Cerenia: Know The Side Effects

By Chelsea Hunt-Rivera / October 23, 2018

Vomiting and nausea… two things that no person or animal looks forward to. Yet, unfortunately, at one point or another, we will all have to deal with the unpleasant realities of not feeling our best. In some cases, nausea and vomiting may be a result of something as simple as motion sickness. Conversely, in other cases, it may be a telltale sign of a bigger, underlying issue that will require a veterinary diagnosis. In either case, pet owners are constantly searching for a quick and effective way to relieve nausea and vomiting in their dogs in cats.

Luckily, experts are one step ahead of us. Scientists developed a medication called Cerenia. Cerenia helps to relieve both nausea and vomiting in dogs and cats as well as vomiting in dogs due to motion sickness.

In this article, we will cover all there is to know about Cerenia, including its potential side effects and any precautions you should be aware of. We will also discuss possible alternatives. Finally, we will cover the differences between Cerenia for dogs and Cerenia for cats. While are they essentially used for the same reason, there are important differences that pet owners should recognize. Let’s get to it!


Introducing Cerenia (Maropitant Citrate)

Cerenia (also known as its active ingredient, maropitant citrate) is a commonly prescribed conventional medication that helps treat nausea and vomiting in both cats and dogs. However, there are a few important differences to note. Let’s begin by discussing the ways in which Cerenia may help your dog and then move on to covering the ways in which your feline may also benefit.

Why Use Cerenia for Dogs

When it comes to your furry canine, Cerenia has a few extra ways that it can provide anti-nausea and anti-vomiting support. Cerenia can also be used as a preventative measure for motion sickness in dogs whereas it cannot be used that way for cats.

Cerenia for Motion Sickness in Dogs

One of the most common reasons that Cerenia is prescribed for dogs is to alleviate the associated symptoms of motion sickness. Many dog owners love the idea of taking their beloved four-legged family member everywhere with them. Sadly, this doesn’t always work out for our dogs. Experts report that at least one out of every five dogs suffers from a severity of motion sickness.

Luckily, Cerenia for dogs is here to help. Veterinarians can prescribe Cerenia as a preventative way to alleviate the clinical signs of motion sickness in dogs. Furthermore, Cerenia proves to not only be effective at easing the nausea and vomiting aspects of motion sickness, but all of the other associated symptoms as well.

Telltale Signs of Motion Sickness

The first thing that dog owners must recognize is that our beloved furry friends are notorious for hiding pain and distress. Therefore, motion sickness can be a bit tricky to predict, until, of course, there is a complete mess in your back seat. However, there are a few additional signs of motion sickness that pet parents can be on the lookout for.


First and foremost, vomiting. Vomiting is the most common and clear sign that Fido is experiencing motion sickness. It may surprise dog owners to read that withholding food prior to traveling does not necessarily mean that vomiting will not occur. In fact, it is entirely possible for your dog to experience bouts of nausea and vomiting, even on an empty stomach. In these cases, Cerenia can make a world of difference for both your dog and your car floor.


Dogs who experience motion sickness will often be found panting and/or dry heaving. These symptoms may occur even before the car starts moving. Many pet owners report that while walking to the car, their dog begins breathing heavily and acting uncomfortable.


Additionally, many pet owners find that their dog will drool excessively when experiencing motion sickness. If you’ve ever vomited (for any reason), you may be familiar with the excess saliva that your body produces right before you get sick. It’s the same for our dogs. Also, excessive drooling is yet another symptom that may occur even before the car is in motion. Dogs are highly sensitive animals and their bodies may preemptively show symptoms if they know what lies ahead.

cerenia helps drooling from motion sickness

Anxiety and Uneasiness

Finally, many dogs will act distressed and show signs of anxiety as well as a fear of going into the car. If your dog avoids car trips as if their life depends on it, they likely suffer from motion sickness.

Does My Dog Suffer From Motion Sickness?

Many dog owners find themselves wondering whether or not their dog may be more prone to a condition like motion sickness. Unfortunately, there are not specific breeds at a higher risk. All dogs, of all ages and all breeds, may develop motion sickness. Some might be affected every time they get into the car while others may have bouts of sickness here and there. The only way to determine whether or not your dog experiences motion sickness is to take a car trip.

With that said, we are happy to report that Cerenia can effectively be used to manage and prevent nausea and vomiting resulting from motion sickness. Furthermore, there are also a number of all natural ways to help prevent sickness from traveling (more on that a minute).

Treatment for Acute Vomiting

Another reason why your veterinarian may prescribe Cerenia for dogs is to alleviate acute vomiting. When it comes to acute vomiting, the most cerenia helps acute vomitingimportant thing to ultimately address is what is actually causing it to occur. Acute vomiting can suddenly develop for a number of reasons, ranging in severity. When acute vomiting is not appropriately diagnosed and managed, it can lead to a slew of complications including dehydration and gastrointestinal issues. Therefore, it is important for dog owners to understand that Cerenia can be used as a way to stop the vomiting but the underlying cause must be treated as well.

