Is it Safe to Give Rimadyl to Dogs?

Yes, Rimadyl is safe for dogs over six weeks of age. In fact, it is one of the safest NSAIDs for canines. However, you still need to consult with a veterinarian whether your dog needs this medication and how to use it. You will also have to get a veterinary prescription as Rimadyl is not available over the counter. 

Rimadyl’s active ingredient, Carprofen, is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug from the propionic acids class, which is the same as Ketoprofen, Naproxen, and Ibuprofen. It is a COX-2 inhibiting medication. Let’s explain this. Rimadyl (Carprofen) works by inhibiting the cyclooxygenase enzymes COX-1 and COX-2 that stimulate the production of prostaglandins. These are hormone-like chemicals that regulate various body functions. 

While COX-1 is linked with prostaglandins with positive effects, COX-2 makes prostaglandins responsible for pain, inflammation, and swelling. Carprofen selectively inhibits COX-2.

What does Rimadyl do for a Dog?

Rimadyl provides relief of pain and reduces inflammation in dogs with osteoarthritis and other issues with the joints. It can also be used for the control of postoperative pain in dogs after soft tissue or orthopedic surgeries. Here are some of the more frequent Rimadyl uses in dogs. 

Rimadyl for Dogs with Osteoarthritis. Canine osteoarthritis is a common diagnosis, especially among older dogs. With age, due to natural wear and tear, the cartilage between the two bone surfaces gets damaged, causing joint inflammation manifested with pain, stiffness, and limited mobility. Carprofen is one of the few NSAIDs that are recommended for long-term use in dogs with arthritis. 

Rimadyl for Dogs with Hip Dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a congenital condition that occurs when the femoral head and pelvic socket grow at different rates leading to joint dislocation. The frequent dislocations are painful and impair mobility. Hip dysplasia is more common among certain large and giant dog breeds. Hip dysplasia can be treated surgically or managed with pain medications such as Rimadyl. 

Rimadyl for Control of Postoperative Pain in Dogs. Rimadyl is frequently given to dogs before and after orthopedic surgeries and soft tissue surgeries. This is because Carprofen provides sufficient pain relief. Pain management in the postoperative period is a vital part of veterinary care and ensures fast and smooth recovery. If left unmanaged, pain delays healing.  

Rimadyl for Dog Dental Pain and Procedures. Rimadyl can also be used for dogs undergoing dental procedures like teeth extractions, removal of oral tumors, regular teeth scaling. In such cases, it is usually combined with antibiotics to prevent infections after the dental procedure. 

What are the Side Effects of Rimadyl in Dogs?

The most common side effects of Rimadyl in dogs are digestive upset like vomiting, diarrhea, temporary appetite loss, and constipation, and tiredness. 

In some dogs, more serious adverse reactions are possible as a result of digestive, kidney, and liver damage. Signs and symptoms include bloody vomiting and diarrhea (tarry or black stool), persistent appetite loss, pronounced lethargy, increased water intake, and urination. 

The blood loss results in anemia and pale gums. In case of liver damage, the dog will develop jaundice, which is a yellowing of gums, skin, and whites of the eyes. In some dogs, behavioral changes like restlessness, aggression, irritability, skin disorders like itchiness, scabs, wounds, hair loss, and neurological signs like incoordination, tremors, seizures, disorientation, paralysis are possible.  

In rare situations and in extra sensitive dogs, Carprofen may trigger an allergy. Carprofen allergies manifest with facial swelling, hives, and in more severe cases breathing difficulties. 

Due to the high risk of side effects and serious adverse reactions, Rimadyl must not be used in:

  • Dogs allergic to the active ingredient
  • Dogs on meds with drug interactions 
  • Puppies younger than six weeks of age 
  • Dogs with bleeding disorders (Willebrand disease)
  • Dogs with low platelet counts 
  • Dogs with bleeding stomach ulcers 

Rimadyl can be used but cautiously in:

  • Pregnant dogs and lactating dogs 
  • Older, dehydrated, and debilitated dogs 
  • Dogs with liver and kidneydisorders 
  • Dogs with heart conditions. 

Will Rimadyl Make a Dog Sleepy?

Yes, Rimadyl make dogs sleepier than usual. This is because increased tiredness is one of the medication’s side effects. However, it does not mean that all dogs will be sleepy after starting to use Rimadyl. If your dog is extra tired and sleepy, talk with the vet about dosage modification. 

Rimadyl Dosage for Dogs

Rimadyl Dosage for Dogs

The recommended dosage of Rimadyl for dogs is 2 mg per lb of body weight (4.4 mg/kg) once or twice per day, depending on the underlying condition and the dog’s needs. 

The Rimadyl caplets and chewable tablets are available in three different strengths, 25 mg, 75 mg, and 100 mg. Here is a simple chart for easy dosage calculations:

  • Dogs weighing between 5 and 10 pounds – half a 25mg tablet   
  • Dogs weighing between 11 and 15 pounds – one 25mg tablet 
  • Dogs weighing between 16 and 20 pounds – half a 75mg tablet 
  • Dogs weighing between 21 and 30 pounds – half a 100mg tablet
  • Dogs weighing between 31 and 40 pounds – one 75mg tablet 
  • Dogs weighing between 41 and 60 pounds – one 100mg tablet
  • Dogs weighing between 61 and 90 pounds – one and a half 100mg tablets
  • Dogs weighing between 91 and 120 pounds – two 100mg tablets.

In case you forget dosing your dog, give it its Rimadyl dose as soon as you remember. Or, if it is close to the next scheduled dosing, skip the missed dose and continue according to the set schedule. Do not double dose your dog to compensate, as Carprofen overdoses are possible. 

