Rimadyl for Dogs – What You Need to Know?

Pet Type


June 3, 2021

Osteoarthritis is a very common problem that occurs in dogs. It’s most common in larger dog breeds and usually occurs in senior animals. As your dog ages, it becomes more and more prone to OA, and the worst part is that it is a progressive condition.

However, by identifying the problem in its early stages, pet parents can manage the problem in a much better manner. This can also improve the dog’s quality of life and also keep it quite active. Rimadyl is one of the many medicines used for treating this condition.

Understanding OA

Osteoarthritis is commonly known as Degenerative Joint Disease. It is a progressive condition that worsens over time. OA causes inflammation around the joints, caused primarily due to the gradual destruction of cartilage. When the joints are healthy, the cartilage serves as a cushioning, allowing the joints to move as smoothly as possible.

This allows the joints to move smoothly, allowing for full range of motion in the joints. However, when OA arises, the cartilage cushion starts breaking down due to several factors. The most common factors that cause destruction of the cartilage are repetitive stress, excessive injuries, age, and disease.

As the cushioning around the joint starts to wear off, it leads to significantly less range of motion, and also results in inflammation and pain. In some cases, it can cause bone spurs to develop as well. Even though OA can develop in any joint in the body, it’s most commonly found in the lower spine and also impacts the limbs.

Risk Factors

While Rimadyl for dogs is an effective and popular treatment for relieving the pain, it’s also important to understand different risk factors that could increase the chances of developing OA. Here are some of the common risk factors that could increase the chances of developing OA.

Larger Breeds

The most common risk factor associated with the development of OA is the size of the dog. Larger breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherd dogs are all at risk of developing OA. They move around a lot and are at a much greater risk of developing OA.


Obesity puts undue stress on the dog’s joints, and this could lead to the development of OA. The rate at which the cartilage is destroyed increases, so the dog is at a much greater risk of developing OA.

Excessive Stress

Undue stress on the joints, caused mainly due to excessive activity such as diving, agile movements, and flyball tend to increase the rate at which the cartilage is destroyed. This increases the rate at which OA onsets.

Poor Nutrition

Dogs need a proper diet to maintain their muscles, including their cartilage. If the dog doesn’t get proper nutrition, their cartilage is likely to sustain more and more damage. This could eventually lead to OA.

What Is Rimadyl?

Rimadyl is one of the most commonly used brand names for the vet drug also known as carprofen. Carprofen belongs to a category of drugs that are known commonly as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs reduce inflammation, making them an effective treatment for dealing with OA.

More importantly, Rimadyl doesn’t cause as many side effects as other steroids (because it’s nonsteroidal). This makes them a more suitable choice than steroids.

Carprofen is a much better choice for dogs as compared to other NSAIDs such as aspirin, naproxen, or ibuprofen. That is one of the main reasons why it is widely prescribed as a painkiller for dogs. It’s also important to note that you should never treat your dog using medication that’s designed for humans.

Many of the human medications can cause serious conditions in dogs. Rimadyl is generally available in three different types. It’s available as an injection, as a chewable tablet, and as a caplet. Before you decide to give Rimadyl to your dog, you need to consult with your vet and figure out the best method.

Reasons for Prescribing Rimadyl

If you have confusion about why your vet has prescribed Rimadyl, it might be a wise idea to call them and ask for an explanation. However, Rimadyl is generally prescribed for two main reasons for dogs. The first reason is because Rimadyl helps in treating pain. It is used as a part of a pain management strategy devised by vets for relieving OA.

The second reason is because Rimadyl helps after an operation. It is commonly prescribed as a post-operative medicine for treating inflammation and pain in animals after they have gone through a surgery. Rimadyl helps in reducing fever and pain as well. Simultaneously, it also helps in treating inflammation to a significant degree.

Vets usually prescribe Rimadyl for an interim period because of relieving the same symptoms. It brings down inflammation caused after an operation, and also helps in managing excessive pain. This helps the dog remain more comfortable over a longer period of time.

Limited Side Effects

While the side effects of Rimadyl are less than other steroids, they still exist. In some cases, Rimadyl could cause serious side effects, especially if used in the long-term. The gastrointestinal tract is the most commonly affected part of the body due to Rimadyl.

Complications caused due to an infection or complication in the GI tract include vomiting, diarrhea, and ulcers. Other side effects, though rare, could impact the liver or the kidney. However, in case they do occur, they could be quite serious. Most vets recommend proactive blood work and testing to determine the problem.

There are some common symptoms that indicate that your dog is having a negative reaction to Rimadyl. If you notice a sudden change in your dog’s appetite, or the animal starts vomiting or having diarrhea, it could be an indication that the dog is suffering.

Tips for Giving Rimadyl

If your dog is suffering from OA, it should be a wise idea to visit a vet first. The vet is going to first run detailed tests and exams to determine whether Rimadyl is a suitable treatment, and then prescribe the appropriate method and times for the treatment.

Make sure you stick to the routine and give the medicine as directed. These are just a few things that you should know about giving Rimadyl to your dog and why it’s such a commonly prescribed drug for dogs. Just don’t give it on your own.