It's likely no one warned you how hard it is to be a dog owner sometimes.

When you brought your tiny fur ball home, everything was just peachy (aside from your stained rug and torn up couch but you've moved past that because look how cute this pup is)!

Yet as your puppy grows into your perfect four-legged best friend, more times than not, issues arise.

These issues can be frustrating, we get it. You feed your dog a species appropriate, raw food diet, keep up to date on the latest and greatest natural supplements, and make sure they are getting plenty of physical and mental stimulation.

Therefore, when conditions develop, it can be incredibly trying for a pet owner (not to mention pricey). Additionally, a slew of issues that will inevitably lead you to the veterinarian office is out of your control.

Many issues are related to age or congenital issues (issues the dog was born with) that arise or worsen over time.

So, as a dog owner, what can you do? We're here to tell you that while there are certainly elements of your pup's life that are out of your control, there are also things that are entirely in your control.

A critically important component that is entirely in your control is knowing everything you can about the medication that your pup is prescribed PRIOR to administering the drugs, regardless of what the medicine is!

In this article, we'll be discussing the medication best known as Rimadyl. It is one of the most popular nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed for pain and inflammation.

But is it safe? What are the pros and cons to this particular drug that seems to be flying off the shelves of the vet's office?

Let's get to it!

What is Rimadyl for Dogs

dog with medicine bottle

Rimadyl for dogs is a commonly prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (often referred to as an NSAID).

Veterinarians typically prescribe Rimadyl for dogs in order to alleviate pain and inflammation associated with osteoporosis or for post-operative pain, discomfort, and swelling.

An NSAID (or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug), like aspirin or Advil, is generally used to treat pain in the short term.

While they are approved for long-term use, the longer you (or your dog) uses them, particularly at a high frequency, the more adverse reactions that are likely to arise (this is true for humans and dogs).

Some of the most commonly prescribed NSAID drugs for dogs are the following:

Some veterinarians may tell dog owners that giving their dogs a human NSAID is safe enough for short-term use. However, we highly advise against this.

There are enough adverse reactions associated with NSAIDs that are formulated for dogs to make your head spin. We absolutely recommend our readers to stay far away from the idea of giving your pup a human formulated, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug of any kind.

In fact, what you may not realize is that all NSAIDs have the potential to cause horrific, irreversible damage in both humans and dogs including gastrointestinal bleeding and liver disease.

In cases of gastrointestinal bleeding, sometimes the only way to help the issue is to prescribe even more drugs.

These additional drugs all have their own laundry lists of potential side effects. You can see how it can easily turn into a dangerous cycle.

What is Carprofen for Dogs 

There isn't really a difference between Carprofen and Rimadyl. Dog owners may hear the medication referred to as one or the other so we want to make sure you're aware of both.

Really the only difference is that Carprofen (Carprofen caplets) is the generic name whereas Rimadyl is the brand name. You may also see the drug referred to as Rimadyl Carprofen or Carprofen Rimadyl. It's essentially all the same thing.

The Controversy Surrounding Rimadyl 

Here's where things get pretty scary. 

There is a fair amount of controversy surrounding Rimadyl. We'll start from the beginning.

Rimadyl was once advertised as a seemingly magical drug. Stories of dogs who couldn't move off of the sofa were now leaping through meadows and catching a frisbee midair.

The commercials and magazine ads had pet owners across the country asking where they could get their hands on the drug in hopes that it would too heal the pain of their aging fur child.

However, all these ads abruptly came to a halt as more and more horrific stories came out about Rimadyl being the reason behind the sudden deaths of several dogs.

From stomach ruptures and internal bleeding to liver cancer to seizures. Pet owners everywhere were correlating their dog's sudden health decline with the fact that they recently started giving their pup Rimadyl for pain and inflammation.

Pet drugs are a massively huge business (an estimated $3 billion worldwide) and Rimadyl is one of the largest sellers.

hundred dollar bills

It has been prescribed to well over 4 million dogs just in the United States alone and even more abroad, bringing Pfizer Inc. tens of millions of dollars in sales.

While many pet owners see positive results from Rimadyl, the controversy really got stirred up not necessarily because of the side effects, but rather because pet owners said they were never warned of the potential adverse reactions.

