Rimadyl® & Other NSAIDs

Treating Pain In Your Dog:
Keeping Your Best Friend Active, Safe, And Pain Free

What are NSAIDs?

NSAIDs help to control signs of arthritis, including inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and joint pain. Inflammation—the body’s response to irritation or injury—is characterized by redness, warmth, swelling, and pain. NSAIDs work by blocking the production of prostaglandins, chemicals produced by the body that cause inflammation. Some NSAIDs may also be used to control the pain and inflammation following surgery. Your veterinarian may prescribe an NSAID to treat the pain of osteoarthritis in your dog or to control pain following a surgical procedure. Veterinary NSAIDs approved for use in dogs:

  • ETOGESIC (etodolac)
  • RIMADYL (carprofen)
  • METACAM (meloxicam)
  • DERAMAXX (deracoxib)
  • PREVICOX (firocoxib)
  • ZUBRIN (tepoxalin)
  • NOVOX (carprofen)


In the United States, there are no veterinary NSAIDs approved for oral use in cats.


What should you discuss with your veterinarian?

NSAIDs offer pain relief and improved quality of life to many dogs. However, before giving an NSAID, or any drug, you should first talk to your veterinarian. You should discuss:

  • what the NSAID is being prescribed for
  • how much to give
  • how long to give it
  • possible side effects
  • what to avoid while your dog is taking an NSAID
  • what tests are needed before giving an NSAID to your dog
  • how often should your dog be re-examined
  • your dog’s previous medical history and any previous drug reactions
  • all medications and products your dog currently receives


What should you know before giving your dog an NSAID?

  • Never give aspirin or corticosteroids along with an NSAID to your dog.
  • NSAIDs should be approached cautiously in dogs with kidney, liver, heart and intestinal problems.
  • Never give your dog an NSAID unless directed by your veterinarian.
  • Don’t assume an NSAID for one dog is safe to give to another dog. Always consult your veterinarian before using any medication in your pet.
  • Only give the NSAID as prescribed by your veterinarian. Do not increase the dose, the frequency, or the length of time you use the drug unless first discussing this with your veterinarian.


What side effects should you watch for?

Most NSAID-side effects are mild, but some can be serious, including death in rare situations. Common side effects seen with the use of NSAIDs in dogs may affect the kidneys, liver, and gastrointestinal tract and may include:

  • Not eating or eating less
  • Lethargy, depression, changes in behavior
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea, black tarry-colored stool
  • Yellowing of gums, skin, or the whites of the eyes
  • Change in drinking
  • Changes in skin (scabs, redness, or scratching)


What to do?

If you suspect a possible side effect to an NSAID, STOP giving the drug to your dog and call your veterinarian immediately! You can call us any time, 24 hours a day, at 303-678-8844.


When Giving Your BEST Friend an NSAID, Remember these Signs:

  • Behavior Changes
  • Eating Less
  • Skin Redness, Scabs
  • Tarry Stool/Diarrhea/Vomiting

STOP the Drug and Call Your Veterinarian!


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Food and Drug Administration

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