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Carprofen For Dogs: The Side Effects To Be Aware Of

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Carprofen For Dogs: The Side Effects To Be Aware Of

Posted by Michael Jones on
Updated at: February 04, 2021

Carprofen For Dogs: The Side Effects To Be Aware Of | Innovet PetWe love our pets! So of course, we want the best possible options for them when they're in pain, whether it's due to arthritis or other types of inflammation in the body. We want them to feel better, as quickly as possible, and with minimal side effects.

There are options out there that your vet can provide when it comes to handling your dog's pain. One of the top options is carprofen, which can also be known as Novox or Rimadyl.

There are also some other options on the market by the names of Vetprofen, Truprofen, and Rovera. Before giving your dog any of these carprofen varieties, it's important to know about the medication as well as the side effects that can occur with it.


1. What Is Carprofen?
2. Uses Of Carprofen For Dogs
3. How Carprofen Works?
4. What Is the Best Carprofen Dosage?
5. Drug Interactions And Precautions With Carprofen
6. Carprofen Side Effects
7. Signs Of Allergic Reaction To Carprofen
8. Signs And Treatment Of An Overdose
9. Smith & Cooper vs. Pfizer
10. Carprofen For Dogs: A Final Thought

What Is Carprofen?

Essentially, carprofen is what is known as an NSAID. That means that it's an anti-inflammatory medication that is non-steroidal in nature. It's made to help with a variety of inflammation issues that can bring your dog discomfort and pain.

By comparison, carprofen is similar to naproxen, ibuprofen, or ketoprofen. Many will recognize ibuprofen as an NSAID for humans, which is often useful for headaches, aches, and other smaller pains. However, carprofen is different in that it is typically prescribed by a vet.

Uses Of Carprofen For Dogs

Carprofen may be is used for a variety of things, at the discretion of your vet. However, a couple of the most common conditions that it is prescribed for are inflammation and pain that can occur after surgery and osteoarthritis that can otherwise leave dogs with chronic pain.

Keep in mind that this medication isn't a cure for either situation. However, it can be used to ease the pain until your dog heals, or a solution for the osteoarthritis is found. You can think of it as similar to ibuprofen for humans, which may be able to help in small amounts, but doesn't resolve pain forever by itself.

How Carprofen Works

Like other NSAIDS on the market, carprofen is generally considered to involve cyclooxygenase activity. Essentially, they work by inhibiting the creation of prostaglandins that control the different responses in our bodies that can result in inflammation and pain. Consequently, it may be able to help keep that pain to a minimum.

Furthermore, it's important to know that not all NSAIDS handles all prostaglandins. Some are more selective, allowing renal and gastrointestinal systems to remain relatively normal while focusing on those that create inflammation.

Because of that, it's important to ask your vet exactly what the carprofen option being prescribed to your pet does.

What Is The Best Carprofen Dosage?

If you're new to using Carprofen for your dog, then it's important to make sure you use the correct dosage. While your vet will likely let you know how much carprofen to give your dog and when it never hurts to have an understanding of the dosage yourself.

The first aspect to know is that carprofen is offered in a few different doses, including 100mg carprofen, 75mg, and 25mg. That way, dogs of just about any size can get an amount that is suitable for them. Furthermore, it's usually offered as a chewable or tablet for easier administering.

Keep in mind that carprofen is not for humans, so it's not recommended that you take it yourself. There are plenty of over the counter options that are reliable for you. It's also a good idea to give your dog the carprofen with food, in order to help them digest it more easily.

Typically, the dosage for carprofen is 2mg for every pound your dog weighs on a daily basis. Otherwise, you can provide half that dose twice a day. For example, a 50lb dog would receive 100mg daily, but you could also choose to give them 50mg in the morning and 50mg in the evening.

Drug Interactions And Precautions With Carprofen

There are some times when it isn't a good idea to give your dog carprofen, such as when they have certain conditions, or if they are on certain other medications. Having an understanding of these situations can allow you to find the safest solution for your pet.

