Cerenia: What You Need to Know First

Cerenia: What You Need to Know First

  • Kirsten Thornhill - 13.02.2020

You know that feeling as soon as it comes on…..the queasy feeling in the bottom of your stomach. Whichever the cause, we don’t have to tell you just how awful it feels because you’ve been there. Stomach pains and aches, dry heaving, dry mouth. Being sick is definitely no fun, including for your four-legged love babies. Just like us humans, dogs and cats can experience vomiting and nausea for any number of reasons. 

Fortunately, experts in the animal field have realized that pups and cats don’t have to face the unpleasantness of vomiting any more than us humans. Thus, veterinarians have developed the drug Cerenia, also known as Maropitant citrate. 

In today’s article, we’ll discuss the important “need-to-knows” about this medication and how it may be able to help your fur baby through their discomfort. We will also cover potential side effects of Cerenia, in addition to alternatives you may want to think about. 

1, 2, 3, let’s go!


Cerenia: What Is It

Cerenia is the first FDA-approved medication that vets prescribe to treat vomiting in dogs and cats. Cerenia is prescribed to prevent vomiting in dogs too, that may result from motion sickness. 



We’ll first talk about how Cerenia can help your pup and how your feline may benefit from it too. Although Cerenia serves as a treatment for vomiting in both cats and dogs, there are some key differences pet owners should know about.


Why Cerenia for Dogs

When it comes to your paw child, there are a few ways in which Cerenia can help to alleviate nausea and vomiting, in addition to helping prevent the sickness feelings before they start. 


Motion Sickness and Cerenia

Many dog parents can’t stand the thought of leaving their pup behind as they travel. Unfortunately, some dogs don’t love to travel as much as we do. Studies have shown that an estimated 1 of 5 dogs suffer from motion sickness. In these instances, your vet may prescribe Cerenia to ease and lessen the associated symptoms that may present themselves from traveling. 


Motion Sickness in Dogs

Dogs aren’t really the best at warning you before they throw up all over the back seat of your car. Dogs are notorious for hiding discomfort and pain, thus, making it even more difficult to foresee the messy, smelly event. With that being stated, it is important to be aware of some classic signs of motion sickness in dogs. 


1. Vomit


Yes, one of the most obvious signs of motion sickness in humans and dogs is vomiting. Many paw parents feel that if they refrain from giving fido food before the car ride, they can help eliminate the chance of their pup vomiting. But, vomiting can occur even if your pup has an empty stomach. 


2. Dry Heaving 


Your pup may begin dry heaving and panting once in the vehicle. This is a sign that can occur beforehand as well, if your dog associates a car trip with feeling sick. 


3. Uneasy 


Your pup may show general signs of feeling uneasy. If you pup is pacing, whining, or showing that they are scared of the car of what is to come, they are likely one in five dogs that experience the general signs of motion sickness. 


4. Excessive Drool 


If you notice that your pup is drooling more than usual, they may likely be experiencing motion sickness. Dogs are extremely sensitive animals and can demonstrate signs prior to the active motion sickness kicking in. In some instances, drooling may occur even before the car is moving, certainly if the dog anticipates what’s in store next. 


Which Dogs Get Motion Sickness

As we stated above, studies have shown that one in five pups may experience motion sickness. However, many pet owners wonder if their dog may be more prone to it or not. Unfortunately, there are no real ways to determine whether or not fido is more likely to experience motion sickness, without a trial and error car ride. All breeds may be susceptible, as well as pups of all sizes and ages. But, on a positive, Cerenia has been shown to effectively alleviate and prevent nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness. 


Vomiting in Dogs

Vets may also prescribe Cerenia to help with acute vomiting in pups. Acute or short-term vomiting can happen for a multitude of reasons and can scare many paw parents. One reason vets prescribe Cerenia is to stop the vomiting, to be able to get to the source of whatever is causing it. Persistent vomiting may lead to gastrointestinal issues and severe dehydration. Cerenia can aid in reducing the discomfort and help prevent any issues from further arising. Furthermore, Cerenia can help provide comfort for your pup and an ease of mind for you too!

There may be multiple reasons for why your pup is vomiting, so we’ll try to cover the most common ones. The more information you’re able to invest reading into, the more you are able to share with your vet and help diagnose the underlying cause of the vomting. 


