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Cerenia for Dogs

Girl holding dog with cerenia

Cerenia is a prescription medication for animals only; this helps with motion sickness or acute vomiting. Vomiting is caused when substance P in the animal's brain has been triggered. Cerenia’s active ingredient Maropitant citrate controls vomiting by blocking this substance. Cerenia is only approved for dogs 8 weeks or older after a full evaluation from your veterinarian. There are reports of pets under 11 weeks of age developing bone marrow hypoplasia. However, for those 16 weeks and older, there is no evidence of hypoplasia forming. For this reason, your pet should be consistently monitored by the veterinary office. 

Cerenia comes in tablet and injection form. Injections work faster but are only given by a veterinarian once a day for five days. Tablets are given for five days one to two hours prior to traveling or anything that causes vomiting. Treatment differs for all dogs; be aware of how he reacts to the medication.

Side effects

The following serious adverse reactions require stopping Cerenia immediately.

  • An allergic reaction – severe swelling, difficulty breathing, hives
  • Sudden onset of more vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, coma

If the following less severe side effects occur, do not stop the medication until you speak with the veterinarian.

  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Drowsiness

Anything that you see abnormal with your dog could be a side effect. Keep your veterinarian updated on your dog’s condition.

Drug Interactions

It is vital to inform your veterinarian of all medications your dog is taking, whether prescription or over-the-counter. Vitamins, herbal supplements or minerals could cause an interaction. The following medications are known to cause interactions; however, this may not be a full list.

  • NSAIDs
  • Heart medication
  • Anticonvulsant
  • Behavioral modification


Always follow your veterinarian’s directions when giving this medication. Do not adjust the dose without consulting him first. Prior to giving Cerenia, inform the doctor of any liver or stomach problems or if your dog is pregnant or nursing. 

Hold all feedings for one hour prior to giving Cerenia tablets to aid in absorption. 

Missed dose

Do not give two doses at one time; however, if it is close to the time you missed then give it as soon as possible. Otherwise, wait until the next dosing time. Double dosing can cause severe adverse reactions.

Overdose or toxicity

If your dog has accidentally consumed more than the recommended dose, call your veterinarian immediately. Your dog may suffer from bloody diarrhea stools, or no desire to eat or play.

Human contact

Keep out of reach of children to prevent accidental consumption and skin contact. For topical creams, if you are not using gloves when applying, it can cause your skin to become sensitive or have an allergic reaction. For contact with your eyes, rinse with water for 15 minutes and see your doctor or emergency room immediately. Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap to ensure no residue is transferred.

Can a dog die from receiving the Cerenia injection?

There are no known deaths from the injection. However, if it was confirmed that your dog died directly as a result of the injection, the drug company and FDA should be contacted.

Does the Cerenia shot cause drowsiness?

Dehydration from vomiting or diarrhea can cause your dog to be drowsy or lethargic. If the dog is very lethargic, give 2 - 3 ounces of Pedialyte every few hours. This will help rehydrate the dog by increasing his electrolytes. If the dog is severely dehydrated then a veterinarian visit may be needed.

Can Cerenia prevent a dog from sleeping or eating?

Cerenia is unlikely to prevent a dog from sleeping. The most likely cause is the pain is keeping him awake. It is normal for a dog to lose his appetite temporarily. If he does not regain his appetite then a vet visit is necessary.

How safe is Cerenia?

Cerenia, when given correctly, is safe for dogs. However, all dogs are different and their system may not handle the medication as well as others. Any difference in your dog’s normal disposition should be reported to the vet.

Cerenia is helpful in preventing vomiting and motion sickness. You should monitor your dog's health when taking any medication. If he does not get better within a short amount of time consult your veterinary office for further action. 

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