As you can imagine, this really caused some problems. In fact, pet owners called for its removal from veterinary pharmacies everywhere.

However, this didn't happen...

Typical Uses of Rimadyl for Dogs 

You may be asking yourself, "with all this negative press, why is something like Rimadyl still in existence?!" Trust us, we wondered that ourselves. The truth is Rimadyl works... unless it doesn't.

For many dogs combating horrific pain in their day to day lives, owners will choose Rimadyl because it seems to be the only thing that can Fido feeling like themselves again.

Of course, being in constant pain is no way to live and (rightfully so) dog owners will try just about anything to alleviate their companion's pain. We get it.

But we also want to make sure that owners know the potential damage it can cause as well as know that there may be another option (we'll get to that in a minute).

First, Rimadyl is typically used to treat a few specific ailments. If your pup has these conditions, we want you to know a couple of important pieces of information.

Using Rimadyl for Treatment of Osteoarthritis in Dogs 

Arthritis (osteoarthritis) is a common condition in which a veterinarian will prescribe Rimadyl. Osteoarthritis occurs from the wearing of the cartilage and joints and generally happens as the dog ages. The condition will often cause a dog to be in a substantial deal of pain.

We've noted in previous articles but want to mention again that dogs are notorious for hiding pain. Therefore, if your dog is showing signs of discomfort, it's likely that they are in a great deal of pain and/or their condition has worsened substantially from its initial state.

Common symptoms of osteoarthritis include limping, lameness, and/or stiffness. If your dog is displaying any of these symptoms or if you notice your dog is having trouble getting up and down stairs or doing things like jumping on the couch, you'll want to get a proper diagnosis from your veterinarian in order to get Fido on the road to pain relief.

We want to be clear that Rimadyl is not a cure for osteoarthritis. In some cases, orthopedic surgeries may be necessary in order to alleviate Fido's pain so that it can be more manageable in the future.

Rimadyl for Treating Hip Dysplasia 

Another common condition that your veterinarian may prescribe Rimadyl for is hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia usually occurs when the dog's hip joint doesn't form correctly.

The hip joint grinds rather than glides as the dog moves. Over time, the hip function greatly reduces and can cause the dog to be in a significant amount of pain.

The condition generally affects larger dogs such as Great Danes, Saint Bernards, German Shepherds, and Labrador Retrievers. However, small breed dogs are not completely immune from developing the condition.

A veterinarian may prescribe Rimadyl as a way to ease the pain and discomfort associated with hip dysplasia.

Post-Surgical Pain 

Vets may also prescribe Rimadyl to ease post-surgical pain associated with a range of surgeries or dental procedures. Rimadyl also serves to reduce fevers in dogs.

dog with cast

Dog Rimadyl Dosage 

Rimadyl typically comes in 25 mg, 75 mg or 100 mg as chewable tablets or caplets. Generally, the dosage is 2 mg per pound of the dog's weight.

The medication can be given once a day, as a single dose or twice a day. Again, your veterinarian will decide on the proper daily dose for your dog's needs.

Administering Rimadyl for Dogs 

Your vet will decide the best way to give your pup Rimadyl based on the condition that the medication is aiming to resolve.

There are three ways that Rimadyl can be administered:

  • Rimadyl chewable tablets

  • Rimadyl caplets

  • A Rimadyl injection (can only be administered by a certified veterinarian)

Potential Interactions 

Be sure to ensure your vet knows about any of the following before prescribing Rimadyl:

  • An allergy to aspirin

  • An allergy to any other NSAID

  • A preexisting ulcer or bleeding in the stomach

  • Liver disease

  • Kidney disease

  • Congestive heart failure

  • Fluid retention

  • Bleeding disorders

  • Heart disease

  • High blood pressure

Additionally, pregnant or lactating female dogs should also not take Rimadyl in order to avoid potentially irreversible, adverse reactions.

Carprofen Without Vet Prescription 

Due to the creation of many online sites, pet owners are able to purchase Carprofen (Rimadyl) and other over-the-counter medications without a prescription.

HOWEVER, does this mean that dog owners should buy Carprofen Rimadyl online? NO!

Your vet needs to be the one who gives you accurate information regarding your dog's condition and the appropriate dosage. An NSAID like Carprofen Rimadyl (actually, all NSAIDs) are not something that dog owners should give themselves the freedom to make a guess on.

