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Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Sue Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

Cerenia: An Option for Dogs with Vomiting

Updated: January 7th, 2020


Cerenia can really help with dogs who are vomiting or getting nauseous. Ask your vet!

When a four-legged family member is feeling sick it is heartbreaking. When they are vomiting? It can be horrible for everyone involved. Cerenia® (maropitant citrate) may be able to help.

Vomiting = No Good

Vomiting is a common symptom in canine cancer patients. The reasons may differ, of course.

Often, cancer itself causes our friends to feel nausea and throw up.

Sometimes conventional care treatments like chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, or medication reactions are the culprit.

Whatever the cause, vomiting is no good for several reasons.

First, nutrition is key to helping dogs with cancer. The dog cancer diet in the Guide has helped countless numbers of canine cancer patients.

But if they are throwing up, all that good nutrition is getting wasted. Meanwhile, they cannot or will not eat their next meal.

Secondly, quality of life is very important for fighting cancer. Feeling nauseous is a significant strike against a good quality of life.

Finally, vomiting interferes with giving medications and supplements by mouth. It may even make it impossible.

Get a copy of the Dog Cancer Survival Guide for more helpful tools and information to help your dog

How to Know If Your Dog Is Nauseous

The signs of nausea can be subtle, and not everyone picks them up. After all, a dog doesn’t speak English, so they can’t tell us when they feel sick to their stomach.

So, you have to look for signs. Here are some behaviors you might see if your dog is feeling nauseous:

  • Refusing food or not eating as much as normal.
  • Acting like he is hungry, but turning his head away when he gets close to the food.
  • Smacking or licking lips more frequently than normal.
  • Excessive salivation.
  • Lethargy, laying around, not as eager to go for walks as normal.

Basically, dogs will behave the way we behave when we feel nauseous. Think about the last time you felt sick to your stomach. Even if you were hungry, and food smelled good at first, once it came close to your lips, you probably didn’t want to eat it after all. You felt sluggish and weak, your mouth watered in weird ways, and you either didn’t want to eat at all or could only stomach a few bites.

Cerenia: Help for Dogs with Vomiting

There are several different strategies included in my book for natural ways to help dogs with vomiting and nausea. But there’s also a really good prescription drug that is worth talking about, because it is a “big gun” that can work really quickly: Cerenia.

Even those who like to do natural strategies sometimes need help from pharmaceuticals. Sometimes fresh ginger, supplements, or even milder meds just don’t work. Or if we have an immediate problem, we need a big gun right away.

That’s when I reach for Cerenia (maropitant).

Cerenia is a prescription medication that comes as an injection (given in the hospital), and in tablet form, you can give at home. It is often effective when other steps just are not working.

The thing I like about Cerenia is that it helps both acute and chronic vomiting. So if your dog is violently ill out of the blue (acute) you can use Cerenia to control the vomiting, but you can also use it if your pup has been throwing up for days on end.

While I mainly use Cerenia for treating illness, it can also be used as a preventative for motion sickness. If your dog is really ill in the car, giving Cerenia about two hours before the ride can really help a lot.

And bonus: Cerenia may have some anti-depressant effects, at least in people. Believe it or not, addressing any unknown depression from cancer can help fight the disease. Just like we treat depression in people with cancer, I believe we should do it for dogs, too.

Cerenia side effects are rare, but do include digestive upset (worse vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and salivation). So if you give your dog Cerenia and he or she gets more sick, it isn’t a good option for your pup.


Dr D


Leave a Comment

  1. Linda rossman on July 5, 2020 at 3:22 pm

    Can I get this medication without persciption

    • Molly Jacobson on July 6, 2020 at 5:40 pm

      Hi Linda, no, Cerenia is a prescription medication you get from your veterinarian.

  2. Judy Utley on December 20, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    My dog Lacy has lymphpma, as of Sunday, Dec 19 she will not eat. Do you have any suggestion on what I can do?

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