Meloxicam for Dogs | Wag!
Meloxicam for Dogs | Wag!
Meloxicam is a member of the NSAID family, like Advil and aspirin. NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are medications used to treat inflammation, fever, and mild to moderate pain in mammals. Though created for humans, meloxicam is frequently prescribed for canines and felines. The most common use of meloxicam for dogs is the treatment and management of osteoarthritis.


Meloxicam is marketed under different brand names in several forms, including liquid suspensions, oral sprays, pills, and flavored tablets. Meloxicam also comes as an injectable solution; however, only vets can administer it. A typical meloxicam dose for pain management is between 0.09 and 0.1 mg per kg of body weight.

Some vets prefer to prescribe a "step down" regimen, directing pet owners to give 0.09 mg per lb the first day, and 0.045 mg per lb after that. Research shows that high doses of meloxicam work better for pain management but are also more likely to cause stomach upset in canines.

 Talk to your vet about the appropriate dosage for your pet before administering meloxicam.


The cost of meloxicam for dogs depends on the form and dosage. Liquid forms of meloxicam cost $20 to $30. Generic pill forms of meloxicam cost as little as 10¢ per tablet on average.


A lot of research has been done on the safety and efficacy in both dogs and humans. One 5-week clinical study of meloxicam in canines with osteoarthritis found meloxicam increased mobility and reduced pain, stiffness, and swelling in 40 canines studied. Clinical researchers noted some of the dogs studied had minimal side effects, which subsided after treatment.

Another randomized clinical trial comparing meloxicam and robenacoxib found both drugs were equally safe and effective for managing post-operative pain.

A double-blind study of analgesics in dogs with self-inflicted skin injuries found that meloxicam reduced pain in nearly a third of the study group after two days of treatment.

Side effects

Side effects of meloxicam for dogs are typically mild and include:

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhea 

  • Poor appetite

  • Stomach ulcers

  • Weight loss

  • Behavioral changes

Seek medical attention right away if you notice your pet has any of the following serious side effects:

  • Yellowing of the eyes, gums, abdomen or ear flaps 

  • Changes in the color, frequency, or smell of your pet's urine while on meloxicam


Dogs with low platelet counts and clotting disorders shouldn't take meloxicam since it's unclear how it affects these conditions. This medication is not approved for the treatment of pregnant or nursing dogs. 

This medication can cause serious side effects in dogs with impaired kidney, liver, or cardiovascular function. Do not administer this medication if you suspect your dog is dehydrated or has recently taken diuretics.

Never give meloxicam to dogs with a history of allergic reactions to NSAIDs like Rimadyl, ibuprofen, Deramaxx, or Previcox. 

Drug interactions

Many drugs interact with NSAIDs, so use them with caution in dogs who take medicine for pre-existing conditions, particularly dogs with heart problems. Potential drug interactions include:

  • ACE inhibitors

  • Losartan

  • Valsartan

  • Cidofovir

  • Lithium

  • Diuretics

  • High doses of methotrexate

  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers

  • Aliskiren

  • Fish oil

  • Prednisone

  • Warfarin

  • Ketorolac

  • Flexeril 

  • Some dietary supplements 

  • NSAIDs

Allergic reactions and sensitivity

Rarely, dogs can develop a severe reaction to meloxicam and NSAIDs like it. Seek immediate veterinary attention if your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms:

  • Trouble breathing

  • Hives

  • Itching

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, or extremities

Frequently asked questions

Do you have to have a prescription for meloxicam for dogs?

Unlike other conventional NSAIDs, meloxicam is only available by prescription. 

What's the best form of meloxicam for my dogs?

Many pets parents prefer the chewable tablets over pills and sprays since they're flavored, and most pets take them without much persuasion. 

What are the signs of an overdose of meloxicam?

Symptoms of a meloxicam overdose include:

  • Seizures

  • Gagging or vomiting

  • Collapse

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Cardiac arrest

  • Shallow breathing

  • Panting uncontrollably

  • Black stools

  • Excessive thirst

  • Urinating more frequently

Can I give meloxicam for dogs who already take carprofen for joint pain?

Never give meloxicam in combination with other NSAIDs like carprofen (Rimadyl).

Besides meloxicam, how else can I help my dog's arthritis?

Try hot compresses, warm baths, massages, and glucosamine chondroitin supplements to ease your dog's symptoms if meloxicam isn't enough. 

How should I administer liquid meloxicam to my dog?

Liquid meloxicam can be tricky to dose. Most vets recommend pet parents mix this medication into kibble or wet food rather than giving it to them directly. Administering meloxicam this way can prevent overdose in small breeds. 

Is meloxicam safe for long-term use in dogs?

Studies show meloxicam is safe for both short term and long-term use in dogs. 

How should I store meloxicam? 

Keep meloxicam at room temperature. Temperatures below 59 F and above 86 F can cause meloxicam to lose effectiveness.  

Do I need to give meloxicam with food?

Not necessarily, however, most vets recommend giving meloxicam with a meal for dogs who are prone to stomach upset or other gastrointestinal issues. 

Meloxicam Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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