facebook pixel

Rimadyl for Dogs: What it is, Usage in Dogs, Safety & Side Effects

Ellevet dog shaking hand

When our dogs are in pain, we want to find fast and effective relief for them. If home remedies aren’t working, and your dog’s pain seems to be more than just a bump or bruise, you may have to turn to your veterinarian for help. And increasingly, veterinarians are prescribing painkillers for dogs in these situations, one of the most common being Rimadyl. 

Table of Contents

  1. What is Rimadyl
  2. Usage in Dogs
  3. Safety & Side Effects
  4. Alternatives

What is Rimadyl?

Rimadyl is a popular brand name of the well-known non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) called Carprofen. Speaking in human analogies, Carprofen can be understood as a kind of stronger Ibuprofen for dogs in the sense that it is meant to address similar ailments. 

Rimadyl comes in three different forms for dogs: chewable, capsules, and injection. Drugs like Rimadyl are meant to fight inflammation and pain associated with osteoarthritis without steroid-based medications’ potentially negative side effects. Depending on how severe your dog’s situation is, your veterinarian will provide a recommended NSAID, dose amount, as well as a form of administration. 

Rimadyl Usage in Dogs

Rimadyl will often be prescribed when your dog is experiencing chronic, long-term pain. In other cases, medications like Rimadyl are prescribed post-operatively to help with the short-term, acute pain and inflammation that can come with surgical recovery. Because of the anti-inflammatory properties found in these types of drugs (NSAIDs), veterinarians have found Rimadyl to be an effective remedy for osteoarthritis in dogs. Osteoarthritis and other forms of arthritis involve the inflammation of joint(s), leading to daily pain and suffering. 

Safety & Side Effects

With powerful prescription medications come potentially powerful side effects. Rimadyl is no exception. It is important to carefully discuss the risks with your veterinarian before deciding. Most veterinarians suggest regular blood-testing with dogs using medications like Rimadyl long-term. 


Common Side Effects: 

  • GI Complications 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea

The side effects listed above are considered more common and moderate when they occur. However, some more severe side effects could suggest your dog has an adverse reaction to the drug. 

Serious side effects include: 

  • Change in appetite 
  • Black or Bloody Stool 
  • Seizures
  • Yellowing of the skin or whites of eyes 
  • Skin scabbing or redness 
  • Decreased or Increased appetite and drinking 
  • Urinary Infections

While these side effects are deemed “less likely,” if you notice any of these listed symptoms occurring in your dog while taking Rimadyl, it is important to notify your veterinarian right away. More so than your normal moderate side effects, like the occasional vomiting, the complications listed above can lead to much more serious health problems. 


In some cases, CBD that has been studied & proven safe can be used in conjunction with prescribed pain medications. CBD oil and chews have been proven to help with things such as chronic discomfort associated with osteoarthritis so that it may be worth a try! Always consult your veterinarian when you’re thinking of starting or stopping any supplements or medications for your dog. 



The ElleVet Team
[email protected]