Does Cerenia Cause Drowsiness?

In the world of pet care, Cerenia (maropitant citrate) stands out as a go-to medication for combating nausea and vomiting in our furry friends. But does this acclaimed antiemetic come with a catch – namely, drowsiness?

What is Cerenia?

Cerenia, primarily used for dogs and cats, is a prescription medication lauded for its efficacy in treating nausea and preventing vomiting. Unlike some antiemetic drugs, Cerenia is known for its non-sedating properties, making it a preferable choice for many veterinarians and pet owners.

The Drowsiness Debate

While Cerenia is often celebrated for not inducing drowsiness, it’s crucial to understand the fine line between ‘lethargy’ (a common side effect) and ‘drowsiness.’ Here’s a detailed breakdown:

Can Cerenia Cause Drowsiness?

  • Lethargy vs. Drowsiness: The drug information leaflet mentions lethargy as a side effect, which could be misconstrued as drowsiness. However, true drowsiness – characterized by excessive sleepiness or reduced alertness – is relatively rare with Cerenia.
  • Influencing Factors:
    • Dose Dependency: Higher doses, especially in cats, might slightly increase the risk of drowsiness.
    • Individual Sensitivity: Some pets may be more prone to medication-induced drowsiness.
    • Underlying Health Conditions: Pets with neurological issues could be more susceptible to side effects like drowsiness.

Comparison with Other Antimetics

  • Cerenia vs. Others: When compared to drugs like Dramamine® and Benadryl®, which are known to cause drowsiness in pets, Cerenia’s non-sedating nature is a clear advantage.
  • FDA Approval: It’s important to note that medications like Dramamine® and Benadryl® are not FDA-approved for treating vomiting in pets.

Cerenia Use: Recommendations and Observations

When administering Cerenia, it’s vital to monitor your pet closely. Here are some tips and observations to consider:

  • Behavioral Changes: Keep an eye out for signs of drowsiness, such as excessive sleepiness or difficulty waking up.
  • Consult Your Vet: If you observe any worrying side effects, seek veterinary advice immediately. They can adjust the dosage or suggest alternative treatments.
  • Veterinary Supervision: Never administer Cerenia or any medication without your vet’s guidance.

Understanding Cerenia and Drowsiness

Factor Impact on Drowsiness Details
Dose 🟢/🟡 Higher doses may increase drowsiness risk
Individual Pet Sensitivity 🟢/🟡 Varies per pet
Underlying Conditions 🟡/🔴 Higher risk with neurological issues
Comparison to Others 🟢 Less drowsy than alternatives

🟢 Low Risk 🟡 Moderate Risk 🔴 High Risk


While Cerenia is a relatively safe and non-sedating option for treating nausea and vomiting in pets, it’s not entirely devoid of the risk of drowsiness. Understanding your pet’s unique health profile and observing their response to the medication is key. Always consult with a veterinarian for the most tailored and safe approach.

Additional Resources

For more information on Cerenia and its uses, you can visit:

FAQs on Cerenia and Drowsiness

How Quickly Can Drowsiness Occur After Administering Cerenia?

Drowsiness, if it occurs, typically manifests within a few hours post-administration of Cerenia. The onset time varies among individual pets, influenced by factors like metabolism, overall health, and concurrent medications.

Is Drowsiness from Cerenia a Sign of Overdose?

Not necessarily. Drowsiness, while a noted side effect, doesn’t always indicate an overdose. However, it’s crucial to adhere to the prescribed dosage. Any deviation or unusual reactions should prompt immediate veterinary consultation.

Can Long-term Use of Cerenia Increase Drowsiness Risk?

Long-term use of any medication can potentially alter a pet’s reaction over time. With Cerenia, there’s no conclusive evidence suggesting an increased risk of drowsiness with prolonged use. Nonetheless, long-term treatments should always be under strict veterinary observation for any emerging side effects.

How Does Cerenia Affect Puppies and Kittens Differently Regarding Drowsiness?

Puppies and kittens, with their developing bodies and different metabolic rates, might react differently to Cerenia compared to adult pets. Young animals might exhibit a heightened sensitivity, leading to a slightly increased risk of experiencing drowsiness.

Is There a Correlation Between Breed Size and Drowsiness When Taking Cerenia?

Breed size in itself isn’t a direct factor for increased drowsiness risk with Cerenia. However, smaller breeds might be more sensitive to medications in general, requiring careful dosage adjustments and monitoring.

Can Concurrent Medications Enhance the Drowsiness Effect of Cerenia?

Yes, concurrent medications, especially those with sedative properties, can potentially amplify the drowsiness effect of Cerenia. It’s vital to inform your veterinarian about all the medications and supplements your pet is taking.

What Are the Behavioral Signs of Drowsiness in Pets to Look For After Cerenia Administration?

Key indicators of drowsiness include a noticeable decrease in activity levels, prolonged sleeping, slow response to stimuli, and general lethargy. A pet that is unusually unresponsive or disoriented should be examined by a veterinarian.

Can Dietary Factors Influence the Risk of Drowsiness When Taking Cerenia?

While there’s no direct link between diet and increased drowsiness from Cerenia, overall nutritional status can affect a pet’s medication tolerance. A well-balanced diet contributes to a robust metabolic system, potentially mitigating side effects.

In Case of Drowsiness, How Should Cerenia Be Discontinued or Adjusted?

Abrupt cessation of any prescription medication, including Cerenia, is not recommended without veterinary advice. If drowsiness occurs, your veterinarian might adjust the dosage or frequency, or suggest an alternative treatment strategy.

Are There Natural Alternatives to Cerenia That Don’t Cause Drowsiness?

