Rimadyl for Dogs

Written By Grace Park
Published: 12/28/2020Updated: 12/28/2020
Rimadyl for Dogs | Wag!

Rimadyl is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is very helpful for pain and fever relief, and for inflammation in canines suffering from osteoarthritis (OA). Rimadyl is also used to control pain during and after surgeries such as spaying or ear procedures.

OA affects dogs, both young and old. 25% of the canine population has osteoarthritis. The pain can bring a lot of discomforts, and that is why NSAIDs are highly recommended. Rimadyl is FDA-approved for dogs as young as 6 weeks old. Read below for helpful information on the efficacy, side effects, and considerations for Rimadyl.


Rimadyl (carprofen) comes in both an injectable medication and caplets or chewable tablets. Your veterinarian will give you specific dosage information based on your dog’s condition.

Standard dosages are as follows:

  • Oral administration: 2mg/lb (4.4mg/kg) of body weight, given once daily as 2mg, or twice daily as 1mg
  • Caplets or tablets contain 25mg, 75 mg, or 100mg of carprofen per caplet or tablet
  • Subcutaneous administration: 2mg/lb (4.4mg/kg) of body weight, given once daily as 2mg, or twice daily as 1mg
  • The subcutaneously injectable medication is supplied in 20-ml glass, multidose vials

Dosage Instructions

The majority of dogs will readily accept the caplets or tablets by mouth. They can be given with or without food. Ensure that your dog takes the entire dose as prescribed by your veterinarian, which is often once or twice daily. 

Theinstructions for the injectable medication will be detailed to you by your veterinarian. 


Dogs given Rimadyl will have an increase in mobility. The pain will be lessened, as will inflammation. Results vary from dog to dog, within a few days of treatment, improvement will be seen.

Dogs given Rimadyl typically experience a positive result in relation to pain relief. A study of 110 dogs showed effects from the treatment increased from 12% on Day 5 to 74% on Day 120. 

Another study, recognizing the long-term benefits and the safety of carprofen, stated that there was progressive clinical improvement in dogs with long-term use. It was also noted that osteoarthritis disease progression was reduced with a direct impact on subchondral bone structure and cartilage.

Side Effects of Rimadyl

Although side effects with the liver and kidneys are rare, your veterinarian will most likely want to monitor your dog by regularly testing the blood. Side effects seen with Rimadyl for dogs are typically GI-related:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Ulcers

Adverse reactions are rare. However, watch for these symptoms, along with vomiting and diarrhea:

  • Black or tarry stool
  • Changes in drinking habits
  • Changes in behavior
  • Changes in urine (smell, color, frequency)
  • Change in appetite
  • Yellow gums, eyes, or skin
  • Red or itchy skin
  • Seizure


If you give your dog supplements, vitamins, or holistic therapy, be sure to let your veterinarian know when you discuss Rimadyl for dogs as treatment for OA>

Drug interactions

Carprofen, the ingredient in Rimadyl, should not be used in conjunction with certain medications.

  • Corticosteroid Hormones: A 7-day rest is advised between the use of carprofen and drugs like prednisone and dexamethasone
  • Aspirin: When changing from carprofen to aspirin, allow a 14-day break
  • Phenobarbital: When combined with carprofen, the liver must be monitored
  • Ace Inhibitors: Drugs such as benazepril and enalapril may not be as effective when used alongside carprofen

Allergic reactions and sensitivity

Because carprofen is highly palatable, it is important to keep the medication out of the reach of children and pets.

Dogs with pre-existing kidney or liver disease should not be given Rimadyl. Dogs with pre-existing gastrointestinal ulcers should not be prescribed Rimadyl. Discuss any concerns with your vet as together, you work toward a successful treatment plan.

Rimadyl has not been tested in pregnant or nursing dogs.

Frequently asked questions

What is osteoarthritis?

A dog diagnosed with osteoarthritis will most often display symptoms of lameness and limping, along with stiffness of movement. Canines may have trouble standing, jumping, and climbing stairs. The energy level will be lower and dogs may exhibit sadness. OA occurs when the cartilage of joints suffers more wear and tear than is normal.

Can osteoarthritis be cured?

No, OA cannot be cured. However, the pain from this progressive disease can be lessened with Rimadyl. Rimadyl for dogs is an important part of an overall treatment plan consisting of weight control, light exercise, and monitoring.

Who shouldn’t take Rimadyl for OA?

Dogs who have had an allergic reaction to any NSAID or aspirin should not take Rimadyl. Cats cannot take Rimadyl. Ensure that Rimadyl is not within reach of dogs, cats, or children.

Do I need a prescription for Rimadyl?

Yes, your vet will prescribe the proper dosage for your dog and address any concerns you may have.

Can Rimadyl be used long-term for osteoarthritis?

Continuous improvement is seen in dogs who are on a long-term treatment plan. Discuss the suitability of Rimadyl for dogs as part of the osteoarthritis treatment plan.

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