Carprofen for Dogs: Is it Worth it?

Carprofen for Dogs: Is it Worth it?

  • Kirsten Thornhill - 03.04.2020

Being a paw parents is a rewarding, happy experience. Constant love, affection, and licks. An always there type of pal. Your partner in crime. We are more than lucky to have our special pups. However, no one said that being 100% responsible for your pup’s health and wellbeing was going to be completely smooth. Most pet parents realize that pet ownership isn’t always smooth sailing. 


It is difficult to watch your once energetic little puppy get older and experience age-related problems and pain. More so, pet parents know that dogs are well known for hiding their pain and discomfort. Therefore, if your dog is showing signs of pain or distress, they’re likely suffering more than just a little.



If you recognize that your beloved paw friend isn’t doing great, the next step to consider is what you can do to help them. The question, “what can I give my dog for pain” is one of the most frequently searched queries on Google for pet care. We hope we can answer that question (PS, it may not be what you think). 


In this article, you’ll learn about carprofen, a commonly prescribed medication for dogs. Although we understand that you’ll do absolutely anything and everything to lessen your pup’s pain, pet parents must understand carprofen’s risks, which should not be taken lightly. Let’s do this. 


What is Carprofen


Carprofen is a non-narcotic, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). As a commonly prescribed medication by veterinarians, carprofen helps alleviate post-surgical pain and inflammation. 


Brand Names for Carprofen


Carprofen for dogs also goes by many different brand names (listed below for you). Take note, they are the same medication. Therefore, the same medication will have the same potential side effects. 


  • Austiofen
  • Bomazeal
  • Canidryl
  • Carporal
  • Carprieve
  • Carprocow
  • Carprodolor
  • Carprodyl
  • Carprofelican
  • Carprofen
  • Carprofène
  • Carprofeno
  • Carprofenum
  • Carprogesic
  • Carprosol
  • Carprotab
  • Carprox
  • Comforion
  • Dolagis
  • Dolocarp
  • Dolox
  • Eurofen
  • Kelaprofen
  • Librevia
  • Norocarp
  • Norodyl
  • Novocox
  • Prolet
  • Reproval
  • Rimadyl
  • Rimifin
  • Rofeniflex
  • Rycarfa
  • Scanodyl
  • Tergive
  • Vetprofen
  • Xelcor


The carprofen brand that your vet prescribes for your pup will most likely depend on the country you reside in, although many countries have almost all of the drugs available. 


NSAIDs and Dogs


Common NSAIDs for human consumption we see include Aspirin and Advil. These medications provide short-term pain relief. People typically take them for occasional headache or minor ache. However, chronic use of NSAIDs in people, though, can lead to negative side effects like intestinal issues. Yet, some NSAIDs may be prescribed long-term for dogs to reduce arthritic pain, for instance. Confused? Thought so. 


Some of the most common NSAID drugs prescribed for dogs are:








These medications have potential adverse reactions. For this article, we’re going to focus on carprofen.


How Carprofen Works


Many experts believe that carprofen inhibits the COX enzyme, stopping inflammation from continued development and spreading. Thus, carprofen is an anti-inflammatory drug. 


Carprofen Uses

  1. Treat osteoarthritis-related discomfort and pain

  2. Treat post-surgical pain and inflammation


Treating Osteoarthritis with Carprofen


Osteoarthritis is a commonly seen condition that can be managed with carprofen. As dogs begin to age, the cartilage and joints go through years and years of wear and tear. Unfortunately, this arthritis puts your pup in a lot of pain.  


Carprofen can reduce osteoarthritis symptoms. In some instances, orthopedic surgeries may be needed for long-term management. Osteoarthritis is not curable, but is manageable.


Treating Hip Dysplasia with Carprofen


Veterinarians prescribe carprofen to treat hip dysplasia as well, which occurs when the ball of the femur doesn’t fit within the hip socket. Eventually over time, hip dysplasia can lead to painful arthritis. This occurs commonly in breeds of large dogs. 

