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

Written by Amber LaRock
Updated: November 1, 2023
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Has your veterinarian prescribed Metacam to your painful canine friend? You likely have questions about this common medication and how it can help your dog, so let’s break down everything you need to know about Metacam for dogs below!

What Is Metacam?

Pill popper for dogs

Metacam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication 

used to manage inflammation and pain in dogs.

©JOKE_PHATRAPONG/Shutterstock.com

Metacam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication used to manage inflammation, pain, and fever in dogs. It was created to tackle inflammation without the risk of gastrointestinal irritation that is commonly seen with other NSAID medications. Metacam was initially a human medication, but it was enhanced with a dog-friendly flavor that better suits our canine companions. It has also been modified to offer dog-safe concentrations.

Is Metacam Safe For Dogs?

Metacam is safe for use in dogs when following your vets guidance. Metacam is a safe alternative to human NSAIDs in dogs, as medications like naproxen and ibuprofen can lead to life-threatening side effects like gastrointestinal bleeding and organ failure. Metacam tackles painful inflammation in dogs without the major health risks of traditional NSAIDs.

Why Do Dogs Take Metacam?

Metacam is used to manage a variety of conditions that lead to inflammation in dogs. Some of the most common conditions that benefit from the use of Metacam include:

  • Pain and inflammation from joint disease like arthritis, hip dysplasia, and elbow dysplasia
  • Post-operative inflammation
  • Injuries of the back and spine (only when steroids are not prescribed)
  • Soft tissue injuries like muscle injuries, lacerations, and other tissue trauma
  • Managing a fever
  • Inflammation from ear or skin infections

Metacam may also be used off-label, so it is not uncommon for vets to use Metacam for reasons that are not listed above.

How Do I Give My Dog Metacam?

Owner handing a pill to a puppy

Metacam can be used to manage inflammation after surgery, joint pain, back injuries, fever, and more.

©iStock.com/Cunaplus_M.Faba

Metacam can be found in liquid, pill, and oral spray form. It can also be given in the form of an injection at your vet’s office if your little one is experiencing a significant amount of pain. Vets often give one dose of injectable Metacam when they initially prescribe it at the clinic, as this helps the NSAID jump into action quickly. Your vet can then send your pet home with an oral form of Metacam to continue for the days to follow.

Metacam can be given safely without food, but some dogs are known to struggle with nausea if the get their dose on an empty stomach. We always suggest offering your dog their dose of Metacam with a small meal to prevent any nausea or vomiting.

What Is The Dose Of Metacam For Dogs?

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

The standard dose of Metacam 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 20 pound dog may be prescribed 2 mg to be given once every 24 hours, but you will offer your pup 4 mg for their first dose. This first dose is referred to as a loading dose, and it is very common with medications that target inflammation.

Dr. Amy Nicole Lewis, a veterinarian with Worldwide Veterinary Services told A-Z Animals that while your vet will tell you how much Metacam to give your dog, you will also be sent home with an easy to use Metacam syringe. The Metacam syringe will be labeled to fit your dog’s weight range. For example, if you have a 20 pound dog, you will up the medication to the 20 pound mark on the syringe. It’s very straight forward.

Does Metacam Have Any Side Effects In Dogs?

Veterinarian giving a Veterinarian giving a chihuaha a pilla pill

The Metacam syringe will be labeled to fit your dog’s weight range, so you simply draw up an amount of medication that hits your dog’s weight marker on the syringe.

©iStock.com/Yana Tikhonova

Metacam is typically safe for dogs when following your vet team’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 in dogs that take Metacam include:

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

The most common side effect seen with Metacam use in dogs is mild gastrointestinal upset like diarrhea, vomiting, or lethargy. However, giving their dose of Metacam with food can cut down on any bothersome GI upset.

Your vet may also recommend performing blood tests to rule out any kidney or liver dysfunction before sending your dog home with a Metacam prescription. NSAIDs like Metacam can worsen kidney or liver conditions in some dogs, so it’s important to make sure that your dog’s body can tolerate the medication before it is given.

How Do I Get Metacam For My Dog?

Metacam is a popular NSAID that can only be found at your vet’s office. We suggest reaching out to your veterinarian if you think your dog can benefit from the use of an NSAID like Metacam!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Andy Gin/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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