Carprofen for Dogs



Has your dog recently gone through a surgery that they're recovering from? Maybe they're elderly and suffer from joint discomfort? If so, there's a good chance that they might have been prescribed carprofen for dogs, which is a well-known non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).


Though veterinary medical advancements are generally parallel to those in human medicine, we know pet owners are often very skeptical of giving their canines prescription drugs. Many can be dangerous and are often accompanied by adverse effects, so it's especially important to read up on prescriptions before any drug administration occurs.


We want to help you provide the absolute best for your pup, so we've compiled some need-to-know to help you learn more about carprofen. Let's jump in!



What Is Carprofen For Dogs?

Unlike other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, carprofen is specifically used for dogs and can sometimes assist in relieving pain, discomfort, and inflammation. It's commonly prescribed to dogs who have postoperative pain or discomfort and who may need special care or treatment as a result.



dog getting medicine from vet



Basic Facts

  • Proper Name: Rimadyl.
  • Generic Name: Carprofen.
  • Optimal Storage Temperature: Between 59-86°F, or as recommended on the bottle's label.


General FAQ

  • When was carprofen first approved for market sale? Carprofen was first approved for use in dogs in 1996. It was originally targeted toward humans, but its manufacturers found a better market for it with canines.
  • What physical form does it come in? It is mainly used in tablet form, though other forms (capsules, injectable liquid) are produced.
  • Can it be purchased over the counter? Generally, a prescription is required for carprofen purchase. While it is sold online, it's not recommended that you administer carprofen to your dog without first receiving a prescription or professional medical advice.



Carprofen is given through oral administration. Dogs should only take it by mouth and per their veterinarian's instructions. While canines can take it without food, it's usually recommended that carprofen not be administered on an empty stomach to avoid potential stomach upset.


Treats are helpful in hiding tablets so that they're easier to administer. Alternatively, you can also try hiding tablets in your dog's breakfast or dinner.


Additional Warnings

It's important to note that carprofen should only be used for dogs and should not be used by humans, cats, or other animals, as it can cause adverse reactions.


Be sure to always keep carprofen out of reach of children. If accidentally ingested, contact your local Poison Control Center or a physician immediately.




How much carprofen you administer to your canine is based on their size. Generally, the recommended dosage is about 2 mg/lb of your dog's body weight daily, but only on an as-needed basis.


You can also divide this dose in half to split throughout the day — for example, if your dog weighs 25lbs, that would mean that their total dose for one day would be 50mg. Instead of giving them the full 50mg at once, you could also give them 25mg in the morning and 25mg again at night.


If you're unsure about the correct dosage to give your pet, give your veterinarian a call first. NSAID therapy is not recommended for every dog, so if you have any questions about dosing, checking in with a healthcare professional is usually the best way to go.





Regular Dosing Schedule

It is possible to overdose on carprofen, and because of this, you must keep your dog on a regular dosing schedule.


Take care that you only give them the recommended amount for their size, and never more in a single day. Your dog should never ingest more than one dose within a 24 hour period. If you forget to give your dog a dose, it's better to skip it and begin again the next day.


If you believe your pet may have overdosed on carprofen, contact a veterinary professional or bring them to an emergency facility for immediate care.



Side Effects of Carprofen For Dogs

Many side effects can accompany carprofen usage, and these can range from mild to severe. Unfavorable but less adverse side effects may include:


  • Changes in appetite.
  • Queasiness and vomiting, and other gastrointestinal effects.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Anemia, which can cause pale gums in dogs.
  • Tiredness.
  • Behavioral changes or neurological symptoms, including incoordination, uneasiness, drinking more water, and peeing more frequently.


Risk Factors

Dog carprofen — and generally speaking, many other NSAIDs — can cause very serious reactions, particularly in older dogs or those with pre-existing conditions.


You must reach out to your veterinarian before administering carprofen to your dog, especially if they have a pre-existing disease. Canines with bleeding disorders should not take carprofen, and neither should those with kidney disease, liver disease, or another clinically significant disease.


Also, bear in mind that if your furry companion is already on medications, carprofen may not be right for them either. Drug interactions can be volatile and risky, but we'll get into this later in the Interaction With Other Drugs section.


Serious Adverse Reactions

Aside from more common side effects, carprofen may cause more severe adverse reactions, especially in older dogs or those with pre existing diseases.


These reactions can include:


  • Renal complications or kidney disease.
  • Gastrointestinal issues, including:
  • Black or bloody stools, or severe diarrhea.
  • Severe vomiting or bloody vomit.
  • Liver issues, including:
  • Jaundice, which can cause yellowing in both the skin and eye whites.
  • Lasting lack of appetite.