Situations where the potential for negative reactions increase are:

  • When dogs are prone to adverse reactions with other NSAIDs
  • If your dog is currently receiving other NSAIDs
  • If your dog is receiving steroids
  • When your dog is receiving nephrotoxic medicines
  • If your dog is using ACE inhibitors
  • When your dog receives anticoagulant medicines
  • If your dog has dehydration, bleeding disorders, hypoproteinemia, cardiovascular disease, renal disease or gastrointestinal diseases
  • When your dog is nursing or pregnant

Carprofen Side Effects

For the most part, dogs that take carprofen tend to only experience side effects that are milder. However, NSAID medications like carprofen have yet to be fully studied or understood, so there are potential effects that we can't yet see.

Consequently, it's very important to make sure you understand the potential side effects that are known. That way, you can decide whether or not carprofen is right for your dog.

Carprofen Effects On The Liver

This section focuses primarily on side effects that can result in your dog's liver. Typically, not many dogs experience these kinds of issues, only about .02%.

However, it is important to know that a fourth of those issues are seen in Labrador Retrievers. So if your dog is of that breed, you'll want to really consider whether or not this is the right choice.

Common signs of liver issues from carprofen are as follows:

  • Jaundice, or yellowing of the nostrils, gums, or genitals
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Hepatoxicity
  • Vomiting
  • Abnormal results on any tests of liver function

Effects On The Nervous System

These are effects that are highly important to keep in mind when you give your dog a carprofen dosage, or the dosage of a carprofen product like Novox for dogs, or Rimadyl, either generic or otherwise. In order to notice nervous system effects in your dog, you'll likely have to keep a close eye on them.

Some of the neurologic issues that can occur are:

  • Partial or full paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Disorientation
  • Balance loss, or lack of coordination
  • Head tilting
  • Wandering in circles
  • Falling or stumbling

Blood-Related Carprofen Side Effects

These are side effects or diseases that can result from Carprofen in the blood:

  • Thrombocytopenia, which can show up as bleeding, bruising or anemia
  • Nosebleeds
  • Hemolytic anemia, red blood cells that aren't working properly, or have a low count overall
  • Anemia as a result of blood loss, which can come from blood in urine, vomit or stools

Carprofen And Gastrointestinal Issues

These side effects tend to occur when the medication begins to interact with the small intestines and stomach. Typically, these effects can cease when you cease giving the carprofen product to your dog.

Make sure to speak with your vet if you notice these symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Tarry and black stools
  • Pancreatitis
  • Vomiting, especially if there is blood present
  • Constipation

Urinary Side Effects

Generally, when you notice side effects that occur as part of using carprofen, it indicates issues with the kidneys. You may have to pay close attention to notice some of these.

Urinary Side Effects Typically Include:

  • Higher frequency of urination
  • Incontinence of urine
  • Abnormalities of a tubular nature, or kidney failure
  • Blood showing up in the urine
  • Heightened levels of thirst
  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Azotemia
  • Glomerular disease

Changes In Behavior With Carprofen

In some cases, using carprofen for your dog can result in some changes in your dog's behavior. Generally, these kinds of changes are a result of your dog feeling some kind of discomfort with the drug. If you notice these issues, then it can be a good idea to watch your dog make sure more serious symptoms don't follow. It can also be helpful to check in with your vet if you notice these changes.

Keep an eye out for these symptoms:

Carprofen Skin Issues

These kinds of conditions can show up in your dog's nail, hair, or skin. They are worth keeping an eye out for, as some can be particularly troublesome for your dog. Remember that if you are noticing these kinds of issues and feel concerned, it is always a good idea to contact your vet and make sure the symptom isn't a serious one.

The following are side effects that can occur on your dog's skin:

  • Heightened shedding
  • Skin lesions that are painful, raw or irritated
  • Necrotizing Vasculitis/Panniculitis
  • Increased scratching or chewing of the skin
  • Loss of hair
  • Bruises in the abdominal area

Signs Of Allergic Reaction To Carprofen

No matter what the medication is, some dogs can experience allergic reactions. On top of that, these reactions can sometimes be dangerous to your beloved companion.

Consequently, it's important to make sure you talk to your vet if the following issues occur in your dog after taking carprofen:

  • Hives
  • Swelling in the face
  • Skin redness

In extremely rare situations, negative reactions to carprofen can result in death, which makes it even more important that you let your vet know when these signs occur. The earlier you catch them, the better off your pet will be.

Signs And Treatment Of An Overdose

In addition to allergic reactions, it's also very important that you keep an eye out for a potential overdose.

