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

Written by Amber LaRock
Updated: September 13, 2023
Share on:


Has your veterinarian prescribed Rimadyl to your painful pup? Maybe your dog is suffering from inflammatory arthritis or a recent soft tissue injury, leading your vet to prescribe this popular NSAID to offer relief.

You likely have questions about what this medication is and how it can help your dog, so let’s discuss the details of Rimadyl use in dogs below. We will cover the potential side effects, dosing, potential risks, and more!

Let’s get started.

What Is Rimadyl?

Sick dog Jack Russell Terrier waiting get pill from hand of owner or doctor. Pet health care, veterinary drugs, treatments, medical food supplement concept

Rimadyl is one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the veterinary space.

©Liudmyla Guniavaia/Shutterstock.com

Rimadyl is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication used to treat inflammation and pain in our canine companions. Rimadyl is a brand of NSAID that is only used in animal medicine, but the main ingredient in Rimadyl, carprofen, was once use in human medicine as well. Rimadyl is now the most common NSAID prescribed to manage inflammation in dogs.

Is Rimadyl Safe For Dogs?

Rimadyl is safe for use in dogs when following your veterinarian’s guidance. Human NSAIDs can cause life-threatening side effects when used in dogs, especially if they are used long term to manage inflammation. Rimadyl can offer your pup the same inflammation fighting benefits without the serious health risks. Rimadyl is a safe way to combat painful inflammation in your dog when you follow your vet’s dosing instructions.

Why Do Dogs Take Rimadyl?

Rimadyl is used to treat or manage a variety of inflammatory conditions. Let’s list some of the most common reasons vet’s prescribe Rimadyl for dogs below.

  • Osteoarthritis
  • After surgery to manage inflammation and pain
  • Soft tissue injuries of the skin, muscles, and tendons
  • Inflammation from ear infections
  • Inflammation from skin infections
  • Injuries of the back and spine, only when steroids are not prescribed
  • Managing a fever

As you can see, Rimadyl can be used to treat a variety of inflammatory issues in our canine friends. We suggest trusting your vet’s guidance if they think Rimadyl is the right option for your dog.

How To Give Rimadyl To Dogs

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

Rimadyl is commonly used to manage painful arthritis in dogs.

©Jaromir Chalabala/Shutterstock.com

Rimadyl can be prescribed for use in dogs in pill form. Rimadyl can technically be given on an empty stomach, but some dogs may experience nausea if they don’t have any food in their stomach. To prevent the risk of nausea or vomiting, we always suggest giving your dog their dose of Rimadyl with a small meal.

What Is The Dose Of Rimadyl In Dogs?

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

The common dose of Rimadyl for dogs is 2 mg per pound of body weight. It is usually given every 12 to 24 hours for 3-7 days, but it can also be prescribed for long term use in lower doses. For example, if Rimadyl is prescribed to manage arthritis in dogs, they may receive a lower dose to be given once a daily for extended periods. Rimadyl dosing will vary based on the condition that is being treated, so it’s important to follow your vet’s guidance.

Does Rimadyl Cause Any Side Effects In Dogs?

Rimadyl is generally safe for dogs when following your vet’s guidance, but just like any other medication, it can cause a few mild side effects. Some of the most common side effects with Rimadyl use in dogs include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Kidney & liver complications

Thankfully, any side effects associated with Rimadyl use in dogs are mild, but it’s still best to be on the lookout for the side effects we listed above. We suggest reaching out to your vet if your dog develops any of these side effects, as they may be able to offer you guidance on how to relieve your dog’s symptoms.

Can Dogs Be Allergic To Rimadyl?

Allergic reactions to Rimadyl are incredibly rare in dogs, but not impossible. You will likely notice any signs of an allergic or adverse reaction to the medication within the first 72 hours of taking it, so it’s important to be on the lookout for any strange symptoms during that window.

Some potential signs of an allergic or adverse reaction to Rimadyl in dogs include:

  • Skin irritation or redness
  • Sudden lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Black or tarry stool
  • Changes in behavior like aggression or agitation
  • Suddenly drinking large amounts of water
  • Changes in urinary habits

We suggest reaching out to your vet immediately if you notice any of the above symptoms in your dog soon after starting Rimadyl. Your veterinary team will be able to handle their reaction appropriately.

The Potential Risks With Rimadyl Use In Dogs

Veterinary treatment - lovely Maltese dog and friendly veterinary

It’s important to keep any medications in a safe place that your dog cannot access. Consuming a large amount of Rimadyl can lead to fatal health complications.


Rimadyl is generally safe for use in dogs when following your vet’s guidance, but there are a few potential risks to be aware of with this popular NSAID.

The first risk associated with Rimadyl use in dogs is the risk of exacerbating underlying kidney or liver disease. Rimadyl can be difficult for the body to process if they have any kidney or liver dysfunction, which is why your vet will likely suggest blood tests for any senior dogs that need to take this medication. If your senior pup has a healthy liver and kidneys, then there won’t likely be any issues. However, your vet will likely recommend repeating these blood tests every six months if your dog needs to take Rimadyl long-term.

Dr. Amy Nicole Lewis, a veterinarian with Worldwide Veterinary Services told A-Z Animals that your vet will likely perform blood tests to measure your dog’s kidney and liver function if they need to be on Rimadyl for extended periods, especially in senior dogs. This will ensure that your dog does not have any underlying kidney or liver dysfunction before starting the medication. By doing so, this will decrease the risk of kidney or liver decline.

Another potential danger with Rimadyl use in dogs is the serious health complications that come along with an accidental Rimadyl overdose. Rimadyl overdose can cause acute kidney and liver failure in dogs and gastrointestinal bleeding, often requiring aggressive hospitalization to save the dog’s life. Even if the dog recovers from their Rimadyl overdose with veterinary care, many pups will have permanent organ damage. This is why it is so important to keep any prescribed medications in an area your dog cannot access. Always reach out to your vet immediately if they have consumed more than their intended dose of Rimadyl.

The last potential danger associated with Rimadyl use in dogs are the complications that come along with mixing Rimadyl with any form of steroid. Taking a steroid and an NSAID at the same time can cause gastrointestinal ulcerations and bleeding in dogs, and this can be a fatal situation for some dogs. While steroids are the main drug interaction to be aware of, it is always important to let you vet know if your dog is taking any other medications.

How Do I Get Rimadyl For My Dog?

Rimadyl is a powerful NSAID that can only be found at your veterinarian’s office. It can be used to manage arthritis, soft tissue injuries, post-operative inflammation, and more. It is considered a relatively safe medication with minimal side effects, but you can limit any post-administration nausea by giving it with a small meal. We suggest reaching out to your vet if you think your dog can benefit from the use of Rimadyl!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Yana Tikhonova

Ready to discover the top 10 cutest dog breeds in the entire world?

How about the fastest dogs, the largest dogs and those that are -- quite frankly -- just the kindest dogs on the planet? Each day, AZ Animals sends out lists just like this to our thousands of email subscribers. And the best part? It's FREE. Join today by entering your email below.

What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?

Share on:
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.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.