Phenobarbital for dogs as a seizure prevention drug

Learn about pehnobarbital for dogs, the dosage for dogs, its side effects and safety guidelines for use.

It’s an unfortunate fact that many dogs around the world suffer from seizures. Seizures may reduce a dog’s overall quality of life and may be distressing for owners. There are several different drugs available to treat this condition, with phenobarbital being one of the most popular. Some common alternatives includes gabapentin. Read on for further details about phenobarbital.

Phenobarbital dosage for dogs

Phenobarbital may be offered in the conventional milligram measurement, or alternatively as “grains” (where 1 grain is equivalent to 65 mg). A typical starting dose of phenobarbital when given to dogs is 1 – 1.5 mg for every 1.1 lb your pet weighs. This is equal to around 2 to 3 mg per kilogram. Administer the medicine every 12 hours to avoid the onset of seizures.

Never begin administering this drug to your pet without professional approval and a vet-formulated dosage plan.

Is phenobarbital safe for dogs?

Phenobarbital is considered safe for use in dogs, however dogs on phenobarbital may suffer negative reactions when given other substances such as antihistamines. For this reason you will have to speak to your vet before giving any new substances to your dog.

Safety precautions

  • Always visit the vet for a prescription and professional advice prior to use
  • Notify the vet of any medical conditions your dog suffers from especially Addison’s disease, kidney/liver disease, breathing abnormalities and anemia
  • Watch your dog closely for side effects if he/she has not taken the substance before
  • Your dog will likely require a blood test after the first 2 weeks of phenobarbital use

Due to phenobarbital’s mechanism of action and because phenobarbital is often used for life, your dog may experience lasting side effects including increased urination, and increased levels of hunger/thirst. Most other side effects will diminish and disappear completely after the first 2 weeks of treatment. See lower down the page for a full list of side effects.

Never begin phenobarbital treatment without first visiting the vet.

Uses of phenobarbital for dogs

Phenobarbital is an anticonvulsant given to dogs for the treatment of:

  • Seizures

Side effects of phenobarbital use in dogs

Most side effects of phenobarbital will diminish with time. Side effects associated with phenobarbital use includes anxiety, fatigue, anemia, an increase in thirst/hunger and increased frequency of urination.

Gabapentin for dogs alternative seizure remedy
Wikipedia entry about phenobarbital