The symptoms of an overdose of carprofen are as follows:

  • Carprofen For Dogs: The Side Effects To Be Aware Of | Innovet PetDiarrhea or stool that is black and tarry
  • Vomiting, especially if blood is involved
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Malaise
  • Urinating or drinking at inappropriate times
  • Seizures

The treatments for an overdose can vary. Some treatment methods are:

  • Stomach pumping
  • Supportive care
  • Inducing vomiting
  • Charcoal slurry
  • Performance of blood values, such as chemistry, baseline, and CBC

Carprofen: Reported Problems

Montana And Angela

Montana was a husky prescribed with Rimadyl for issues with stiff legs. Early in the treatment, he reacted well but soon developed issues with a lack of appetite. Following that, he also began to show some neurological symptoms and ataxia. Due to liver destruction, Montana lost his ability to walk. He had to be euthanized to prevent further suffering. The creators of this medication attempted to pay Montana's owner off for her silence when it was reported.

Issues such as these are why it's important to look into natural pain relief possibilities for our beloved canine friends.

Smith & Cooper vs Pfizer

Smith and Cooper were the owners of a golden retriever named Sophie. Having sustained an injury to her knee, Sophie needed to receive surgery. Having gone through surgery without issue, Sophie was prescribed Rimadyl in order to allow her to heal with less pain.

However, much like Montana, Sophie ceased eating after taking the medication and began to vomit more frequently. While her owners stopped the medication, Rimadyl toxicity had already resulted in liver failure and the death of their beloved friend.

In an attempt to raise awareness about these issues, Smith and Cooper filed a lawsuit against Pfizer. In addition, they sought to provide information about Rimadyl to other pet owners through the use of brochures.

Carprofen For Dogs: A Final Thought

While for most, carprofen can be a helpful way to alleviate pain on a temporary basis, there can be some cases in which it is very dangerous. As a result, it's important to make sure you understand all of the options available and only use Rimadyl, Novox, or other carprofen medications with the prescription and under the care of a vet.

In addition to that, watch your pet carefully for side effects and adverse reactions. It also can't help to look into natural options out there!


CBD reduces inflammation and pain
CBD Aiding with Pain
CBD Helps with Pain Management
Anti-Inflammatory Benefit of CBD
CBD Assistance with Probiotic and Inflammatory Bowel Disease


Dominick smith - June 30, 2020


Shelly - February 22, 2020

Please, please be more aware of how your language can contribute to the mass amount of miseducation regarding pitbulls. Evelyn will probably never see this, but I hope whom ever may be reading this will not take her comment as fact, and do research on your own. As far as Carprofen goes, which is why we’re all here, my dog was put on it after his his cancer diagnosis and radiation treatment. After A couple of months of taking the vet recommended daily dosage, he started having steady, heavy nose bleeds. I strongly feel these were related to the daily use of Carprofen for an extended period of time. Nothing would stop the nose bleeds while he was still taking it.

