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NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) can help your pet when they are in pain but not all NSAIDs are safe for your pet to take.

Before giving any NSAIDs to your dog or cat, talk with your veterinarian.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs help reduce pain and inflammation. Typically they are given to pets after surgery or as pain management for joint issues. 

When cells are damaged they activate an enzyme called ‘Cyclooxygenase’ (COX). COX stimulates cells to produce responsive substances after the cells are damaged, one of those substances is ‘Prostaglandins’. Prostaglandins contribute to pain and inflammation but also have positive functions in the body too; they help protect the intestinal lining, maintain blood flow to the kidneys, and aid in blood platelet function. 

NSAIDs block COX enzymes and in turn the production of Prostaglandins, this is why certain NSAIDs are dangerous for your pet.


Before starting on NSAIDs always do preliminary blood work to make sure there are not any underlying health issues that could have potentially serious and negative side effects on NSAIDs.

The side effects of NSAIDs are mainly seen in the digestive tract, kidneys, and liver. This is due to NSAIDs' interference with Prostaglandins, including their positive functions. Side effects of NSAIDs are: gastrointestinal issues, vomiting, decreased to no appetite, decreased activity level, and/or diarrhea.


If your dog is going to be using NSAIDs long-term, preliminary and routine blood work is recommended every 6 - 12 months to check on liver and kidney function while your pet is on the medication.


Currently, there are no NSAIDs that are approved for long-term use in cats. Cats are very sensitive to the side effects of NSAIDs. Approved medications and length of use should be determined by your veterinarian.


Certain medications can not be taken with NSAIDs, check with your veterinarian to make sure any current medications are safe to mix with NSAIDs.

- Do not take more than one NSAID at a time.

- Do not mix with Corticosteroids (prednisone), diuretics like furosemide (Lasix or Salix), certain types of antibiotics, anticoagulants, insulin, selective serotonin uptake inhibitors like fluoxetine (Prozac or Reconcile), cimetidine, cyclosporine.

Your veterinarian can determine whether it is safe for your dog and/or cat to take an NSAID.


Dogs on NSAIDs long-term with osteoarthritis can also incorporate joint supplements like glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, and omega-3 fatty acids; these are all safe to use with NSAIDs.

Regular exercise and weight loss (if needed) are also always beneficial in helping with joint pain in dogs and cats.

Safe for pets, with veterinarian approval

COX-2-selective NSAIDs

Human only / NOT APPROVED for dog or cat use

Nonselective OTC NSAIDs

Carprofen (Novox or Rimadyl) Dog

Ibuprofen (Advil)

Robenacoxib (Onsior)               Cat & Dog

Naproxen (Aleve)

Meloxicam (Metacam)               Cat & Dog


Grapipant (Galliprant) / Best for pain and inflammation (long-term use)   Dog

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) - Not “technically” a NSAID but has similar side effects

Deracoxib (Deramaxx)            Dog

Firocoxib (Previcox)                Dog

No over-the-counter NSAIDs for dogs and cats are FDA-approved.

If your dog or cat is having any negative reactions while on NSAIDs seek immediate medical care or call ASPCA Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 if a vet office is not accessible.


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