In toxic amounts, Carprofen can trigger stomach ulcers and acute kidney failure. The telltale signs and symptoms of Carprofen toxicity include bloody vomiting, bloody diarrhea (black and tarry stools), lack of appetite, lethargy, abdominal pain, changes in urination habits, increased thirst, and seizures. 

If you accidentally overdosed your dog or it stole Rimadyl caplets/chewable tablets, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline as soon as possible. 

Rimadyl for Dogs Usage Guidelines

Rimadyl is intended for oral administration and is available in two different forms, as caplets and liver-flavored chewable tablets. It also comes in the form of an injectable solution, but this is used in veterinary settings. 

The Rimadyl caplets and chewable tablets can be given with or without food. If your dog has a sensitive stomach and is prone to vomiting, it is better to give Rimadyl with food. 

Before you start using Rimadyl, let the veterinarian know about any medications your dog is receiving, including natural supplements, vitamins, and herbal remedies. Drug interactions are possible between Carprofen and the following meds:

  • Other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs 
  • Steroids (Prednisone, Dexamethasone, Cortisone)
  • Loop diuretics (Furosemide)
  • Protein-bound drugs (Phenytoin, Valproic acid)
  • ACE inhibitors and some heart medications (Digoxin)
  • Chemotherapy agents (Methotrexate)
  • Anticoagulant drugs (Warfarin)
  • ACE inhibitors and some heart medications (Digoxin)
  • Insulin and oral antidiabetics 
  • Tricyclic antidepressants 
  • All nephrotoxic medications
  • Immunosuppressive drugs (Cyclosporine). 

Rimadyl needs to be kept in its original package and stored at room temperature, between 59°F and 86°F away from direct heat, light, and moisture. Compounded Carprofen versions should be stored in accordance with the label’s instructions. It must also be stored out of reach of pets and children. In case of accidental ingestions, call your veterinarian or physician. 

How Long can a Dog Stay on Rimadyl?

Dogs can stay on Rimadyl for a couple of months. However, long-term use of Rimadyl will require frequent veterinary checkups with complete blood count, liver enzyme levels, kidney values. The first checkup is performed within two to four weeks of starting the therapy and then every three to six months. Such monitoring is not necessary during short-term Rimadyl use. 

Rimadyl Alternatives for Dogs

Rimadyl Alternatives for Dogs

Rimadyl is an excellent choice for dogs with arthritis, hip dysplasia, and postoperative pain. However, it is not universally fit for all dogs. If your dog is not a candidate for Rimadyl therapy, talk to your veterinarian about other options. Here are some popular Rimadyl alternatives. 

Other NSAIDs for Dogs. The group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs includes various options such as Previcox (Firocoxib), Deramaxx (Deracoxib), and Metacam (Meloxicam). You can also try Galliprant – a new NSAID with delicious liver flavor and low risk of side effects. If using NSAIDs, make sure they are formulated for dogs. Human NSAIDs (Aspirin and Ibuprofen) are harmful and potentially toxic to dogs. 

Gabapentin for Dogs. Gabapentin is a structural analog of the neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Gabapentin has an unusual working mechanism, it quiets the dog’s nervous system making it less sensitive to pain impulses. It also boosts the anti-pain effects of other medications, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and opioids. 

Tramadol for Dogs. Tramadol is a synthetic opioid and is usually prescribed as a last resort for dogs with unmanageable pain. Despite its opioid classification, Tramadol is less likely to cause dependence and tolerance. However, in dogs with severe arthritic pain, it should be combined with other drugs and approaches. 

Do not worry if you are not a big fan of mainstream medications. There are some natural and holistic supplements for pain and inflammation management. Here are some ideas. 

CBD Oil for Dogs. Cannabidiol or CBD is a novel but popular supplement and can successfully relieve pain and decrease inflammation. In addition, CBD will improve the dog’s overall health and welfare. Our best choice is the Honest Paws CBD oil and treats, they include full-spectrum oil extracted from organic hemp and some condition-specific, health-boosting ingredients. Plus, the oils and treats are tasty and easy to use. 

Honest Paws Mobility CBD Oil for Dogs
  • Full Spectrum CBD Oil 
  • Third-Party Tested 
  • Formulated to Relieve Joint Pain and Inflammation

Joint Supplements for Dogs. The modern pet market offers an array of joint supplements made exclusively for dogs. Based on the severity of the joint problem, they can be used alone or in conjunction with pain meds. We recommend the Honest Paws Mobility Powder. The product features Green Lipped Mussels, fish oil, glucosamine HCL, hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate, fish oil, vitamin C, manganese gluconate, MSM, and Boswellia serrata.  

Physical Therapy for Dogs. Dogs with osteoarthritis benefit from physical therapy in the form of hydrotherapy (swimming and underwater mills), acupuncture, massages, etc. Alone, these approaches are not enough, but they make an excellent addition to the arthritis management strategy. 

Mobility - Green Lipped Mussel Joint Powder
  • This bacon popcorn flavored Honest Paws Joint Powder uses a blend of ingredients that focus on all-encompassing joint health and support.
  • It works to maintain joint mobility, improve cartilage development, and enhance overall bone and joint health.
  • Green lipped mussel extract contains a nutrient-rich blend of natural proteins, minerals and omega fatty acids.

Last but not least, do not forget to consult with your trusted veterinarian about the different options. Never self-treat your dog, and keep in mind that the information in this article is solely for educational purposes – it is not a substitute for professional advice.