Carprofen (RimadylⓇ) for Dogs: Dosage, Uses, and Side Effects

Four Minutes
Mar 04, 2024

As pet parents, we’d do anything to prevent our canine companions from experiencing pain and discomfort. Whether they’re entering their golden years or recovering from surgery, at some point in their lives, our dogs may experience illnesses or conditions that can impact their mobility. That’s where carprofen can help.

Read on to learn more about this commonly prescribed pain reliever.

What Is Carprofen for Dogs?

Carprofen, also referred to by the brand name Rimadyl, is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that’s approved by the FDA to reduce pain and inflammation in dogs.1 Carprofen can come in the form of chewable tablets, capsules, or as an injection.2 Your veterinarian can tell you which method is best for your dog.

What Is Carprofen Used for in Dogs?

Carprofen is used to treat both acute and chronic pain. Your vet may prescribe carprofen after your dog has undergone surgery to help with postoperative pain and inflammation. Also, carprofen is often prescribed to help treat osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that can cause pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility.3

Carprofen works in three main ways: to treat inflammation, reduce fever, and mitigate pain.2 When used as directed, carprofen is designed to support your dog in regaining mobility and resuming their normal physical activities.4

Pain Relief Doesn’t Have to Cost a Lot

Pet Insurance Can Help

Is Carprofen Safe for My Dog?

When administered following dosage recommendations, carprofen is generally considered to be one of the safest NSAIDs for dogs on the market.2 However, like any medication, it carries potential risks and side effects that should be carefully monitored. Your dog’s medical history, health status, and current medications are all important factors that could increase the risk of adverse effects from carprofen.

If your dog has a bleeding disorder, such as Von Willebrand disease, a low platelet count, or an NSAID allergy, carprofen should be avoided.1 Additionally, other conditions may pose an increased risk for your dog. Exercise caution with the use of carprofen if your pet falls into the following categories:1

  • Has a pre-existing condition, such as liver or kidney disease
  • Is pregnant or lactating
  • Has had bone surgery or injury
  • Is younger than 6 weeks old
  • Is elderly
  • Is dehydrated

Be sure to consult with your vet and let them know of any medications your dog is currently taking. Some medications can interact adversely with carprofen, such as ACE inhibitors, other NSAIDs, corticosteroids, nephrotoxic medications, insulin, loop diuretics, and tricyclic antidepressants.1

What Are the Potential Side Effects of Carprofen for Dogs?

Your dog may experience side effects after taking carprofen. These can range from mild discomfort to more serious complications. Common side effects include an upset stomach, which can cause light vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, temporary loss of appetite, and/or tiredness.1 However, more serious side effects can occur. If your dog exhibits the following, you should call your vet immediately:1,2

  • Severe vomiting or diarrhea
  • Black or bloody stools, or bloody vomit
  • Increased or decreased drinking
  • Changes in urination (frequency, color, or smell)
  • Yellow skin or eyes
  • Severe lethargy
  • Persistent lack of appetite
  • Neurological symptoms (seizures, paralysis, or disorientation)
  • Restlessness
  • Aggression
  • Skin symptoms (hair loss, itchiness, scabs, or wounds)
  • Allergic reactions (facial swelling or hives)

What Is the Recommended Carprofen Dosage for Dogs?

Generally, the recommended dosage of carprofen for oral administration to dogs is 2 mg/lb (4.4 mg/kg) of body weight per day. This total daily dose can be given as a single administration of 2 mg/lb of body weight once daily or divided into two doses of 1 mg/lb (2.2mg/kg) each given twice daily.4

Your vet will ultimately determine the appropriate dosage for your dog based on their specific needs. So make sure to follow your vet's instructions.

Is Carprofen Right for My Dog?

Carprofen is commonly prescribed to dogs to help relieve and manage their pain. Giving your dog carprofen can help improve their quality of life. But if you have any reservations, it’s a good idea to speak with your vet. They can discuss the benefits of carprofen, as well as the potential risks.

There are also alternative medications and holistic therapies available that your vet can help you assess. Some of these alternatives may include other NSAIDs, joint supplements, and canine therapies — such as acupuncture, massage, chiropractic therapy, and water therapy.2

How Pet Insurance Can Help Cover Carprofen Costs

The cost of carprofen can vary depending on the retailer, dosage, strength, and other factors. But despite the cost, pet insurance can provide valuable financial assistance. MetLife Pet Insurance offers coverage for illnesses, injuries, medications, and more. Get an instant quote, and start exploring all the ways MetLife Pet can help protect your furry friend from the unexpected.

Help Your Pet Feel Better

**As with any insurance policy, coverage may vary. Review our coverage and exclusions.

1 “Carprofen,” VCA Animal Hospitals, 

2 “Rimadyl (Carprofen) for Dogs: Uses, Side Effects, and Alternatives,” American
Kennel Club,

3 “Identification of canine osteoarthritis using an owner‐reported questionnaire and treatment monitoring using functional mobility tests,” National Library of Medicine

4 “Carprofen Prescribing Information,”,

Coverage issued by Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, and Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85454. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations and application is subject to underwriting. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC (“MetLife Pet”) for details. MetLife Pet is the policy administrator. It may operate under an alternate or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota) and MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).

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