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Health & Wellness

Is carprofen safe for dogs?

It could help with your pet’s arthritis.

Does your dog struggle with body pain? Maybe they’ve been diagnosed with arthritis? Carprofen, a type of anti-inflammatory medication available for dogs, could help them get back on their paws.

We spoke to Dr. Ryan Fortier, a veterinarian and medical director at All Ears Veterinary, to learn more about using carprofen for dogs including tips on dosage, side effects and more. 

What is carprofen?

Carprofen is a type of NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) medication used to treat pain and reduce inflammation in a dog’s body. It’s most commonly recommended for dogs with arthritis. Despite their ability to reduce pain and inflammation, NSAIDS aren’t steroids.

“Steroids can have many side effects on the entire body, which is why NSAIDs are preferred for arthritis,” Dr. Fortier says.

Carprofen dosage for dogs 

Dr. Fortier notes that a standard carprofen dose is 1 milligram per pound every 12 hours or 2 milligrams per pound every 24 hours. But, every dog has different needs, which is why you should always ask your vet about the right dosage for your pet before giving them medication.

“Either dose is reasonable, although some specialists say the twice-daily dose provides superior pain control,” Dr. Fortier says.

RELATED: What can I give my dog for pain?

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Is carprofen safe for my dog?

Carprofen is generally safe for dogs to use. But, Dr. Fortier explains that carprofen, like all NSAIDs, has a chance of causing liver and kidney issues

“This is why bloodwork is often run prior to prescribing this medication in middle-aged and older dogs,” Dr. Fortier says. “For pets who receive this medication long-term, blood work should be checked 2-4 weeks after starting the medication and then at least once yearly.”

Fortier suggests you should consult a veterinarian before giving carprofen or any other NSAID to your dog, as animals are generally more prone to NSAID liver and kidney side effects than people are.

“Common human NSAIDs and aspirin can have significant side effects in dogs. However, a pet must always be examined first to ensure there are no other health issues before prescribing medication,” Dr. Fortier concludes.

Carprofen side effects in dogs 

What are some side effects carprofen can have on dogs? The most common side effects to expect are largely gastrointestinal, Dr. Fortier says. Vomiting, diarrhea, and reduced appetite are fairly common, with more serious issues such as ulcers that happen as well. Some fatigue or sleepiness may also occur with administration. Dr. Fortier advises giving the medication with a full meal to help reduce these side effects.

If you notice your dog has lost a spring in their step, carprofen may help reduce inflammation, especially in dogs with arthritis. However you should always consult a veterinarian before giving carprofen to your dogs to minimize any potential negative side effects. 

The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.

Photo by sarandy westfall on Unsplash

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