The adverse side effects of a drug like dog Rimadyl can be horrific. Side effects also include the "D-word" (death), which Pfizer Inc. still has a hard time admitting to.

We understand that ordering medication is often easier and cheaper, but it is definitely not safe or advised.

dog looking at pill

Rimadyl Side Effects 

The side effects of Rimadyl for dogs mimic those of all NSAIDs. Typical side effects of the medication include:

  • A decrease in appetite or a


  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Black, tarry stools

  • Changes in skin

  • Changes in urination habits (urinating more or less often than normal)

Typically within the first couple of hours, your dog will show signs such as diarrhea, vomiting, and ulcers if they are having an adverse reaction to the drug.

Signs of A Rimadyl Overdose 

It is imperative that pet owners make sure to keep the medication away from dogs and children.

The drug, particularly the chewable version, is liver-flavored, which dogs love. If they get their paws on it, an overdose is likely to occur simply because the medication tastes like a treat.

Signs of overdose include:

  • Excessive diarrhea

  • Excessive vomiting

  • Blood in vomit or stools

  • Excessive thirst and urination

  • Lethargy

  • Seizures

  • Abdominal pain

Carprofen Side Effects 

  • Change in appetite (change will often be significantly noticeable)

  • Diarhhea

  • Vomiting

  • Loss of coordination

  • Muscle weakness

  • Paralysis

  • Increased aggression (or other noticeable behavioral changes)

  • A change in your dog’s urine (frequency, color or smell)

  • Skin problems and irritations (redness, scabbing, and/or itching)

  • A yellowing of the skin, gums, and/ or the whites of the eyes

  • Black, tarry stools

  • Blood in vomit

  • Blood in stools

  • Seizures

We just want to reiterate to our readers that Carprofen and Rimadyl are essentially the same. Therefore, the side effects are also the same.

Natural Alternatives to Rimadyl for Dogs 

Luckily, pet owners and dog lovers are presently living in a time where we are able to choose how to medicate our beloved furry companions.

Additionally, we have more than enough devices at the tip of our fingers that allow us to stay informed and research things that we may not know about. 

For instance, if your veterinarian suggests prescribing Rimadyl for Fido, it would take you all of ten seconds with a quick Google search to see that maybe it's not the best choice for your pup. As pet owners, we MUST stay informed.

Why Alternatives? 

We want to stress that this is not to take away from how extremely intelligent veterinarians are. We are so grateful for Western medicine. Without it, who knows where we would be.

With that said, there are certainly instances of over-prescribing certain drugs and we as humans get accustomed to it. Heachache? Pop an Advil. Backache? Pop a Bayer. Sniffles? Better go grab some Day-Quil ASAP. It's easier. We get it.

However, it's not healthy to always go for the easy root when treating an issue (in both humans and dogs). Sure an Advil will relieve your headache, but what was the underlying cause? Dehydration? Stress? A more serious condition? We must begin training ourselves to get to the root of the problem instead of masking it.

This goes for the same with our dogs. Yes, IF Rimadyl works for your pup, it will likely relieve their pain, but only temporary. Where is the underlying issue stemming from? That is what each pet owner must figure out.

Once you do, you can easily work to start solving it at its core. Again, in some cases, Rimadyl is necessary. However, before giving it to your pup, please be sure to understand the risks and what is at stake.

Now, with all that in mind, let's discuss just a few of the many ways we can heal (wo)man's best friend in a natural, non-toxic, effective way.

Natural Anti Inflammatory for Dogs

We are also happy to inform you that there are even more all-natural anti-inflammatory agents that are efficient and safe.

Essentially, by choosing the appropriate supplement, pet owners can get the benefits of an anti-inflammatory medication without the harsh side effects.

The following list are additional supplements that pet owners may want to look into! 

  • Turmeric

  • Licorice Root 

  • Yucca Root 

  • Enchinacea

  • Ginger 

  • Comfrey


Rimadyl: The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, we know how much your dog means to you because as pet owners, our dogs are the world to us.

Therefore, we know how scary it can be when your four-legged companion gets sick. Where do you turn? Who do you listen to?

One of the best pieces of advice that we can give it to do your research and whenever possible, stick with the all natural option. Believe us when we say that Fido will thank you for it.

We hope your pup feels better soon!