medicines in the UK are prescription-only.

Tralieve FAQs

Is Tralieve and tramadol the same thing?

Tralieve is one of several brand names containing the active ingredient tramadol. Tramadol is the ingredient responsible for treating your pet’s pain. Other brand names containing tramadol include Tramvetol, Tramadog, Tramatab, Tramalgesic, Tramcoat, and Tramsan.

Does tramadol make dogs sleepy?

One of the side effects of tramadol is that it may make your dog sleepy. If you accidentally give your dog too much tramadol, this makes it more likely that they will feel sleepy, and you should let your veterinarian know of what’s happened in case your pet needs veterinary support.

How long does tramadol take to work in dogs?

The time it takes for tramadol to work in dogs varies, this depends on your dog’s metabolism, the dose they have been given and the form of tramadol given. Immediate-release tablets will start to work sooner than extended-release tablets. Typically, oral tramadol takes effect between 30 and 60 minutes. If your dog is experiencing severe pain, it may take longer for tramadol to reach its maximum pain-relieving potential.

Is tramadol a strong painkiller in dogs?

Tramadol is a moderately strong painkiller used to treat moderate to severe pain. Your vet may use tramadol alongside other pain medications to treat more severe pain. Combined pain relief targeting different parts of the pain mechanism is better than using a single drug in cases of severe pain. 

Tralieve 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 Tralieve box, but if you have lost it you can click on the button below to be taken on an online version.

Courses related to Tralieve

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.