Furthermore, in order to help your veterinarian quickly diagnose and effectively treat your dog’s condition, it is imperative that you provide them as much information as possible. Take note of any changes in your dog’s life as well as any additional symptoms that you have noticed.

The following are possible reasons for acute vomiting in dogs.


One potential reason that your dog is experiencing acute vomiting is due to an adverse interaction with a new medication. In some cases, this solely means that your dog’s body is adjusting to the drug. However, in other cases, acute vomiting can mean that your dog is experiencing an allergic reaction. If you have recently started a new medication and your dog suddenly has bouts of vomiting, call your vet straight away. They may tell you to discontinue the medication and, depending on the severity, Cerenia may be prescribed to alleviate the associated symptoms.


Another reason for acute vomiting is the presence of an underlying disease. Vomiting itself is not a health condition but rather a symptom of one. Therefore, it is incredibly important for your veterinarian to rule out any serious issues. If the acute vomiting is severe, Cerenia will likely be prescribed so to prevent the loss of fluids while your vet runs the necessary medical tests.


Acute vomiting is also a symptom of parasites. Again, while Cerenia may be useful in preventing additional issues, such as dehydration, it will not effectively rid the body of the parasitic infestation.


Toxicity or the ingestion of harmful substances can also result in your dog experiencing bouts of acute vomiting.


Just like their owners, dogs (and cats) can experience anxiety that may often result in sudden, acute vomiting. In these cases, Cerenia tablets may be prescribed in order to alleviate the vomiting, although the underlying cause of anxiety will ultimately have to be addressed (don’t worry, we’ll shed some light on that in a minute).

Dietary Changes

Finally, many dog owners like switching up their pet’s food from time to time. If this change is made abruptly, it will likely result in gastrointestinal upset, either in the form of vomiting or diarrhea.

Vomiting Prior to Surgery

Last but not least, veterinarians may administer Cerenia prior to surgery in order to prevent vomiting in cases where opioids are used as a pre-anesthetic. Many dogs have an adverse reaction to opioids. Luckily, Cerenia can help.

Cerenia Side Effects for Dogs

As with the vast majority of conventional medications, while Cerenia can prove to be highly beneficial, it also comes with potential side effects including:

  • Lethargycerenia can cause not wanting to eat
  • Drowsiness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Excessive drooling
  • Diarrhea or irregular stools
  • Pain at the injection site (when it comes to the injectable form of Cerenia)

Additional precautions include:

  • Cerenia should not be administered to dogs under 16 weeks old
  • Cerenia should not be administered to dogs who have pre-existing liver conditions

As always, talk to your veterinarian regarding whether or not Cerenia is the right fit for your dog.

Administering Cerenia for Dogs

There are two ways that Cerenia for dogs is used: an injectable solution and tablet form.

Cerenia Injection

Cerenia is available in injection form for both dogs and cats experiencing acute vomiting for a wide array of reason. The Cerenia injection may also be used prior to surgery in dogs who have a sensitivity to opioids. In both cases, the injection should only be administered by a veterinary professional.

Cerenia Tablets

Your veterinarian will prescribe Cerenia in tablet form for treating and preventing motion sickness in dogs. The creators of Cerenia state that giving your dog the appropriate dosage of Cerenia 2 hours prior to getting into the car will help prevent the associated symptoms.

Cerenia for Cats: Understanding the Differences

Now, let’s cover how Cerenia can also be used for cats. While there are many similarities of the drug, there are also important differences to note.

Acute Vomiting

Cerenia for cats is used to help alleviate acute vomiting so that the veterinarian can work to accurately diagnose what is causing it. Acute vomiting can occur due to any of the reasons why it may occur in dogs. Also comparable is the fact that the underlying cause must be determined in order to alleviate vomiting long-term.

However, differing the use of Cerenia in dogs and cats is its use for preventing motion sickness… and we’ll tell you why.

Administering Cerenia for Cats

Cerenia cannot be used for preventing motion sickness in cats because it is only available in an injectable form for the species. The injectable solution must be administered by a trained professional.

Tablets? Not For Your Feline!

Not to sound like a broken record, but it is extremely important that pet owners do not give their cat Cerenia tablets. While it may work wonders for your canine, it can cause your cat great harm.

Cerenia for Cats: Side Effects

The side effects of Cerenia for cats resemble those found in dogs with one significant difference. Because of the fact that Cerenia for cats only comes in an injectable form, the most prominent side effect is pain at the injection site.

Cerenia: The BandAid Effect

Before moving forward, we want to reiterate that Cerenia is not a cure. Yes, Cerenia can help alleviate acute vomiting. However, it will not cure the underlying issue that is causing the vomiting to occur in the first place. It is incredibly important that your veterinarian accurately diagnoses the reasoning behind the acute vomiting and treats it appropriately.

