What Muscle Relaxers Can Dogs Take

It is not advised to administer a medication like Xanax (for instance) without seeking professional advice.

The same holds true for other lesser-known brands with comparable characteristics, such as:

  • Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)
  • Tizanidine (Zanaflex)
  • Oxazepam
  • Carisoprodol (Soma)
  • Baclofen
  • Metaxalone (Skelaxin) (Skelaxin)

Skeletal muscle relaxants are very prevalent. And many are actually more harmful to pets than common painkillers or NSAIDS, if not more so.

What is undeniably true is this:

Others Worth Considering

For dogs with acute muscle spasm problems, Robaxin-V (methocarbamol) is a muscle relaxant alternative. Its safety record is generally good.

Additional options:

  • Following oral delivery to dogs as part of a thorough pharmacokinetic investigation, it was discovered that dantrium, also known as dantrolene, was “well tolerated.
  • Tramadol (this opioid is an option for animals)
  • Benzodiazepines (Diazepam, for example, is prescribed by vets to achieve muscle relaxation)

However, you would need to obtain a prescription for these for your dog. Ensure you inquire about them!

Overdose And Other Concerns

It is crucial to obtain a diagnosis before using muscle relaxants, and to follow the recommended dosage.

Don’t be misled:

Does your dog currently have any other health issues? If so, use muscle relaxants with extreme caution!

Can I give my dog a painkiller that relaxes muscles?

Numerous clinical diseases, such as trauma, myositis, muscular and ligamentous sprains and strains, intervertebral disc disease, tetanus, strychnine poisoning, neurologic illnesses, and exertional rhabdomyolysis, are characterized by muscle spasticity. A rise in tonic stretch reflexes results in hyperexcitability of motor neurons in the spinal cord and is caused by descending pathways that are involved in the CNS. By altering the stretch reflex arc or interfering with the excitation-coupling process in the muscle itself, skeletal muscle relaxants reduce muscular spasms. The midbrain reticular activating system and the spinal cord’s interneuronal pathways are both blocked by centrally acting muscle relaxants. Some medications also have sedative effects, which are helpful for animals experiencing pain or anxiety. The muscle is directly affected by the hydantoin derivatives.

A centrally acting muscle relaxant with guaifenesin-like chemical properties is methocarbamol. Its precise method of action is unknown, as neither striated muscle nor nerve fibers nor the motor endplate are directly relaxed by it. It also acts as a sedative. Methocarbamol is recommended for use as an adjuvant therapy in dogs, cats, and horses with acute inflammatory and traumatic disorders of the skeletal muscle as well as to lessen muscle spasms. Methocarbamol is a CNS depressant, hence it shouldn’t be administered alongside other CNS depressants. In addition to CNS depression, emesis (in small animals), salivation, paralysis, and ataxia may also be present in overdose cases.

Dealkylation, hydroxylation, and conjugation are the steps in the metabolism of methocarbamol that result in the formation of glucuronides and sulfates. Guaifenesin is only found in equine plasma and urine after oral methocarbamol dosing, showing that first-pass metabolism is required for guaifenesin to be generated as a metabolite. Methocarbamol and guaifenesin are controlled substances in equestrian sports because of their sedative effects, and withdrawal times must be observed.

A centrally acting muscle relaxant known as guaifenesin (glyceryl guaiacolate), it is thought to inhibit or stop the transmission of nerve impulses in the subcortical regions of the brain, brain stem, and spinal cord at the interneuronal neuron level. It also has very slight sedative and analgesic effects. For quick treatments, guaifenesin is used intravenously in addition to anesthetic to relax the muscles. It eases intubation by relaxing the laryngeal and pharyngeal muscles, although it has little impact on the diaphragm and breathing system. It could result in brief drops in blood pressure and increases in heart rate. It is also used to treat strychnine-treated dogs and horses with exertional rhabdomyolysis. Strychnine Animal Toxicosis Pesticide strychnine commonly results in toxicosis in companion and farm animals by accidental intake or intentional poisoning. Rapid toxicosis onset is accompanied by agitation and intoxication. Apneustic breathing, nystagmus, hypotension, and paradoxical muscular rigidity are symptoms of overdose. Up until the substance is cleared to harmless levels, supportive care is used to treat overdoses.

