What is a Safe Carprofen Dosage for Dogs?

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What Is A Safe Carprofen Dosage For DogsFor many pet parents, seeing their best friend suddenly limping and their dog’s body break down is heartbreaking. As such, pain management is usually the first thing that will come to our minds, and for senior dogs, giving them pain relievers can be the most generous thing we can do for them during their golden years. Thankfully, there are a few treatment options that can provide natural relief of pain for dogs; here, we discuss the safe carprofen dosage for dogs.      

What is Carprofen for Dogs?

This non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) was once used for both animal and human use; today, they’re commonly used as a prescription drug for dogs to reduce inflammation and pain. Carprofen is the generic name but it’s also available under various brand names such as Levafen®, Norocarp®, Novox®, Rimadyl®, and more. This dog-safe pain killer is classified as an NSAID of the carbazole and propionic acid class which is only available to veterinarians who can prescribe them for various conditions and to improve their quality of life. 

How Does it Work? 

Because carprofen is an NSAID, it falls under the same category as human pain killers such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen. However, you should never give your dog human NSAIDs or Advil since these aren’t safe for dogs. Instead, it’s best to give your dog carprofen, which is designed specifically for dogs and has proven to be effective through well-controlled safety studies.    

Generally, a veterinarian will use this drug to help reduce pain and inflammation in dogs, which it does by hindering the production of cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes. These are responsible for releasing various inflammatory mediators that cause pain and inflammation in dogs. But because they’re blocked by the carprofen, it can effectively reduce the dog’s pain — however, this prescription medication is different from other pain relievers which only target pain but not inflammation. 

How Does it Help Dogs? 

One more reason why carprofen is great for dogs is because it works with both acute and chronic pain. Some conditions that carprofen can be used for include: 

  • Control of postoperative pain and inflammation after getting soft tissue surgery, orthopedic surgeries, or dental work in dogs 
  • Reduced inflammation and pain from conditions such as ear infections or UTIs in dogs
  • Controls fever and other inflammatory or painful conditions such as joint pain, and abdominal pain 
  • Reduces cancer-related pain such as prostate cancer or osteosarcoma
  • Pain management for conditions such as hip dysplasia, luxating patella, osteoarthritis, and more

Carprofen is FDA-approved for these uses when it comes to dogs but is sometimes used on other animals such as reptiles and small mammals. However, it shouldn’t be used on cats.  

What is the Dosage for Dogs? 

As discussed above, these anti-inflammatory drugs offer plenty of potential benefits in veterinary medicine and are conveniently available through oral administration and in an injectable form. Generally, veterinarians will administer this as an injectable when inside a veterinary hospital. For instance, they will use this before or after an orthopedic surgery or they may provide an injectable to hospitalized dogs. 

When it comes to at-home use, your vet will prescribe carprofen caplets or chewable tablets which come in various sizes such as 25 mg, 75 mg, and 100 mg that can be split in half. As such, you’ll be able to find the right dosage for your dog easily — the single daily dose for this drug will be based on your dog’s weight. Depending on your vet, they may give the lowest effective dose or recommend giving your dog a tablet twice a day orally.      

Moreover, if your dog has stomach upset, your vet may recommend giving your dog some carprofen with its meals. It’s also a good idea to get the carprofen compounded into liquid form if your pooch refuses to take the pills. Finally, if you think that you need to crush the tablet for your pup, be sure to consult your vet first — this may not be good for your dog depending on the form and brand of carprofen. 

How Long Does it Take to Work?

When it comes to carprofen, the good news is that it can be absorbed rapidly and will usually start working in as fast as one to two hours; just keep in mind that individual response may vary. After a little while, your dog should feel pain relief and its symptoms should start improving as the pain decreases. By following your veterinarian’s recommended dose and instructions carefully, you should be able to keep your best friend living comfortably.     

What are the Side Effects of Carprofen?

Fortunately, carprofen is a safe veterinary medicine for most dogs when used as directed by your veterinarian. However, even a single dose can cause potential side effects when dog owners provide carprofen over the acceptable total daily dose. The most common possible side effects of this drug in dogs include the following: 

  • Stomach upset
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Restlessness
  • Dehydration    

Moreover, dogs may occasionally experience serious side effects, which may include:

  • Tarry stools or vomiting
  • Kidney problems such as kidney damage, kidney disease, or kidney failure
  • Liver damage
  • Severe lethargy
  • Allergic reactions
  • Seizures
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Jaundice
  • Gastrointestinal ulceration
  • Liver disease
  • Congestive heart failure

Dogs with the greatest risk of developing drug-associated adverse reactions and other negative side effects are senior dogs and those with compromised immune systems which have made their bodies weaker to such medications.  

What to Do if Your Dog Experiences Side Effects of Carprofen 

Whether you notice your dog having a reaction to the most common side effects or a more serious one, be sure to call your vet straight away and stop giving your pup carprofen. This is especially important when it comes to more adverse effects, and depending on your dog and its symptoms, your vet will provide you with the best solution. Sometimes they might have you switch to a different medication and other times, you may need to bring your pooch in for an exam. 

If this is the case, your dog may undergo blood work to check for low red blood cell count which can be an indication of bleeding in the GI tract. They may also recommend appropriate laboratory tests to evaluate your dog’s liver and kidney values. Some dogs may also suffer from signs of potential drug toxicity, which can be resolved by taking away their carprofen dosage.    

What is a Safe Carprofen Dosage for Dogs?

Carprofen is a good option for pain in many dogs and despite risk factors that may come with both long-term and short-term use, they are a great choice overall. This prescription medication provides safe and effective pain relief from a wide range of conditions and can also help to reduce inflammation, unlike many other medications. Because they need to be prescribed by your veterinarian, this drug is a good candidate for many dogs since the dosages and the frequency of use will be specific to your dog’s particular needs.