Dogs love to travel and for most, riding in the car is exciting. Some dogs do not handle the motion well and experience nausea since disruption in equilibrium is the primary cause of car sickness.
Dogs who are nervous, anxious, or under stress can develop nausea at any time. Puppies are more prone to nausea due to their underdeveloped equilibrium. If your best friend needs some help with that car ride, Cerenia may be able to help, but not without risks since there are people who claim, “Cerenia killed my dog.”
What Is Cerenia?
Cerenia for dogs is a remedy for motion sickness. Cerenia (maropitant citrate) is an FDA-approved medication known as an anti-emetic, which treats motion sickness and vomiting in dogs and cats.
How does Cerenia work? It blocks a particular transmitter known as Substance P, which stimulates vomiting. It is only available as a prescription. You should consult your veterinarian about using Cerenia since instructions vary from the label.
Is Cerenia safe for dogs? Cerenia is only for dogs 16 weeks and older. Administering it to younger dogs can cause bone marrow hypoplasia (lack of blood cells).
Can Cerenia cause death in dogs? Cerenia for dogs has proven fatal in some cases. There was an American field study on a placebo control group of dogs and those who took Cerenia tablets (2 mg/kg) or injections (1.0 mg/kg) for nausea for five days consecutively.
The study revealed that the dogs who took the Cerenia medication had more adverse reactions than those who took the placebos.
Of the dogs who consumed doses of Cerenia:
- 12 dogs died during the study, including two from euthanasia
- 12 dogs experienced loose or bloody stools
- Three dogs became anorexic
- Three dogs had ear infections or drainage
- Two dogs suffered from an infection in the bloodstream
- Two dogs developed blood in their urine
- Two dogs sustained excoriated (raw or broken) skin
The dogs who took placebos did not experience as many reactions. Only four dogs died without euthanasia, 11 had loose or bloody stools, two had anorexia, and one developed a systemic infection. No dogs had ear infections, bloody urine, or irritated skin.
Precautions for Administering Cerenia
Cerenia is a medication that requires the supervision of a veterinarian. Take caution while administering because it can cause allergic reactions to your skin and eyes. Wash your hands after administering.
Forms of Cerenia Medication
Cerenia is available as a tablet or an injection. The dosage depends on your dog’s age, medical condition, and what form you use. Take caution while administering because it can cause allergic reactions to the skin.
Cerenia Oral Tablets for Dogs
The standard Cerenia dose for dogs in tablet form for dogs ages two to seven months is at least 0.9 mg/pound daily for a maximum of five consecutive days. Dogs seven months and older should receive the same amount once a day until vomiting subsides.
Cerenia Injection for Dogs
Cerenia also comes as an injection for under the skin. Cerenia dosage for dogs in injection form work as an anesthetic for dogs needing surgery. It also reduces nausea and vomiting in dogs who received morphine as a premedication. Dogs who received the injection had a better recovery than those who did not.
Cerenia for Dogs Side Effects
The most common side effect of oral Cerenia for dogs is vomiting. An injection may leave irritation, such as redness, pain, or swelling, at the injection site. There is always a chance of more severe reactions that would warrant veterinary care: convulsions, unsteady gait, lethargy, decrease in appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, or muscle tremors.
How to Give Cerenia to Your Dog
To prevent motion sickness, provide a small meal three hours before leaving. One hour later, give your dog the pill. If you administer it with food, be sure to tuck it in your dog’s chow loosely so that they can absorb it better. It takes roughly one to two hours for the pill to start working.
Alternatives to Cerenia for Dogs
There are chemical and natural alternatives to Cerenia that help resolve motion sickness.
There is less incidence of side effects with natural agents.
A natural anti-emetic remedy is Ginger. It can be a contraindication in dogs with bleeding disorders or taking blood thinners, including anti-inflammatories. Talk with your veterinarian before administering to your best friend.
As a natural agent, lavender is a safe replacement for Cerenia. Spray it on a cotton ball or directly in the vehicle before leaving on a trip. Keep the spray away from your dog to avoid ingesting it.
Adaptil is available as a spray or collar. Use the spray in the car before your trip, or place the collar on your dog to calm them.
Other medications are available to use in place of Cerenia that may cause milder side effects.
As an anti-dizzy medication, meclizine can offer relief from nausea and anxiety. The worst side effect your dog may experience is drowsiness. It is available as a prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medication.
Benadryl or diphenhydramine is an OTC antihistamine that relieves nausea and vomiting. It tends to be sedating. Possible side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or decreased appetite. You can give it up to three times a day (about every eight hours).
Dramamine (dimenhydrinate) works the same as Benadryl but may be gentler on the stomach. You will get better results if you give it every eight hours with food.
Conclusion – Cerenia Killed My Dog
If you’ve heard people saying, “Cerena killed my dog,” and you do not feel comfortable using this medication for your dog, there are other ways to tackle car sickness. Let your dog sit near the window so they can see out during the ride. Secure them in a crate or harness to prevent sliding around.
Supply air circulation via a slightly open window or sunroof. Doing so will help stabilize your dog’s equilibrium. Feed your dog a light meal to prevent an upset stomach, and plan to pull over to let your dog get out of the vehicle to help them relax.