Larry Daily - October 27, 2019

My grand daughter’s golden retriever stopped eating and drinking . She was taken to her vet and they examined her. X-rays were taken. My son-in-law was told there was evidence of an infection in her intestines but no evidence of blockage. The infection was minor. They gave her some medicine and sent her home. They were told that if she got worse to take her to the emergency hospital and the test results from the office would be sent to them. One of the medicines that was issued to her was carprophen. She got worse during the night, heavy panting and breathing. Since their vet office closed they was forced to take her to the emergency vet hospital. They could not get their vet’s test or x-ray results and the emergency hospital was forced to retake the x-rays and other tests. The emergency office told them to take her home and watch her or they could leave her over night at 50 dollars an hour. They left her for around 6 hours and picked her up early in the morning . They took her back to their vet and they again checked her over. I do not know if they administered carprofen then or not. My son in law was told to take her home and watch her. If she got worse they were directed to take her back to the emergency vet hospital. She got worse and they call the emerg. hospital. They were told that all they could do was watch her over night. It was later in the afternoon and they did not feel that it would do any good to go back to the emerg. hos and did not know what to do they thought she was dying. They called me and asked me if there was anything my vet could or would do. I called my vet and was told that they were swamped and could not see her. During this time they informed me that she had an IV line in her and was hoping that we could find someone to use the IV to hydrate her. I called my vet and he agreed to look at her if I brought her in with all her recent records. At that time I was dealing with the hospital that my mother was in and the hospital was trying to get us to allow them to discharge her and place her on hospice. I live 13 miles from my daughter and they were around 10 miles from my vet’s office. I got her their and she was able to walk into the office. They took her back and examined her. He found evidence of a small infection and decided to keep her until she was able to eat and go to the bathroom. He kept her for 2 days and then released her after getting better. My son-in-law took her home and she was eating, walking and playing with my grand daughter. My vet also directed them to continue to give them the medicine that had they had been told to give her on the first visit to their vet. My grand daughter gave her a 100mg pill of carprophen. Shortly after that she became agitated and was having difficulty with standing and walking. She was dazed and bumping into things. She began having seizures. One and shortly after that on another. and so on. They called me and asked if I could assist them in taking her to the emergency vet office. The others were closed. I rushed over to pick her up. Before arriving the called me and told the the seizures were coming one after the other. By the time that I got there she was thrashing around and crying out in what seemed to be pain. She was snapping her teeth and my daughter had to open her jaws up from her biting her own tongue. During the trip into the vets office it was all that I could do to hold her and stopping her from beating herself against the car’s interior. She whas barking in what seemed to be sheer pain. As we carried her inside she thrashed about and then went limp for a short time. Another seizure began and it continued. They put her on the treatment table and administered some sort of medicine. The took blood work. Her seizures continued and they gave her some sort of medicine to sedate her. The medicine stopped her seizures for a short time and the seizures began again. 3 doses were administered over around 30 minutes. We were told that her blood was thin with higher white cell counts. She had evidence of small bruises on her stomach from tiny spots of bleeding. Her temp was first taken and it was at 102 degrees. After administering the sedatives her temp quickly rose to 102.9 degrees. They packed her in ice and brought her temp back down to 102. Her seizures continued. Prior to her temp going up her eyes became fixed and unresponsive. We were told that it was likely that her brain had been damaged. During all of this the issue of carprofen causing this was discussed. The issue was raised of putting her on a sedative drip to attempt to allow the carprofen to be removed from her body. We were informed that it would do little or no good. My son in law called my daughter and my grandchildren and they decided it was best to put her down. I was then and still am suspicious that this was caused somehow by the carprofen. I know that this does not matter to some but my family spent 1200 dollars to save their family pet and I spent 607 dollars to do what we could to save her that night (Friday night 10/26/19 to early Sat. morning 10/27/19. The only help that they could officer is to take her 80 some miles to the University of Illinois emergency vet. hospital even though she would most likely not make it to their facilities before dying.

Nanatracey - March 29, 2019

Thanks for the shares seriously. My dog is a rescue I’ve had him for 7 years, is a beagle Jack Russell mix and he’s wonderful he’s been through it having Stones removed twice and noun Advanced arthritis just like his mom -me – lol. But the comments about aggressiveness are extremely helpful and made me make a decision. He has had issues with the aggressive playfulness before but that was my fault this aggressiveness with nipping at my face is new and it has happened after the carprofen, it’s scared my auntie, she’s old. It gave her a bad idea about rescue animals. I now have a reason to tell her why the aggressiveness happens to the best of my knowledge and I can now look into the CBD products which I was looking into for her pain anyways. Thank you very much everybody. Hug your babies

Evelyn - March 24, 2019

I had given my dog Carprofen 25 mg as directed after surgery at 11 am after his meal. About a half of an hour later my dog was starting to growl at me . All day I noticed his behavior very aggressive. At 11 pm this dog was so aggressive and he bit my sneaker and he was just wanting to jump and keep on biting me on my bed. All he did was stare at me growling aggressively. I was so afraid I had to call for help. My nephew came down to help me and he just jumped on him to bite him aggressively. He also bit his boot. He just threw a quilt on top of the dog for me to be able to run. I am still in shock and so is my nephew. I was afraid that he would harm my elderly parents whom I care for. 2 hours after this the dog wagged his tale like nothing. I just don’t understand. He has been removed from my home temporarily but I am not sure if .i can ever trust a dog. This dog is a maltese even though last night It felt like an aggressive pittbull..

Barb - March 19, 2019

Gave Novox to our 12 year old Golden Retreiver for arthritis. Was on for 6 months and did the 6 month blood work and was ok. 1 month later and came on suddenly, vomiting and lethargic. Symptoms not even for 24 hours. Took to vet said she had pancreatitis. Gave her an injection and sent her home. She died at home a few hours later.

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