Diazepam is an example of a benzodiazepine that affects polysynaptic reflexes at the supraspinal level, acts as an interneuronal spinal cord depressant, and inhibits presynaptic acetylcholine release. In medicine, diazepam is used as an adjuvant to anesthesia, to treat clinical tetanus symptoms, to treat functional urethral obstruction in cats, and to treat hypertonic urethral sphincters.

The hydantoin derivative dandrolene differs from other skeletal muscle relaxants in terms of structure and pharmacology. Dantrolene directly affects muscle, most likely by preventing calcium from being released from the sarcoplasmic reticulum. Although it has no obvious impact on respiratory or cardiac function, it can make you feel drowsy and lightheaded. Dantrolene is used to treat malignant hyperthermia in animals. Horse exertional rhabdomyolysis, equine postanesthetic myositis, and several kinds of malignant hyperthermia Horse Exertional Myopathies Equine exertional myopathy is a condition marked by muscle ache, discomfort, or cramping after physical activity. Less frequent exertional myopathies that don’t result in muscle necrosis but induce exercise intolerance… read more. Organizations for equestrian sports control dantrolene due to its sedative effects, and withdrawal times must be observed.

Humans with multiple sclerosis and spinal problems can take the skeletal muscle relaxant baclofen to manage their discomfort and spasticity. 4-Aminobutyric acid, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, and baclofen share structural similarities (GABA). As a GABA receptor B agonist, it lowers calcium influx into presynaptic nerve terminals, which reduces the quantity of excitatory neurotransmitters released by primary afferent neurons in the spinal cord and brain. Reduced muscle tone and pain from stiffness are the outcomes of this action. Baclofen is not advised for use in veterinary medicine due to a very small safety margin. It has only very rarely been used to treat tetanus in dogs and to lessen urethral resistance in the treatment of urine retention. Dogs may exhibit clinical indications of vomiting, depression, and vocalization even at dosages as low as 1.3 mg/kg. The severity of the CNS manifestations associated with an overdose can be severe and may include dysphoria, lateral recumbency, or coma. Intensive supportive care should be provided together with early and rigorous decontamination in the treatment of baclofen poisoning. Due to severe obtundation, respiratory depression, respiratory arrest, or hypoventilation, management of affected dogs may necessitate positive-pressure ventilation. To lessen vocalization or disorientation, cyproheptadine, a serotonin antagonist, may be given orally or rectally as needed. Some dogs with baclofen toxicity have responded well to intravenous lipid emulsion therapy.

How much a dog can I give a muscle relaxant?

The FDA has approved the prescription drug methocarbamol for use in treating dogs, cats, and horses. 500 mg pills of methocarbamol are readily available. On the first day, 20 to 30 mg per pound administered every 8 to 12 hours for the treatment of muscle spasms in dogs and cats, followed by 10 to 30 mg per pound administered every 8 to 12 hours. For horses, the typical dosage ranges from 4.4 to 20 mg per pound up to 6.6 to 30 mg per pound per dose when using methocarbamol tablets.

Can you administer Flexeril to dogs?

Cyclobenzaprine may be prescribed by licensed veterinarians for dogs experiencing pain or muscle spasms. Never give this medication to your dog without consulting your veterinarian first. When there are additional medications and medical problems present, overdose is more likely to occur. There are alternative muscle relaxants that are FDA-approved for use in animals that can be used instead of Flexeril, which isn’t.

Do canines respond to muscle relaxants?

Dogs experience pain occasionally, just like humans do, and anything that can lessen it is beneficial. Your dog will most likely experience pain from arthritis, inflammation, an injury, or a recent operation. Despite the fact that they do not express their suffering as visibly as we do, they nevertheless need medical care to unwind, recover, and feel more comfortable at that time.

There are now more choices for dogs to feel less discomfort because to advancements in both veterinary and human health. Daily vitamins that revitalize the body, mild or strong painkillers, and a variety of other scientifically validated treatments can all be used to treat them.

While the veterinarian will decide what medication to give your dog, certain dogs may be given muscle relaxants. You should be knowledgeable about the when, why, how, and what muscle relaxers for dogs are as with any dietary supplements and medications that could have an impact on your dog.

What are Muscle Relaxers for Dogs?

Veterinarian-prescribed muscle relaxants are drugs that help your pet’s muscles relax. They can lessen inflammation, muscle spasms, and disorders affecting the spinal cord.

The veterinarian is mostly responsible for deciding which alternative to use and when, as there is no formal list of ailments for which muscle relaxants should be administered (with the exception of spinal problems).