While there are natural remedies and supplements marketed for nausea and vomiting in pets, their effectiveness and safety profiles vary. It’s imperative to consult with a veterinarian before trying any alternative treatments, as they may not have the same efficacy or safety guarantees as Cerenia.

Comment Section Responses on Cerenia and Drowsiness

Comment: “My dog seems more tired than usual after taking Cerenia. Is this normal?”

It’s not uncommon for some pets to exhibit increased tiredness after taking Cerenia. This reaction, while not the norm, can occur due to individual sensitivities. Monitoring your dog’s behavior and consulting with your vet if this lethargy persists or worsens is essential for ensuring their well-being.

Comment: “Can Cerenia be given with food, or does this impact its effectiveness?”

Cerenia can be administered with a small amount of food to ease ingestion. However, giving it on an empty stomach is recommended for maximum effectiveness, especially in cases of severe nausea or vomiting. If your pet struggles with taking medication on an empty stomach, discuss alternative strategies with your veterinarian.

Comment: “Is it safe to use Cerenia for long car rides for my cat who gets motion sickness?”

Yes, Cerenia is often prescribed for motion sickness in cats and dogs. It’s effective in preventing vomiting due to motion sickness and does not typically cause drowsiness, making it suitable for long car rides. Always follow your vet’s dosage instructions and administer it a few hours before travel for optimal results.

Comment: “How quickly does Cerenia start working?”

Cerenia begins to take effect relatively quickly. For prevention of motion sickness, it should be administered at least 2 hours before travel. For other uses like controlling vomiting, you might notice its effects within an hour, but the peak effect can vary based on individual pet responses.

Comment: “What should I do if I miss a dose of Cerenia for my pet?”

If you miss a dose of Cerenia, administer it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s nearly time for the next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and resume the regular dosing schedule. Avoid doubling up on doses. Consistency is key in medication effectiveness, so setting reminders can be helpful.

Comment: “Are there any specific breeds that should avoid Cerenia?”

There are no breed-specific contraindications for Cerenia. However, individual health conditions, regardless of breed, can influence how a pet responds to Cerenia. Always consult with your vet, especially if your pet has a history of liver or kidney disease, to determine the best treatment plan.

Comment: “I heard Cerenia can be used for post-operative nausea. Is this true?”

Indeed, Cerenia is often used to manage post-operative nausea and vomiting in pets. Its effectiveness in this scenario can significantly aid in a smoother recovery process by reducing the discomfort associated with nausea. Always follow a vet’s guidance regarding post-operative care and medication.

Comment: “Can young puppies take Cerenia?”

Cerenia is approved for puppies aged 8 weeks and older. However, due to the developing nature of young animals, it’s crucial to adhere strictly to the dosage and guidelines provided by your vet to ensure the safety and efficacy of the treatment.

Comment: “Does Cerenia interact with any common pet medications?”

Cerenia can interact with certain medications, such as some pain relievers and sedatives, potentially increasing the risk of side effects. It’s vital to inform your vet of all medications and supplements your pet is taking to avoid adverse interactions.

Comment: “Does weather or temperature affect how Cerenia works on my dog?”

The efficacy of Cerenia is not directly influenced by external weather conditions or temperature. However, extreme temperatures can indirectly affect your pet’s overall health and reaction to medications. For instance, in very hot conditions, pets may be more prone to dehydration, which could affect how they metabolize medications like Cerenia.

Comment: “My cat is on Cerenia for vomiting. How long should I expect her to be on this medication?”

The duration of Cerenia treatment depends on the underlying cause of vomiting and your cat’s response to the medication. Some cases may require only short-term treatment, while others, especially those involving chronic conditions, might need longer courses. Your veterinarian will provide a tailored treatment plan based on your cat’s specific health needs.

Comment: “Can Cerenia be used concurrently with probiotics or dietary supplements?”

Generally, Cerenia can be used alongside probiotics and dietary supplements without significant interactions. However, it’s crucial to inform your vet about all supplements your pet is taking. This ensures a comprehensive view of your pet’s health regimen and avoids potential adverse reactions.

Comment: “Should I be concerned about liver or kidney effects with long-term Cerenia use?”

While Cerenia is generally considered safe, any long-term medication use warrants monitoring for potential effects on organ function, including the liver and kidneys. Regular veterinary check-ups and possibly periodic blood tests can help ensure your pet’s health is being effectively managed.

Comment: “Are there any special storage instructions for Cerenia tablets?”

Cerenia tablets should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture. Avoid storing them in areas of high humidity or temperature fluctuations, like bathrooms or near kitchen appliances. Proper storage ensures the medication’s effectiveness and longevity.

Comment: “My dog has a sensitive stomach. Is Cerenia likely to cause gastrointestinal upset?”

Cerenia is specifically designed to reduce nausea and vomiting, and it is generally well-tolerated by pets, even those with sensitive stomachs. However, every pet is unique, so monitoring your dog for any signs of gastrointestinal upset when starting any new medication is advisable.

Comment: “Is there a risk of developing tolerance to Cerenia, where it becomes less effective over time?”

There is no significant evidence suggesting that pets develop tolerance to Cerenia, where it becomes less effective with prolonged use. Its effectiveness should remain consistent over time when used as directed by your veterinarian.

Comment: “I’ve heard about injectable Cerenia. How does this differ from the tablet form?”

Injectable Cerenia offers a quick and efficient way to deliver the medication, especially useful in situations where oral administration is challenging or in cases of severe vomiting. The choice between injectable and tablet forms depends on the specific needs of the pet and the veterinarian’s recommendation.

Comment: “Can Cerenia cause changes in appetite?”

While not a common side effect, some pets might experience changes in appetite when taking Cerenia. If you notice a significant change in your pet’s eating habits, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying issues or consider alternative treatments.

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