Meloxicam in Dogs in Dogs

Written By hannah hollinger
Published: 03/18/2024Updated: 03/18/2024
Meloxicam for Dogs | Wag!

Meloxicam is a type of NSAID – a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug – that can be used to treat joint pain and inflammation in dogs. Your vet may recommend Meloxicam to help your dog with a specific injury, or a long-term condition such as osteoarthritis. But what does it do, how can it help and how safe is it?

Read our quick guide to Meloxicam to learn:

  • What is Meloxicam?
  • How can Meloxicam help my dog?
  • How to give Meloxicam to your dog
  • Potential side effects of Meloxicam to be aware of

If your dog needs Meloxicam to help treat arthritis and other painful issues, can you claim the costs via your pet insurance? It’s worth checking, especially as your dog gets older. Compare plans from leading pet insurance providers here.

What is Meloxicam?

Meloxicam is a member of the NSAID family (Advil and Aspirin are other common examples) and is used to treat inflammation and mild to moderate pain in dogs and other mammals. It was created to help treat humans but is used widely as a prescription medicine for dogs and cats. It’s most commonly used to help manage the pain, stiffness and immobility caused by arthritis.

Meloxicam is also an anti-pyretic, which means that it has fever reducing properties.

How can Meloxicam help my dog?

Just as in humans, arthritis is a condition that can cause dogs pain, swelling and stiffness in their joints. There are several potential causes; sometimes arthritis may result from an old injury or the joint may simply have become damaged through wear and tear due to old age.

In fact, many older dogs suffer from arthritis and vets consider all dogs over the age of seven to be at risk of developing arthritis. In dogs, the most commonly affected joints are the knees, elbows, hips and backbone.

Giving Meloxicam to dogs can ease the pain and discomfort caused by arthritis. The medication works by blocking the inflammation pathway in the body and therefore relieving pain.

Meloxicam is known by a range of different names, including but not limited to:

  • Metacam
  • Loxicom
  • OroCam
  • Rheumocam
  • Meloxidyl

How effective is Meloxicam for dogs?

There has been plenty of significant research into the efficacy and safety of using meloxicam for dogs, as well as humans. The results of several clinical studies have been successful.

One five-week clinical study of meloxicam in dogs with chronic 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 compared Meloxicam with an alternative medication – Robenacoxib – and found that both drugs were equally safe and effective for managing post-operative pain.

Meanwhile, 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 only two days of treatment.

Dosage and Administration of Meloxicam for Dogs

Meloxicam is available in several different forms, including flavored tablets, pills, oral sprays and liquid suspensions. It’s also available as an injection, though your vet will administer this form – you won’t be expected to do that yourself. A vet will usually advise that you give Meloxicam to your dog with food, which reduces the risk of vomiting or a stomach upset as a side effect.

How much Meloxicam can I give my dog?

Meloxicam dosage for dogs varies and will be determined by your vet. Age and weight are taken into consideration, as is medical history and whether your dog is taking any other medication at the same time. It’s vital that your vet is aware of your dog’s medical history and if they are currently taking any other medications - whether they are prescribed or over the counter – to make sure that Meloxicam will not react negatively with them.

Meloxicam should not be given to dogs who:

  • Have sensitivity to any previous use of Meloxicam
  • Suffer from kidney disease
  • Have liver disease
  • Have a history of bleeding disorders
  • Are pregnant or are lactating

A typical meloxicam dose for pain management is between 0.09 and 0.1 mg per kg of body weight, and some vets prefer to prescribe a ‘step down’ regimen, directing pet owners to give 0.09 mg per lb the first day of treatment, and 0.045 mg per lb after that.

Research has shown that high doses of meloxicam work better for pain management but are also more likely to cause stomach upset in dogs.

Meloxicam tends to take effect quickly, normally 1 to 2 hours after administration. It’s important to give the medication at the same each day and to not skip doses in order for it to be most effective. If you miss a dose, it’s fine to give it to your dog as soon as you realize – but if it’s close to the next scheduled dose, just leave it. Don’t – and this is important – double up the dose.

How much does Meloxicam cost?

The cost of Meloxicam can vary depending on where it is purchased from. As a general guide, if you’re buying Meloxicam in tablet form you can expect to pay approximately $0.50 per tablet. The suspension version is usually more expensive, costing around $90-100 per bottle.

Meloxicam side effects for dogs

While Meloxicam is considered generally safe for dogs, as with most medications, it can cause side effects for dogs. Meloxicam side effects for dogs can include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Bloody stools
  • Increased urination or thirst
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Pale or yellow gums
  • Itchiness
  • Changes in behavior

If your dog experiences side effects after taking Meloxicam that appear serious or are causing you concern, don’t hesitate to contact your vet as a matter of urgency. In particular, you should seek medical help right away if you notice your pet has any of the following side effects:

  • Yellowing of the eyes, gums, abdomen or ear flaps
  • Changes in the color, frequency, or smell of your dog’s urine while taking meloxicam

Other safety considerations with meloxicam for dogs

Many other drugs interact with NSAIDs, so you should use them with caution in dogs who take medicine for pre-existing conditions – especially dogs with heart issues. Potential drugs 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

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.

Meloxicam FAQs

Our guide should have given you an introduction to Meloxicam for dogs, but it’s likely that you’ll have specific questions around the medicine and administering it to your dog. Always ask your vet’s advice if there’s anything you’re unsure of, but common questions you may have include:

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 pet parents prefer the chewable tablets over pills and sprays since they're flavored, and most pets take them easily.

What are the signs of an overdose of Meloxicam?

Symptoms of a meloxicam overdose in a dog can 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?

No – you should never give Meloxicam in combination with other NSAIDs like carprofen (Rimadyl).

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

In addition to administering Meloxicam, you can try hot compresses, warm baths, massages, and glucosamine chondroitin supplements to ease your dog's symptoms.

Keeping your dog to a healthy weight can help to avoid extra strain on their joints – if your dog is a little overweight, try switching to a specialist food. Our partner, Dog Food Advisor, has recommendations for the best dog food for weight loss.

Regular, gentle exercise can prevent your dog’s joints from stiffening up so they can remain active, while hydrotherapy (which involves your dog swimming in a purpose-built pool) helps to build muscle mass to better support joints.

Your vet may also suggest that you give your dog a joint health supplement, such as Seraquin. This is a nutritional supplement containing glucosamine, chondroitin and curcumin; all of which help support the normal function of your dog’s joints.

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?

Yes – 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 upsets or other gastrointestinal issues.

Dogs can have many health issues during their lifespan – and it’s the responsibility of any pet parent to make sure he or she gets the treatment they deserve, to live happy and healthy lives.

A wellness planis a great way of taking care of routine vet bills and appointments and works in combination with your pet insurance. Compare leading pet insurance plans in seconds here.

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