Furthermore, if acute vomiting is occurring it is also important to look for whether or not any of the following symptoms are also present:

  • Blood in vomit
  • Diarrhea (with or without blood)
  • Dehydration
  • Muscle weakness
  • Excessive lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Changes in behavior

Preventing Ailments = A Happy Fur Baby

While we do not want to negate the importance of conventional medication, we do want to reiterate one crucial concept that we stand behind.

At Simple Wag, we strongly advocate that prevention is the best medicine. There are countless ways that pet owners can ensure they are doing everything they can to prevent conditions from arising and therefore prevent the need for medication. We highly recommend looking into holistic veterinarians in your area. Even a quick phone call can shed light on additional natural supplements that may help your pet live a long, healthy life.

cerenia for pets

How to Prevent Motion Sickness for Fido

Additionally, many dog owners report that making a few quick changes when traveling can significantly reduce the need for Cerenia.

Purchase a Car Seat!

One of the most important changes that a dog owner can make is purchasing a dog seat. The dog seat will be able to strap into your current car and keep Fido safe and secure while traveling. Motion sickness often occurs when your dog is sliding all over the car with every turn you make. Purchasing a dog car seat is a great way to ensure that your dog doesn’t associate traveling with fear.

Cool is Key!

Your dog’s fur provides them protection against harsh winter weather. It also makes them exceptionally warmer than people, particularly if they are a bit overwhelmed. It is important to make sure to keep the car nice and cool in order to keep Fido comfortable.

Limit Food Intake

We mentioned that when administering Cerenia, the medication should be given with food approximately 2 hours prior to traveling. However, otherwise, food intake should be limited in order to help prevent motion sickness in dogs.

Treats and Toys

Next, it is important to associate traveling with positive experiences. Treats and toys are a great way to make a car trip something that your dog looks forward to.

Additionally, make sure that your car trips aren’t always ending with a stressful situation (i.e. the vet). Take Fido on a trip to the dog park instead. As you may imagine, if a car trip always ends in pain or stress, your dog is smart enough to know to avoid it.

CBD for Cats and Dogs

As a pet owner, we always encourage our readers to try to stay up to date on the latest advancements in holistic wellness. The fact that we have powerful, all natural ways to ease our pets’ ailments is something that we all must acknowledge and be grateful for. One of our favorite supplements is none other than CBD.

If you aren’t familiar, we are elated to be the ones to tell you about the incredible herb. Derived from the hemp plant, CBD oil is changing the lives of people and animals everywhere. In fact, it may very well negate the need for a conventional drug such as Cerenia. Take a look at the ways that CBD oil can help your beloved pet.

CBD for Anxiety

The use of CBD for treating, managing, and preventing anxiety is one of the most highly studied when it comes to the ways we can all benefit from the herb. Just like people, our cats and dogs can both suffer from crippling anxiety. Unlike people, our animals aren’t able to recognize why they are feeling a certain way. Instead, their anxiety makes itself known in different ways, i.e. destroying the linen currents or experiencing bouts of acute vomiting. Thankfully, CBD proves incredibly effective when it comes to anxiety. Even better? CBD doesn’t cause the mood altering and personality changing effects of conventional anti-anxiety meds. By implementing Calming CBD treats before an anxiety-ridden event, you can ease your pet’s stress and prevent acute vomiting.

Boosting Pet Health with CBD

Furthermore, CBD has proven time and time again to not only alleviate a slew of health issues, but prevent them from occurring in the first place. Many pet owners find themselves wondering how it’s all possible. Well, you came to the right place.

Studies show that when we trace the vast majority of health conditions back to their original cause we find that they have one huge thing in common: inflammation. Therefore, in order to prevent the health conditions from developing, we have to prevent inflammation. That’s where CBD is a game changer. CBD is an all natural, non-toxic anti-inflammatory that works to reduce current inflammation as well as prevent inflammation from developing and spreading.

Furthermore, CBD doesn’t only target one part of the body. My implementing CBD oil or specially formulated CBD treats, pet owners can boost their pet’s total health and wellness for less than $2. It’s pretty remarkable when you think about it.

Cerenia: The Bottom Line

When all is said and done, we know that your dogs and cats mean the world to you. It only makes sense that you would do anything to alleviate their pain and distress as quickly as possible. However, with all new medications, it is imperative that pet owners understand that there are always possible adverse reactions involved. It is up to you to recognize the risks and make an educated decision whether the potential benefits outweigh the possible harm. Using Cerenia is no different. With some dogs, Cerenia works wonders. In others, it may cause significant gastrointestinal upset and excessive lethargy that simply isn’t worth it for some pet parents.

Furthermore, understand that you have options. When there are all natural alternatives at your fingertips that have virtually zero side effects, isn’t it worth giving them a shot first? We certainly think so. From all of us at Simple Wag, we hope your fur babies feel better soon. Talk to your veterinarian regarding whether Cerenia can help your four-legged friend.



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About the author

Chelsea Hunt-Rivera

Dedicated Pet Parent who loves to create amazing content for pet owners and is helping change pet wellness as the Head of Content for Honestpaws.com.