Is My Dog in Pain


We mentioned previously that dogs are infamous for hiding pain, something that all dogs owners must know. Therefore, if your pup is showing any signs of distress or discomfort, we encourage you to act right away because the pain has likely progressed and may be severe.



Common symptoms of osteoarthritis pain include limping and stiffness. This pain can also cause a once-active dog to struggle with basics of walking up and down the stairs. 


Additionally, dogs in pain typically hide or retreat to dark places. Even the most social of dogs will run and hide under the couch when company arrives for fear of any physical attention that could cause them to experience more pain.

How to Administer Carprofen


Based on your pup’s individual needs, the vet will decide the best way to administer carprofen for your dog. For instance, if the drug is prescribed to treat a post-surgery pain, it will likely be administered two hours prior to surgery. 


Carprofen can be seen in three forms:


  1. Chewables (25 mg, 75 mg, and 100 mg)
  2. Capsules/caplets (25 mg, 75 mg, and 100 mg)
  3. Injection (administered by a veterinarian)


Carprofen: The Precautions


Even before you think about weighing the pros and cons of carprofen, realize that there are many dogs who shouldn’t take it due to preexisting conditions and other medication interactions. 


Before orescribing carprofen, your vet needs to know about your dog’s health (this includes allergies and any current medications). Carprofen should not be given to dogs with any of these health conditions:




Bleeding disorders
Cardiovascular disease
Congestive heart failure
Gastrointestinal (GI) diseases
High blood pressure
Kidney disease
Liver disease
Renal disease or reduced renal function



    The following medications may have a negative interaction when taken with Carprofen:


    • Aspirin
    • Anticoagulant medications
    • Corticosteroids
    • Diuretics
    • Other NSAIDs

    Is Carprofen Available Only by Prescription


    Pet owners can purchase medication online without seeing their veterinarian first. However, we cannot stress enough that this is not recommended and is extremely dangerous. Your vet must be involved with diagnosing your pup and prescribing an accurate dose of carprofen. 


    Even though purchasing carprofen online is likely “cheaper” and “easier”, doing so can put your four-legged friend’s health in danger. Please, refrain. 


    The Side Effects of Carprofen


    Carprofen doesn’t work for all dogs. In some cases, it will effectively reduce inflammation and pain and help get your pup back on their feet. But, in other cases, Carprofen may prove ineffective or make your dog sick.



    • GI effects (diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, ulceration
    • Neurological effects (seizures, incoordination, paralysis)
    • Urinary effects (excessive drinking/urination, UTI, acute kidney failure)
    • Hematologic effects (nose bleeds, severe anemia, reduced red blood cell function)
    • Hepatic effects in liver (vomiting, elevated liver enzymes, jaundice)
    • Behavioral effects (lethargic, sedation, restlessness, aggressive actions, hyperactivity)
    • Immunological effects (hives, facial swelling, red/irritated skin)
    • Dermatological effects (abdominal bruising, excessive shedding and hair loss, skin lesions, cell death, itching, scratching, biting)

      All-Natural Alternatives


      With that being said, it’s no wonder why so many dog owners want to find an alternative, all-natural ways to treat their dog’s conditions/issues. Luckily, we have options to treat our beloved four-legged babies, naturally.


      When we trace the majority of problems to the root, we find that they have one major thing in common: mister big and bad inflammation. An effective way to find long-term relief is to focus on treating your pup’s underlying cause. Although Carprofen may provide temporary relief, it is up to you to work together with your vet to find the root of the issue and treat it accordingly. 


      Carprofen for Dogs: The Bottom Line


       When it’s all said and done, we know you only want what’s best for your doggo. Recognizing that your dog is in pain is heartbreaking and leaves you wondering how to proceed.


      We hope your pup feels better soon. Toot a lu.

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