Metoclopramide for Dogs - Dosage, Usage and Side Effects

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: May 8, 2022
Metoclopramide for Dogs - Dosage, Usage and Side Effects

See files for Dogs

Metoclopramide is a widely used drug in human and veterinary medicine. It is widely used to treat and prevent nausea and vomiting and to assist in gastroesophageal reflux disease. Its various mechanisms of action confer different pharmacological effects to this drug, especially antiemetic, prokinetic and galactogamic effects.

The following article on AnimalWised provides detailed information about Metoclopramide for dogs, its use, dosage, and side effects.

What is Metoclopramide for dogs?

As well as being used in humans, metoclopramide is commonly used in dogs, cats, and small mammals. It is available as an oral solution, tablets, and an injectable solution. However, there are analogous medications in veterinary medicine that also contain metoclopramide as the active ingredient.

Metoclopramide is a drug that has multiple mechanisms of action, namely:

  • Antagonizes dopaminergic D2 receptors.
  • Antagonizes serotonergic 5-HT3 receptors.
  • Acts as an antagonist of 5-HT4 receptors, giving it cholinergic effects on smooth muscle.

Due to its different mechanisms of action, metoclopramide has multiple pharmacological effects rather than a single one. In particular, this agent has the following properties:

  • Antiemetic action: controls vomiting.
  • Prokinetic action: increases gastrointestinal motility.
  • Galactogogue action: stimulates milk production.

If your dog or puppy starts vomiting for no apparent reason, read this article on my dog won't stop vomiting to learn what to do.

What is Metoclopramide used for in dogs?

As we mentioned in the previous section, Metoclopramide is a drug that has antiemetic, prokinetic and galactogamic effects, although in veterinary medicine it is mainly used for the first two.

Antiemetic action

Metoclopramide is a centrally acting antiemetic, meaning it controls vomiting by acting directly on the vomiting center and chemoreceptor trigger zone. Its antiemetic effect is effective in controlling vomiting caused by:

  • Acute digestive processes
  • Pancreatitis
  • Uremia (elevated blood urea levels)

  • Endocrine disorders (such as Addison's disease or hypoadrenocorticism)

  • Pregnancy
  • Certain medications (such as opiates, digitalis, theophylline or antitumor chemotherapy)

  • Vomiting

In cases where vomiting results in dehydration of the animal, a fluid therapy plan must be established in addition to administration of an antiemetic such as metoclopramide to restore fluid and electrolyte balance.

Prokinetic effect

Metoclopramide acts at the level of the stomach and the first segments of the small intestine (duodenum and jejunum), favoring gastrointestinal motility. In particular, it increases the tone and amplitude of gastric contractions, promotes relaxation of the pylorus (sphincter connecting the stomach to the small intestine) and stimulates peristalsis of the small intestine. Its prokinetic action is effective in the treatment of:

  • Esophagitis

  • Gastroesophageal reflux

  • Gastric atony (also referred to as gastroparesis)

  • Chronic gastritis

  • Pyloric spasm

  • Ileus (disruption of the normal propulsive ability of the intestine)

To learn how to take care of your dog if they suffer from gastritis, continue reading this article on gastritis in dogs.

Metoclopramide for Dogs - Dosage, Usage and Side Effects - What is Metoclopramide used for in dogs?

Dosage of Primperan for Dogs

The dose of metoclopramide for dogs is the same whether it is administered orally, subcutaneously, or intramuscularly. Specifically, the dose should be 0.5-1 mg of metoclopramide per kg of body weight per day. This dose should be divided into 2 or 3 administrations per day, as deemed appropriate by the veterinarian prescribing the drug.

Metoclopramide overdose in dogs

The most common cause of metoclopramide poisoning in dogs is accidental ingestion. However, it can also be due to an incorrect dosage of the drug. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the dose you administer is exactly the one prescribed by your veterinarian.

Metoclopramide overdose often leads to extrapyramidal side effects, which occur when the area of the brain responsible for movement coordination is affected. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Agitation

  • Ataxia (incoordination)

  • Abnormal positions and/or movements

  • Low mood

  • Tremors

  • Aggressiveness

Metoclopramide overdose has no specific antidote, so it is recommended that the animal be kept in a quiet environment until the extrapyramidal symptoms disappear. Since the drug is rapidly metabolized and excreted, these effects usually subside very quickly.

Keeping the drug out of the reach of your dog is the best way to prevent an overdose of metoclopramide. As we mentioned earlier, make sure to administer the exact dose prescribed by your veterinarian.

Read this article on dog poisoning to find out what to do if you suspect your dog has been poisoned with this or any other drug.

Side effects of metoclopramide in dogs

In dogs, adverse reactions related to metoclopramide are very rare (less than 1 animal in 10,000). Moreover, these side effects are transient and disappear when the drug is stopped. Specifically, the side effects that may be observed with the administration of metoclopramide in dogs are as follows:

  • Extrapyramidal signs (such as agitation, ataxia, abnormal positions and/or movements, dejection, tremors and aggressiveness)

  • Drowsiness

  • Diarrhea

  • Allergic reactions

  • Hypertensive crisis in dogs with pheochromocytoma

Read this article on soft diet for dogs with diarrhea to learn how you can change your dog's diet if he or she is constantly suffering from diarrhea.

Metoclopramide for Dogs - Dosage, Usage and Side Effects - Side effects of metoclopramide in dogs

Contraindications of metoclopramide for dogs

Although metoclopramide is a fairly safe drug, there are certain pathological situations in which its use is counterproductive. Specifically, the contraindications for metoclopramide in dogs are the following:

  • Metoclopramide or any of the excipients accompanying the active ingredient may cause allergic reactions or hypersensitivity.

  • Antiemetics may limit the excretion of the infectious or toxic agent in cases of gastrointestinal infection or toxicity.

  • Inflammation of the stomach or intestines, which may result in rupture.

  • Gastrointestinal Perforation.

  • Gastrointestinal bleeding.

  • Seizure disorder (epilepsy) or head injury.

  • Pseudopregnancy.

The safety of this substance has not been studied in pregnant or lactating female dogs, although no teratogenic or toxic effects have been demonstrated in experimental animals. In light of this, it is recommended that this medication be used with caution during pregnancy and/or lactation and that a proper benefit-risk assessment be performed beforehand.

Do not miss this article on epilepsy in dogs if you would like to learn more about other neurological disorders such as epilepsy in dogs and how to treat them.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Metoclopramide for Dogs - Dosage, Usage and Side Effects, we recommend you visit our Medicine category.

  • Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products. Technical sheet or summary of product characteristics: Emeprid 1 mg/ml oral solution for dogs and cats. Available at:
  • Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products. Technical sheet or summary of product characteristics: Metomotyl 5 mg/ml injectable solution for dogs and cats. Available at:

Write a comment

Add an image
Click to attach a photo related to your comment
What did you think of this article?
Metoclopramide for Dogs - Dosage, Usage and Side Effects
1 of 3
Metoclopramide for Dogs - Dosage, Usage and Side Effects

Back to top