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Health & Wellness

Can I give my dog meloxicam?

It’s up to your vet

When your dog appears to be in pain (whether they’re developing arthritis or got hurt while running around the yard), you immediately want to ease their discomfort. But, if you're unable to see your veterinarian right away, you’ll be pleased to know that some anti-inflammatory pain medications for humans are also safe for dogs. 

If you already have meloxicam — a common anti-inflammatory painkiller for people — in your medicine cabinet, it may be able to help your dog feel better. Here’s how to know if it’s a safe option for your pup.

Can I give my dog meloxicam for humans?

Yes, technically, you can give your dog meloxicam, but it's a strong painkiller and should only be given with your veterinarian's approval. 

"The best way to know if a drug is appropriate for your dog is to consult your veterinarian. Even though some medications may seem safe to give to your dog, it's important to check with your veterinarian because what may be safe for one dog may not be safe for another," Dr. Antje Joslin, DVM, a veterinarian for Dogtopia, says. 

"Many factors are considered when medications are given to pets, such as size, body condition, breed, age and underlying medical conditions. Certain breeds are very sensitive to certain medications," he adds.

For these reasons, a quick call or email to your vet before giving your dog any medication, including meloxicam, is important and can save your pet from experiencing potential side effects or problems. 

How can meloxicam help dogs?

Meloxicam is an anti-inflammatory medicine that’s given as a prescription to people (and sometimes pets). You can’t buy it over-the-counter because it’s considered a stronger pain medicine than other NSAIDs (non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs). So, if you happen to have some on hand, it had to have been prescribed to you by a doctor. 

Just as in humans, when you give dogs meloxicam (with your vet’s guidance), it’s to help relieve inflammation and reduce pain.

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When to give your dog meloxicam

“Many diseases or injuries can cause acute or chronic pain in your dog. Some signs that your dog is in pain may include decreased energy, decreased appetite, difficulty eating, restlessness, head tilt, limping, chewing, licking, pawing at a specific body part or a change in the way they move or hold their body,” Dr. Joslin says. Additionally, shaking, trembling, panting or whining can be clues as well.  

Even if you didn’t witness an injury, if you notice your dog displaying these symptoms or otherwise appearing uncomfortable, it’s always worth giving your vet a call. “Any time a dog is experiencing extreme pain or any mild pain that’s not improving in 24 to 48 hours, they should be seen by a veterinarian,” Dr. Joslin says. 

Of course, your vet might not be able to see your pet immediately. If you can’t get in for a same-day appointment and you don’t think you need to make a trip to an emergency vet clinic, you might want to check your medicine cabinet to see if there are any dog-friendly pain meds your vet can provide guidance on using. If you have meloxicam, you can certainly ask your vet if there’s a dosage you can give your dog that would be safe until you get your dog in for an appointment. 

Meloxicam dosage for dogs

The amount of meloxicam you can give your dog depends on several factors, primarily the size and weight of your dog. Meloxicam is a strong drug and can have serious side effects. 

“Meloxicam is an NSAID that can be used to help dogs. It’s generally safe when used appropriately and as directed by your veterinarian,” Dr. Joslin says. “NSAIDs should only be given to dogs with the supervision of a veterinarian. If not used appropriately, meloxicam can cause serious side effects, including vomiting, diarrhea and serious gastrointestinal bleeding.” 

The dosage of meloxicam you can give a dog varies from dog to dog based on weight, breed and specific pre-existing conditions. Rather than assuming you have the right dosage, call or email your vet and ask for the dosage that’s appropriate for your pet. Your vet knows your dog and will be able to provide guidance on appropriately using meloxicam for pain relief or can help guide you to another option that’s safe for your pet.

Photo by Ethan Hu on Unsplash

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