16 January, 2021

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Rimadyl For Dogs Side Effects & Alternatives

Side Effects Of Rimadyl For Dogs & Alternatives: Everything You Need to Know

Rimadyl (Carprofen) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), meaning it’s designed to relieve pain and inflammation. It’s often used in managing cases of canine osteoarthritis.

Note that the drug can also be used in the treatment of other joint conditions, such as hip or elbow dysplasia. It may likewise be given after a surgical or dental procedure to reduce pain.

What is Rimadyl for Dogs?

Rimadyl comes in caplet, injection, and chewable forms. However, it should only be given to dogs that are more than six weeks of age and with the advice of a veterinarian.

If you’re like most other concerned pooch owners, you’re probably wondering about the specifics of this drug—especially in relation to the various conditions for which it’s given.


Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage in the joints wears off. This condition is most often diagnosed among dogs of middle to advanced age. Its common symptoms include pain, lameness, stiffness, and/or limping [1].

Simply put, Rimadyl helps reduce the pain, while also alleviating the inflammation that occurs when the bones scratch onto each other due to the thinning of the cartilage between them.

Hip Dysplasia – Hip dysplasia is a condition where the dog’s hip bones don’t form properly. The hip joint normally glides as the dog moves. In hip dysplasia, the bone grinds, causing significant amounts of pain.

This condition usually affects larger dogs such as Labradors, German Shepherds, Great Danes, and Saint Bernards [2]. A vet can prescribe Rimadyl to ease the discomfort associated with hip dysplasia.

Pain (Surgery) – Dogs, just like people, experience pain after a surgical or dental procedure. Rimadyl may be given to alleviate that pain.

Dosage of Rimadyl

Caplets and chewable tablets are in 25-, 75-, and 100-milligram doses. The usual prescribed dosage is 2 milligrams per pound of body weight. This is to be given once daily.

Sometimes, the veterinarian spreads out the dose, setting it at 1 milligram per pound of body weight. This is then to be given twice daily [3]. With injectables, the dose is 4.4 milliliters per kilogram body weight, given daily.

There’s a chance for a pooch to find itself gaining access to the NSAID and start gobbling it up. Rimadyl is liver-flavored, after all, which most canine companions love. If ever this happens, the signs of overdose may manifest:

  • vomiting
  • Blood in stools or vomit
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • abdominal pain

You should always consult with your veterinarian after accidental Rimadyl ingestion. If you see any of the said signs in your dog, bring him to the vet right away.

Rimadyl For Dogs Side Effects

Rimadyl is a safe medication, assuming that it’s used for the right conditions and at the right doses. But like other drugs, it can cause certain side effects [4], including:

  • Fatigue
  • decreased appetite
  • Black, bloody or tarry stool
  • Constipation
  • Seizures
  • Gastrointestinal ulcers
  • Weakness
  • Sores in the mouth
  • Fluid retention
  • Behavioral changes
  • Abdominal pain
  • Extreme thirst
  • Weight gain
  • Decreased thirst
  • Urinary abnormalities

In extreme cases, it can also lead to liver (which may manifest as jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and gums, as well as the whites of the eyes) and kidney problems.

Keep in mind that Rimadyl is not for every dog with joint pain, which is why it’s important to keep your pooch’s current veterinarian fully informed. It must never be given to canines with allergy to carprofen.  Rimadyl should be administered with caution in animals with:

  • Allergy to NSAID
  • Kidney disease
  • Pre-existing ulcer
  • Liver disease
  • Bleeding disorders
  • High blood pressure

Rimadyl should not be taken by dogs below two and a half months old. As to be expected, it also isn’t advised to give this drug to any dog that’s pregnant or lactating.

Cost of Rimadyl

A 100-milligram tablet costs around 0.75-0.85 cents. On the other hand, 30 pieces of 25-milligram chewable tablets cost anywhere from 25 to 30 dollars. A 60-tablet pack will be priced at around 56 to 80 dollars.

Interaction with other Drugs

Rimadyl should not be given together with corticosteroids and other NSAIDs. This may cause gastrointestinal problems and bleeding, aside from increasing the side effects of Rimadyl itself.

Rimadyl should be given with caution in patients on anticoagulants or thrombolytic agents. The drug may dampen the effects of ACE inhibitors such as Enalapril and Benazepril [5]. Ace inhibitors rely on the dilation of blood vessels and can interfere with the function of NSAIDs.

Lastly, the drug must not to be given with ACE inhibitors such as Enelapril and Benazepril [5]. Ace inhibitors rely on the dilation of blood vessels and can interfere with the function of NSAIDs.

Ingredients in Rimadyl

The active ingredient in this NSAID is Carprofen, which varies in amount depending on the dose of the tablet. There’s one other noteworthy ingredient—the flavoring. As mentioned, Rimadyl has a liver-like flavor.

Rimadyl Alternatives

At this point, it should be clear that Rimadyl isn’t without flaw. And so, it’s only appropriate to ask whether there are alternatives that may be considered. Well, here’s a list of the most popular ones:

Dasuquin  – Dasuquin is a natural supplement. It contains MSM, glucosamine, chondroitin, and essential compounds that are abundant in avocado and soybean.

This supplement is effective in strengthening dog joints. It also helps prevent canines from developing osteoporosis and other similar bone or joint issues.

Tramadol and Adequan – These two are effective in reducing inflammation and swelling in the joints [6].

Gabapentin – is an oral medication often used for the management of acute and chronic pain in dogs.

Concentrated Omega 3- This supplement aids in alleviating pain, swelling, and inflammation. It’s available in both capsule and liquid forms. All omega-3 supplements are given to dogs orally.


DR Gullamune Hoareau

Reviewed By Dr. Gullamune Hoareau

Dr. Hoareau earned his veterinary degree from the Toulouse National Veterinary School, France. He completed a residency from the University of California-Davis and is now board-certified by both the American and European Colleges of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. Dr. Hoareau holds a PhD from the University of California-Davis in Integrative Pathobiology, specifically in resuscitation and haemorrhage control. He completed a research fellowship in military trauma and critical illness. His interests include haemorrhage control, cardiac arrest, and working dog health.


University of utah