Meloxicam Dosage Chart for Dogs: Risks, Side Effects, Dosage, and More

Written by Amber LaRock
Updated: October 10, 2023
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Has your veterinarian prescribed meloxicam to your painful dog? You likely have questions about this popular medication and how it works, so let’s break down everything you need to know about meloxicam for dogs below!

What Is Meloxicam?

Man is holding in hand pill for ill dog. Pet owner giving medicine to his old labrador retriever.

Meloxicam is used to manage pain, fever, and inflammation in dogs.

©Jaromir Chalabala/Shutterstock.com

Meloxicam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication used to manage pain, inflammation, and fever in dogs. It is specifically designed to manage inflammation without the severe gastrointestinal effect that can be seen with other NSAID medications. Meloxicam for dogs is a human medication that has been flavored and adjusted to better suit canine friends.

Is Meloxicam Safe For Dogs?

Meloxicam is safe for use in dogs when following your veterinarian’s instructions. Meloxicam is a safe alternative to human NSAIDs in dogs, as medications like ibuprofen and naproxen can cause life-threatening side effects in dogs. Meloxicam can offer your canine friend the same inflammation fighting benefits without the major health risks.

Why Do Dogs Take Meloxicam?

Senior Golden Retriever resting on a dog bed

Meloxicam for dogs can be used to manage post-operative pain, arthritis, fever, soft tissue injuries, and more.

©Yobab/Shutterstock.com

Meloxicam is used to treat or manage a variety of painful inflammatory conditions in dogs. Some of the most common conditions that benefit from the use of meloxicam include:

  • Managing a fever
  • Pain and inflammation associated with arthritis or hip dysplasia
  • After surgery to manage inflammation and pain
  • Soft tissue injuries like muscle injuries and lacerations
  • Injuries of the back and spine (when steroids are not prescribed)
  • Inflammation from ear infections
  • Inflammation from skin infections

While these are the most common reasons why vets prescribe meloxicam to dogs, your vet may use it in other situations as well.

How Do I Give My Dog Meloxicam?

Meloxicam can be prescribed for use in dogs in pill, liquid, and oral spray form. It can also be given in injectable form, but this can only be administered at your vet’s office. It is not uncommon for a vet to give one dose of injectable meloxicam when they initially prescribe it, as this can allow the NSAID jump into action quickly. Your vet will then send your little one home with an oral form of meloxicam to continue.

Meloxicam can technically be given without food, but some dogs may experience nausea if the get their dose on an empty stomach. We always suggest giving your dog their dose of meloxicam with a small meal to prevent any nausea or vomiting.

What Is The Dose Of Meloxicam In Dogs?

Golden retriever taking meds or vitamins from owner's hands, one hand holding a weekly pill box

Your vet may perform blood tests to rule out any kidney or liver dysfunction before sending your dog home with a meloxicam prescription.

©Donna Ellen Coleman/Shutterstock.com

Before we offer the standard dose for meloxicam use in dogs, we should state again that you should never give your dog meloxicam without veterinary approval. With that in mind, there is a common meloxicam dose that most veterinarians prescribe!

The standard dose of meloxicam for dogs is 0.1 mg per pound of body weight. Your vet will often tell you to double their dose the first time you give it, and then bring it down to the standard 0.1 mg per pound after that first dose. For example, a ten pound dog may be prescribed 1 mg to be given once every 24 hours, but you will offer your pup 2 mg for their first dose. This first dose is referred to as a loading dose, and it is very common with medication that target inflammation.

Dr. Amy Nicole Lewis, a veterinarian with Worldwide Veterinary Services told A-Z Animals that a loading dose is often used when it is necessary to achieve effective concentrations of a medication as quickly as possible. This is common when dealing with inflammatory issues due to the immediate need to relive the dog’s discomfort.

Does Meloxicam Have Any Side Effects In Dogs?

Meloxicam is typically safe for dogs when following your veterinarian’s guidance, but just like any other prescribed medication, it can lead to a few mild side effects. Some of the most common side effects seen with meloxicam use in dogs include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody stool
  • Black, tarry stool
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Kidney & liver complications
  • Central nervous system issues

The most common side effects seen with meloxicam use in dogs is mild GI upset. Giving their dose of meloxicam with food can cut down on any nausea or appetite changes, but we suggest reaching out to your vet to see if they have any other suggestions for your little one.

Your vet may also perform blood tests to rule out any kidney or liver dysfunction before sending your dog home with a meloxicam prescription. NSAIDs can exacerbate kidney or liver conditions in some dogs, so it’s important to make sure that your dog’s body can tolerate the medication. However, kidney and liver damage is usually only a concern with long-term use of meloxicam.

How Do I Get Meloxicam For My Dog?

Meloxicam is a popular NSAID that can only be found at your vet’s office. We suggest reaching out to your veterinary team if you think your dog can benefit from the use of meloxicam!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © New Africa/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Amber LaRock is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics surrounding pet health and behavior. Amber is a Licensed Veterinary Technician with 12 years of experience in the field, and she holds a degree in veterinary technology that she earned in 2015. A resident of Chiang Mai, Thailand, Amber enjoys volunteering with animal rescues, reading, and taking care of her two cats.

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