Rimadyl For Dogs: Uses, Dosage, & Side Effects

Old Dog

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Rimadyl, which is a brand name for the drug carprofen, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication used to relieve pain from arthritis and joint diseases in dogs. It works by reducing hormones that cause pain and inflammation in the body, and because it has fewer side effects than steroids, it is often considered safer for long-term use. It is also considered safer than medication designed for human use, including ibuprofen and aspirin. Rimadyl is FDA approved for veterinary use and is available with a prescription. While it is safe for most dogs, use of Rimadyl can result in side effects, some of which are quite serious, and there are safer, more natural alternatives that can reduce the symptoms of arthritis. You should always discuss options with your veterinarian to provide your dog with the best, safest care, and if your vet does prescribe Rimadyl, follow their instructions for use closely. Here is what you should know about the uses, dosage, and side effects of Rimadyl.

Uses Of Rimadyl For Dogs

elderly golden labrador dog

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Rimadyl is primarily used to reduce pain and inflammation associated with arthritis and osteoarthritis in dogs. It may be used to treat other joint conditions such as hip dysplasia. Because it is safer than steroids, it is prescribed for long-term use in chronic conditions more often than steroids are.

Veterinarians may also prescribe Rimadyl for short-term use following surgical or dental procedures to reduce pain, and it may be given to dogs to reduce fevers. It can manage acute pain and inflammation, keeping dogs more comfortable as they recover.

Dosage Of Rimadyl For Dogs

very old cocker spaniel nearing the end of its days

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Rimadyl can be given to dogs in the form of caplets, chewable tablets, or injections. The caplets and tablets come in dosages of 25 mg, 75 mg, and 100 mg. The usual prescribed dosage for dogs is 2 mg per pound of body weight given once daily, or it can be broken down to 1 mg per pound of body weight given twice daily. Your veterinarian may wish to adjust the dosage based on your dog’s condition and response to the drug.

Side Effects Of Rimadyl In Dogs

This is taken of my elderly dog Cali riding in her Wagon. She had bad hips.

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Though Rimadyl is safer for dogs than steroids or human NSAIDs, there are some potential side effects, which can range from mild to serious. Long-term use of Rimadyl increases the risk for these side effects. If your dog shows any of the following symptoms after taking Rimadyl, consult your veterinarian right away.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Black, tarry, or bloody stool
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Gastrointestinal ulcers
  • Sores in the mouth
  • Fluid retention and weight gain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Seizures
  • Abdominal pain
  • Behavioral changes
  • Increased or decreased thirst
  • Urinary abnormalities (color, smell, frequency, etc.)
  • Jaundice
  • Liver or kidney problems

If your dog suffers from any of these side effects, your veterinarian may wish to change the dosage of Rimadyl or discontinue use and seek alternative treatment. Make sure your veterinarian is aware of any other medical conditions your dog has or any medication they may be taking, even over-the-counter drugs, as these can react badly with Rimadyl. As with all medication, there is a risk of allergic reaction, which could lead to anaphylactic shock. If you see the signs of an allergic reaction, get to your veterinarian immediately. This drug should not be given to dogs that are pregnant, nursing, or under six weeks of age.

Has your dog ever taken Rimadyl? Did it relieve their symptoms? Let us know in the comments below!