If your dog has experienced any of these symptoms in conjunction with taking carprofen, contact your veterinarian immediately.


Allergic Reaction

Though these cases are rarer, carprofen can also cause serious allergic reactions for dogs, including skin reactions (like redness or hives), facial swelling, or worse.


If you believe your pet is exhibiting any apparent clinical signs of an allergic reaction, discontinue use and seek appropriate medical care as soon as possible.




Related: Benadryl For Dogs: Side Effects, Dosage & Alternatives



Cost Of Carprofen

As of November 2021, carprofen commonly sells for approximately $0.37 per 25mg tablet, $0.92 per 50mg tablet, or $1.13 per 100mg tablet.


The cost of carprofen can vary depending on what mg amount your dog needs, how many pills you're purchasing, and whether or not you're buying a generic brand or from a brand name, like Rimadyl.



Interaction With Other Drugs

As with any drug, carprofen may function differently than intended if combined with other drugs. Do not combine carprofen with other medications or NSAIDs like acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen unless specifically recommended by a trained and licensed veterinarian. You should also not substitute carprofen for any medication if not told to do so by a health expert.


Drug interactions are generally dangerous and can disrupt normal homeostatic function, which is the ideal healthy state of stability that one's body should have. If you don't know exactly how medications work on a chemical level and aren't a licensed professional yourself, you shouldn't experiment — this goes for dogs, other pets, and humans alike.


Carprofen Can Affect Lab Tests

If your pet needs any lab work completed, it's important to know that carprofen may affect lab results. It can influence and skew liver enzymes, blood cell counts, kidney values, and more.


This can lead to misdiagnoses and inaccurate adjusting of any medications, supplements, or prescriptions. Be sure to communicate with your vet about your dog's carprofen dosage before any tests so that you can avoid any confusion and prevent any accidental procedures from occurring.



owner giving dog pill



Ingredients In Carprofen

Carprofen is similar to ibuprofen in chemical structure and class, with its only active ingredient being carprofen. It mostly consists of inactive ingredients, which hold the tablet itself together. One 100mg tablet includes ingredients like:


  • Carprofen
  • Microcrystalline cellulose
  • Croscarmellose sodium
  • FD&C Yellow (#6 sunset yellow), for coloring purposes
  • Artificial beef flavoring
  • Purified stearic acid
  • Magnesium stearate



Carprofen Alternatives

For its price and overall effectiveness, carprofen has a serious list of adverse effects and warnings. Aside from other NSAIDs that your vet may recommend, there are natural alternatives to carprofen if you'd prefer to completely avoid giving your dog an anti-inflammatory drug or other prescription.


Though these alternatives are generally all well-tolerated and have minor side effects, we still recommend giving your vet a call first, so you can best determine what's right for your four-legged companion.



CBD oil for pets can provide a calming boost to your furry friend's overall wellbeing, and you don't need a vet's prescription to try it out! Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally-occurring compound found in the hemp plant — it can assist with discomfort relief and has minor side effects compared to carprofen.


Here at Pet Hemp Company, we formulate our CBD Oil for Dogs & Cats with all your pets' ailments in mind. Our tincture consists of CBD extract and hemp seed oil, which only adds more benefits for canines (and kitties, too!). Research has shown that hemp seed oil can improve skin, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, provide pain relief, and more.


CBD oil is also generally well-tolerated by pets, and our formula is gluten and dairy-free and is non-GMO and vegan. Not to mention, it doesn't contain any THC, so you won't have to worry about your dog feeling any psychoactive effects after using our CBD oil.


Check out Pet Hemp Company's website to learn more about different CBD treats for pets, charts for proper dosing, and to learn more about onset times.


Omega 3 or Fish Oil

Omega 3, or fish oil, has many benefits that can assist your dog throughout its entire lifetime. Aside from aiding in puppies' brain and eye development, it has also benefited canines suffering from mobility issues or joint swelling.


It's also kidney-safe and often used in combination with Vitamin E. As always, talk to your vet before having your dog try out any new vitamins or supplements.



Turmeric is a unique, orange-yellow spice people often use in cooking. But did you know that it can be beneficial for dogs, too? One of its main components, curcumin, has anti-inflammatory properties that transfer over to canine health. It can also benefit the gastrointestinal system.


Humans can easily use turmeric in its powder form. Though, it's usually better to combine it with a food-safe oil or other foods to improve its absorption ability.




Related: Learn More About Dog Medications



References [Citations]

Back to blog