Controlling your dog’s pain is essential to his/her overall well-being. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are a class of drugs commonly used to control pain and inflammation in dogs and people. NSAIDs help many dogs lead more comfortable lives.

What are NSAIDs?

NSAIDs help to control signs of arthritis and pain, including inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and joint pain. Inflammation—the body’s response to irritation or injury—is characterized by redness, warmth, swelling, and pain. NSAIDs work by blocking the production of prostaglandins, chemicals produced by the body that cause inflammation. Some NSAIDs may also be used to control the pain and inflammation following surgery.

Your veterinarian may prescribe an NSAID to treat the pain of arthritis in your dog or to control pain.

Veterinary NSAIDs approved for use in dogs:
ETOGESIC (etodolac)
RIMADYL (carprofen)
METACAM (meloxicam)
DERAMAXX (deracoxib)
PREVICOX (firocoxib)
bullet ZUBRIN (tepoxalin)
NOVOX (carprofen)

What should you discuss with your veterinarian?

NSAIDs offer pain relief and improved quality of life to many dogs. However, before giving an NSAID, or any drug, you should first talk to your veterinarian. You should discuss:
what the NSAID is being prescribed for
how much to give
how long to give it
possible side effects
what to avoid while your dog is taking an NSAID
what tests are needed before giving an NSAID to your dog
how often should your dog be re-examined
your dog’s previous medical history and any previous drug reactions
all medications and products your dog currently receives

What should you know before giving your dog an NSAID?
Never give aspirin or corticosteroids (i.e. prednisone) along with an NSAID to your dog.
Monitoring Bloodwork on a routine basis is very important on these medications.
NSAIDs should be approached cautiously in dogs with serious kidney, liver, heart and intestinal problems.
Never give your dog an NSAID unless directed by your veterinarian.
Don’t assume an NSAID for one dog is safe to give to another dog. Always consult your veterinarian before using any medication in your pet.
Only give the NSAID as prescribed by your veterinarian. Do not increase the dose, the frequency, or the length of time you use the drug unless first discussing this with your veterinarian.

What Side Effects should you watch for?

Most NSAID-side effects are mild, but some can be serious. Common side effects seen with the use of NSAIDs in dogs may affect the kidneys, liver, and gastrointestinal tract and may include:
Not eating or eating less
Lethargy, depression, changes in behavior
Vomiting
Diarrhea, black tarry-colored stool
Yellowing of gums, skin, or the whites of the eyes
Change in drinking
Changes in skin (scabs, redness, or scratching)

When giving NSAID, Remember these Signs:
Behavior Changes
Eating Less
Skin Redness, Scabs
Tarry Stool / Diarrhea / Vomiting

What to do?

If you suspect a possible side effect to an NSAID, STOP giving the drug to your dog and call your veterinarian immediately.