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What Is Rimadyl?

| Updated September 26, 2017

If your dog suffers from arthritis, you want to ease his aches and help him regain mobility. Rimadyl, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory created specifically for canines, can relieve the joint pain associated with arthritis and improve your pet's quality of life. Available only by prescription, Rimadyl can't cure arthritis, but it can alleviate symptoms, often in a matter of days. If your dog undergoes surgery, your vet might prescribe Rimadyl temporarily as a post-operative painkiller.

Manufactured by Zoetis, Rimadyl was the first NSAID approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration specifically for canines. The active ingredient in the drug is carprofen, also its generic name.

Arthritis in Dogs

While lameness, difficulty in rising from a prone position and trouble climbing stairs or into the car are classic signs of arthritis in dogs, they aren't the only ones. Some arthritis symptoms are more subtle. If your aging pet no longer greets you at the door when you come home, isn't as active as he once was or exhibits behavioral changes, arthritis could be the culprit. Rimadyl can slow progression of this degenerative joint disease. Your dog won't return to his puppyhood, but his activity levels should increase, and he should take joy once again in going on walks and engaging in moderate exercise.

Rimadyl Administration

Before prescribing Rimadyl, your vet will give examine your dog and possibly conduct blood tests to detect any conditions that contraindicate the drug's use. If your dog receives Rimadyl over a long period, your vet must periodically perform bloodwork on your dog to monitor his liver and renal functions.

Your veterinarian will prescribe the Rimadyl dosage based on your dog's weight. Because of potential side effects, your vet recommends the smallest effective dose. The medication is given once or twice daily, with or without food. The chewable tablet is quite palatable, and most dogs eagerly consume it. The medication also comes in caplet form.

Rimadyl Side Effects

While Rimadyl is usually well-tolerated, some dogs experience side effects, and these can be severe. Common side effects include gastrointestinal ulcers, vomiting, bloody or tarry stools, appetite changes, jaundice, increased water drinking and urination, seizures, anemia and behavioral changes. If your dog experiences any side effects, stop giving him the medication and call your vet immediately.

Rimadyl Contraindications

Don't give your dog Rimadyl if he takes any other NSAIDs or steroids. Pregnant or nursing dogs should not take Rimadyl. If your dog suffers from bleeding disorders, or liver or kidney disease, he should not receive this medication. If he's ever experienced an allergic reaction to any NSAID, your dog should not receive Rimadyl.


  • Do not give Rimdyl to cats.