Anxious Behaviors

Vomiting may occur as a result of stress, including separation anxiety. For some pups, the idea of their owner leaving the house of any amount of time can mean full panic mode. This sad reality of leaving your pup leaves pet owners not knowing what to do or how to proceed. Luckily, Cerenia can help with this!



Vomiting can be a classic sign of intestinal parasites, unfortunately. Vomiting can be seen as a quick fix, but it may also be a major concern for potential further issues. This is when Cerenia can help to lessen the discomfort while your vet figures out the underlying issues of the vomting. 



Most instances, vomiting is considered as a non-specific sign of disease in doggos. Non-specific signs can be described as those that may occur with many different roots of cause. Because of this, it is crucial for your pup’s health that your vet cancels out the possibility of disease to prevent other issues from occurring. Cerenia can help alleviate signs of disease yes, but it is not the end-all-be-all answer here. It will not cure the disease(s). 


Drug Interactions

If your pup has recently been put on new medication, vomiting may occur if your pup is adjustng to it. If this does happen, it is important to make sure you share with your vet. Vomiting due to medication may be a sign that your pup is having an allergic reaction to it. In this case, stop with giving your pup this medication. 





Poisoning and environmental toxicity are two of the most common reasons doggos throw up. Dogs are notorious for getting into things they shouldn’t that may cause harm. They are always looking for a bite to eat and are well known to eat just about anything. One of the signs that your pup may have eaten something they shouldn’t have is through acute vomiting. Gross, but bingo!


Diet Changes

Dogs love to eat things they shouldn’t, of course. However, they can be super picky eaters when it comes to their daily food. Dogs owners find themselves constantly switching brands of food and adding variety to their pup’s diet, in hopes they’ll chow down every time. However, if you find that your four-legged friend is doing this, it is important that you make the food transition slow and steady. Switching up your pup’s food too quickly may lead to acute vomiting (that could have been prevented).


What Else to Look For in Dogs

Again, the more information you learn about, the more you can share with your vet, the sooner they will be able to develop a proper diagnosis to develop a treatment plan. Boom. 

If vomiting occurs, make sure you look for these additional signs that may be present (& let your vet know as soon as possible):


  • Bloody vomit
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in urine or stool
  • Changes in behavior
  • Dehydration 


Side Effects of Cerenia

Like all traditional drugs, Cerenia does have potential side effects that dog owners should be aware of. While studies show that most dogs have no adverse side effects to the helpful drug, the following adverse reactions of Cerenia that have been reported are as follows:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Drooling excessively
  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea

Cerenia should not be administered to dogs younger than 4 months old or those who are pre-existing liver conditions or diseases. As always it is important to make sure that your vet is well aware of any allergies your health issues your pup may have before taking Cerenia.


How to Administer Cerenia to Cats

Cerenia can be given in two ways: 1) tablet and 2) injection. 

Unlike cats, dogs can take Cerenia in tablet form to prevent symptoms of motion sickness. Cats cannot take Cerenia in tablet form.  Experts recommend giving your pup the appropriate dose of Cerenia 2-3 hours prior to the car ride. Side note, make sure to give your pup the medication with food so an upset stomach doesn’t onset. Your vet should be one the prescribing the correct Cerenia dosage that will fit your pup’s individual needs.

The injectable form of Cerenia is available for both cats and dogs. The injection should only be done by a trained veterinary professional. 


What Else to Look For in Cats

It’s important for cat owners to give their vet as much information as possible for a quick diagnosis and treatment plan. 

Cat owners must also take note of the following symptoms if they are present:


  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in urine or stool
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Decreased energy 

Alternatives to Cerenia


  • Roll down the windows when you drive
  • Make sure the car is cool beforehand
  • Limit the amount of food your pet gets before the ride
  • Bring toys and treats along
  • Start easing your pet slowly into car rides



Cerenia: Final Thoughts

When all is said and done, we can all agree that vomiting and nausea are no fun, for us or our fur children. Cerenia has been proven to alleviate discomfort in cats and dogs who experience sudden acute vomiting. At the end of the day, we want you to understand that conventional medication can definitely be useful, but there are also alternative ways to treat vomiting and prevent it from occurring again. The more you know about the options available, the better prepared you can be in ensuring you make the best decision possible for your four-legged friends. 

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