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Dramamine for Dogs: Is It Safe?

Dog motion sickness needs dramamine
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Medication details

  • Medication type: Anti-histamine, Anti-nausea
  • Form: Tablet, Oral solution, Solution for injection
  • Prescription required? No
  • FDA approved? No
  • Brand names: Dramamine, TripTone, Dimetabs, Gravol
  • Common names: Dimenhydrinate
  • Available dosages: Oral solution: 12.5 mg/5ml, 15 mg/5ml; tablet: 25 mg, 50 mg; solution for injection: 10 mg/ml, 50 mg/ml
  • Expiration range: Depends on the formulation

Dramamine is the brand name of dimenhydrinate, an over-the-counter medication commonly used in humans for motion sickness. Dramamine is sometimes prescribed for dogs for nausea and vomiting due to motion sickness, and occasionally for itching due to allergic dermatitis. Dramamine is inexpensive and readily available, but it’s important to consult your veterinarian before using this product for your dog.

What is Dramamine?

Sweet dog head tilt

Dramamine is a combination of two drugs: diphenhydramine and 8-chlorotheophylline. Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine (commonly known as Benadryl), which reduces vomiting, and 8-chlorotheophylline, which reduces the drowsiness associated with diphenhydramine. 

Dramamine is commonly used in humans to treat nausea, vomiting and dizziness due to motion sickness. It is used in cats and dogs for motion sickness as well. Dramamine is available over the counter and comes in several formulations, including oral solutions, tablets and a solution for injection. There are no specific veterinary formulations of Dramamine.

Is Dramamine Safe for Dogs?

Dramamine is safe for dogs when used as prescribed by your veterinarian. It is readily available over the counter, but you should always consult your veterinarian before giving any over-the-counter medications to your dog. Your veterinarian will give you the proper dosing and instructions for using this medication.

What Does Dramamine for Dogs Look Like?

Dramamine is given as either a tablet or an oral liquid. Because many generic products are available, the appearance of the product varies widely depending on the manufacturer. It may also appear under the generic name dimenhydrinate.

How Does Dramamine Work?

Dog head tilted by the water

Dramamine contains diphenhydramine, an antihistamine medication more commonly known by the brand name Benadryl. Diphenhydramine makes the body unresponsive to histamines and acts on an area of the brain called the chemoreceptor trigger zone, interrupting chemical signals that cause nausea. 

Dramamine also contains 8-chlorotheophylline, which reduces the drowsiness associated with diphenhydramine.

What is Dramamine Used for in Dogs?

Dramamine is used for managing symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and dizziness, particularly due to motion sickness. Dramamine is not commonly prescribed to dogs, as there are other medications that are more effective for managing these symptoms.

Dramamine may be prescribed for the following indications:

  • Prevention of vomiting
  • Car sickness
  • Prevention of itching due to allergic dermatitis in dogs

How to Give Dramamine to Dogs

Dog getting a high value treat with a dramamine in it

Dramamine is available over the counter as a tablet or liquid formulation. To give tablets to your dog, it is usually easiest to hide them in a high-value treat. To trick your dog into taking the pill, first offer a treat without the pill, then offer the treat with the pill hidden inside and immediately follow it up with another treat without the pill. Your dog will be so excited about taking multiple treats, he may not even notice the pill hidden inside.

To administer the liquid formulation of Dramamine, use the provided syringe to draw up an appropriate dose of the medication. Gently hold your dog’s head in place, then slide the syringe into the corner of your dog’s mouth behind his teeth. As soon as the syringe is in place, administer the medication. Hold your dog’s head upright for a few seconds after administration to ensure he swallows the medication.

Dramamine for Dogs Side Effects

Dog being held

The most common side effect in dogs is sedation or drowsiness. This is especially common in certain herding-breed dogs, who may be more sensitive to the sedative effects of antihistamines. 

If high doses of Dramamine are given, other side effects can include:

  • Agitation
  • Seizures
  • Excessive vocalization
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • High heart rate
  • Hypersensitivity reactions

Overdose of Dramamine is possible and may even be seen at doses less than 1 mg/kg above the normal dose. It is very important to follow your veterinarian’s dosing instructions closely and to contact your veterinarian right away if you notice any side effects or other adverse effects.

Reactions with Other Drugs and Medications

Dog head tilt outside

Dramamine may react with other medications and should be used with caution in dogs taking medications or supplements for other conditions. Interactions may occur with other drugs such as:

  • Tricyclic antidepressants and anti-histamines
  • MAO Inhibitors
  • CNS depressant drugs
  • Azole antifungals
  • Macrolide drugs

Dramamine should also be used with caution in dogs with liver disease, as this medication is processed through the liver. Be sure to consult your veterinarian before administering Dramamine to your dog to ensure there is no risk of interaction with any other medications your dog may be taking.

Dramamine Dosage for Dogs

Dog head tilt

The dosage of Dramamine for dogs varies depending on your dog’s weight and the severity of the condition to be treated. 

Overdose and toxicity can occur very easily with Dramamine, so it is important to consult your veterinarian to obtain an accurate Dramamine dose for your dog. Although Dramamine is available over the counter, you should not administer it without talking to your veterinarian to find out the best dosage and frequency for your dog’s individual needs.

What if My Dog Misses a Dose of Dramamine?

If your dog misses a dose of Dramamine, give the dose as soon as you remember. If the next dose is due soon, do not double the doses or administer two doses in a short period, as this increases the risk of side effects and overdose. 

Instead, skip the missed dose and continue with the regular dosing schedule. If your dog misses multiple doses of medication, consult your veterinarian to determine when the next dose should be administered.

Cost of Dramamine for Dogs

Pet owners should expect to spend no more than $20 for a month’s supply of Dramamine for dogs. It is sold over the counter and is inexpensive. Generic forms are also available that are less expensive than brand-name Dramamine. 

Dramamine Storage Instructions

Dramamine products can be stored at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees.