Meloxicam for Dogs: Side Effects to Look For

Meloxicam for Dogs: Side Effects to Look For

  • Kirsten Thornhill - 22.06.2020

Meloxicam for Dogs

Meloxicam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for dogs, commonly referred to as an NSAID, for short. Meloxicam’s primary usage as an anti-inflammatory is for easing inflammation, any associated pain stemming from disorders or conditions from the musculoskeletal system, as well as stiffness. A more common musculoskeletal system disorder typically seen in dogs is osteoarthritis, for which Meloxicam is often prescribed. However, Meloxicam for dogs can be prescribed for a whole slew of conditions and ailments that may cause inflammation and pain.



Meloxicam is typically sold in pill form and is available only by prescription from your veterinarian. This is not an over-the-counter (OTC) drug. One of the key reasons Meloxicam is only available via prescription is because of the laundry list of potential side effects associated with taking the medication. For example, Meloxicam can be used to treat fevers, but veterinarians warn paw parents that taking in high doses, Meloxicam can have dangerous effects on their pup. 


Brand Names vs Generic Names of Meloxicam

Just about every drug on the market has brand names and generic names. Keep in mind, the names of two almost identical drugs may vary greatly, based on the species it’s aimed to treat. 

Meloxicam is the common name for the drug that is both veterinarian-approved as well as human-approved.

What is Metacam for Dogs?


Metacam is the veterinarian formula of Meloxicam. Thus, Metacam is just the brand name. Meloxicam is the generic name. Metacam is also available for felines too, although it is primarily used for dogs. Metacam has been veterinarian-formulated to specifically treat dogs. 



What is Mobic Medication?

Mobic is a form of Meloxicam and is used to inflammation and pain caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in us humans. The formula is specifically designed for human use and consumption and should NOT be given to your four-legged friend. 

These three forms of Meloxicam can all alleviate similar, if not the same, symptoms, but do vary in whom they treat (doggos or us humans). 


What Do I Use Meloxicam For?

Often times, Meloxicam treats inflammation and pain associated with osteoarthritis and post-surgery pains in canines and felines. But, your vet may prescribe Meloxicam for your pup as a way to reduce their fever. 


What Do I Use Mobic For?

Again, do not give Mobic to your dog!  

Commonly asked, “what is Mobic used for” or “what is Metacam used for”. Well, we just want to reiterate that Mobic should only be used for humans, even though it may help the same symptoms in your pup. Metacam, a form of Meloxicam, is the only form of this drug that should be administered to your pup. 


Is Meloxicam a Narcotic?

We frequently see this question come up in regards to Meloxicam, so we just want to clear the air for our readers. No, Meloxicam is not a narcotic and belong to the NSAIDs group. 




What Dose of Meloxicam Do I Give My Dog?

Once your veterinarian prescribed you Meloxicam, they will also provide you with dosage information based on your doggo’s weight. The dose is typically 0.09 - 0.10 mg per pound on the first dose. Treatments done after day one should be administered at a lower dose, 0.045 - 0.05 mg per pound, daily. 

Your pup will have an easier time digesting the medication if it is given with food and H20.

Meloxicam 7.5 mg


This is the typically prescribed dosage of Meloxicam in tablet form.


Meloxicam 15 mg

This dosage is less commonly prescribed, but if you have a larger dog, these 15 mg tablets may be suitable. 


Liquid Meloxicam

If your pup does not do well with swallowing pills or tablets, Meloxicam can be prescribed in liquid form. Metacam oral suspension is calibrated to deliver the daily maintenance dose needs in pounds, through a dosing syringe.


Side Effects of Meloxicam

As with any medication, including NSAIDs, there are potential side effects. Unfortunately, Meloxicam for dogs (aka Metacam), has a long list of possible adverse reactions that are widespread. More on this below.


Side Effects of Metacam

These are common side effects found in dogs taking Metacam:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Abdominal pain
  • Increased thirst
  • Weight gain
  • Weight loss
  • Appetite loss
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Loss of coordination




  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Skin irritations
  • Loss of kidney function
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Increased need to urinate
  • Muscle weakness
  • Exhaustion
  • Jaundice

Behavioral Changes to Notice With Metacam

After reading that list, I’m sure you’re hoping the worrisome feelings end here….. Well, think again. Metacam is also responsible for behavioral changes such as the following:

  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Decreased energy 
  • Increased lethargy

Even just thinking about the fact that this medication is supposed to treat pain, potentially causing your pup to become aggressive, is pretty terrifying. 

It’s possible that your pup may be allergic to Metacam too. In these instances, the allergic reaction will likely go directly into anaphylactic shock. 

How To Tell if Your Dog has Potential Meloxicam Posioning

When poisoning occurs, the symptoms can become severe and develop rapidly. We can’t stress this enough - if you feel like your dog may be experiencing Meloxicam poisoning, take them into the vet right away. Or, feel free to call the Pet Poison Helpline at +1(855)213-6680 quickly. Like all NSAIDs, if an overdose does not seek medical attention right away, the results can be deadly. 



  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Black tarry stools
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Lethargy
  • Discomfort
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Seizures

Meloxicam Poisoning: The Leading Cause

In most cases, Meloxicam poisoning is the result of the following:

  • An accidental overdose caused by the dog getting into the bottle 
  • A dog owner giving their dog the human-form of the medication
  • The paw parent giving their dog a higher dose than what was prescribed

As a paw parent, please ensure that you are giving your dog the correct formula and vet-prescribed dosage. Also, make sure the medication is out of reach from your doggo.

Meloxicam Precautions

As if the adverse side effects list wasn’t enough to spook you, there are also many doggos that shouldn’t take Meloxicam because it may worsen their already fragile conditions or ailments. These dogs may include:

  • Pregnant, lactating, or breeding dogs
  • Dogs with bleeding disorders
  • Canines suffering from dehydration
  • Dogs on concomitant diuretic therpay
  • Animals with existing caridovascular, heptic, or renal dysfunction
  • Dogs less than 6 weeks old

In addition, if your doggo is sensitive to NSAIDs, it’s best adviced for them not to take Meloxicam. Also, Meloxicam should not be given with other NSAIDs such as:

  • Aspirin
  • Deramaxx
  • Etogesic
  • Previcox
  • Rimadyl

Alternatives to Meloxicam

That was a lot of information all at once, but we felt you needed know! There is good news too though! There are numerous Meloxicam alternatives that have been deemed effective, safe, and more accessible than you think. 

Some doggos aren’t able to take NSAIDs because of their reaction to the medications. Just as a refresher, NSAIDs may have a whole slew of side effects including peptic ulcers, liver damage, liver disease, chronic dry eyes, and joint damage, to just name a few. 

All-natural alternatives are growing in numbers and make me giving traditional medications a run for their money. Once paw parents realize the potential chances of their puppers having adverse reactions to conventional medications, they want other options to be available. 


1. Turmeric

This is a great supplement that is all-natural and is an anti-inflammatory. It has antioxidant properties as well as being highly effective at helping ease pain. Turmeric has been used to effectively treat arthritis and other joint conditions and ailments. 




2. Acupuncture

This Chinese therapy method continues to prove its effectiveness for both us humans and dogs in treating and managing pain. Acupuncture can treat both acute and chronic pain such as degenerative bone and joint conditions and osteoarthritis. 


3. Licorice

Licorice root has medicinal properties, one of many which treats symptoms and pain of arthritis. Natural, holistic veterinarians have reported that licorice root possesses anti-inflammatory agents which help speed up recovery.


4. Comfrey 

This herb is well-known in the world of all-natural medicine and healing. It has been shown to treat a wide variety of illnesses including digestive issues, cancer, and pain. It also has healing properties that help speed up cell reproduction. 



5. Devil’s Claw

This herb is a great way to ease muscle pain and arthritis. As an effective anti-inflammatory and body tonic, devil’s claw is definitely one you’ll want to remember.

Meloxicam for Dogs: Final Thoughts

Your canines and felines are apart of the family, pretty much as human-like as it gets. They hold a special place in your heart, you’d do anything in the world for them! When all is said and done, you just want what’s best for your pup, doing whatever it takes to make sure they’re living their best life!



We truly feel that one of the most important things a paw parent can do is to stay up-to-date on what’s being prescribed and the potential side effects that may be lurking around the corner. Conventional medicine may be the only answer at some points in your pup’s life, but we do encourage our readers to consider non-toxic, all-natural alternatives, for their four-legged friends. 

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