Muscle relaxants function by making the muscles less rigid or tense, which in turn lessens the pain or discomfort the dog is feeling. Muscle relaxants can impact a dog’s body muscles directly or they can affect the neurological system, brain, or spinal cord of the animal.

Relaxants are quite helpful in relieving the discomfort of dogs that are experiencing severe pain because they block the inter-neuronal pathways in the spinal cord and the mid-brain activation system. Even while they are helpful, they merely serve to reduce the pain that is connected with the disorders or injuries; they do not truly treat them.

Common Types of Dog Muscle Relaxers

Dogs can receive a variety of various forms of muscle relaxants that are frequently recommended to manage different degrees of pain sensations. Understanding which one is better for your dog or the rationale behind your veterinarian’s prescription of one over another is essential because not all produce the same outcomes.


Guaifenesin, also known as glyceryl guaiacolate, is a muscle relaxant that prevents the transmission of nerve impulses in some regions of the brain, brain stem, and spinal cord. When a dog is put under anesthesia for simple procedures or to treat strychnine intoxication in dogs, it is most frequently utilized as a support. Without altering the diaphragm or breathing, it can relax the laryngeal and pharyngeal muscles.


a medication that reduces pain and inflammation in dogs that is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. It is used to relieve the discomfort brought on by canine osteoarthritis. Rimadyl can be used to alleviate joint pain and inflammation that come along with hip dysplasia and other types of joint degeneration both temporarily and on a daily basis.


One of the most popular kinds of muscle relaxants, it relieves acute inflammatory and traumatic muscular disorders and lessens muscle spasms. Like the majority of them, it will block and stop nerve impulses in the dog’s body that are responsible for sending the “pain signal” to the animal’s brain.


Dantrolene works directly on the muscle rather than the neurological system, in contrast to the other muscle relaxants. It acts by obstructing the calcium’s release from the network in the muscles. Since dantrolene has no impact on respiratory or cardiac function, it is used to treat stress syndrome and malignant hyperthermia.


This class of psychoactive substance, sometimes known as “benzos,” has a structure made up of a benzene ring and a diazepine ring. It is a depressant of the spinal cord that affects reflexes at the spinal level of the dog and prevents synaptic releases. For quick treatments, some types are utilized in addition to anaesthetic.

When to Use Muscle Relaxers on Your Dog

When natural therapies at home are unable to relieve a dog’s muscle pain, inflammation, or overall stiffness, muscle relaxers are utilized. Muscle relaxants sold over the counter are an option, but it’s always a good idea to visit a veterinarian to make sure they can and should be used to treat the disease.

Dogs may feel pain in their muscles for a variety of causes. It can be brought on by overextending or overworking the muscles when playing, being still for an extended period of time, or even by the improper posture misaligning the joints of the muscles. When a dog is calm, misalignment might make its muscles rely on other muscles to make up for its unbalanced location and weight.

Given that a dog’s natural desire is to conceal their suffering in order to avoid displaying symptoms of weakness or fragility, the pain may not always be obvious. There are still a few unmistakable indications that they are in pain, such as:

  • a slouched position
  • Limping
  • excessive panting while resting
  • Staring
  • Anxiety or impatience
  • sobbing, wailing, or whining

Try some at-home remedies to see if they help your dog feel better when you see any of these symptoms, or many symptoms, in them. Take the dog to the vet if the discomfort is not alleviated, and inquire about prescribing muscle relaxants or whether they would be a pain-relieving option.

Potential Side Effects

The usage of dog muscle relaxants may have negative effects, just like any other type of drug. Depending on the type and amount of the muscle relaxer prescribed or used, the effects can be minor or even fatal. It can also depend on whether the muscle relaxant has an effect on the neurological system or the muscles directly.

Muscle relaxants’ nervous system-related side effects are a little stronger than those that directly impact the muscle. It can harm your dog’s heart and lungs as well as cause malfunctions and damage to the spinal cord, brain, and brain stem.

Additionally, muscle relaxants might cause sleepiness, darkened urine, edema, and other adverse response symptoms. Additionally, drooling, stumbling, weakness, and even vomiting may be present.

If the dog overdoses, the symptoms should be stopped promptly by taking the dog to an emergency facility. Extreme drowsiness, loss of reflexes, lack of coordination, drooling, and vomiting are indications that your dog may be overdosing.

The majority of negative effects can be avoided by speaking with a veterinarian before using any kind of muscle relaxant, selecting the ones they particularly recommend, and adhering to the recommended dosage.