Pain Relievers for Dogs With Joint Arthritis

Updated November 21, 2016

Dogs who suffer from joint arthritis often require pain-relief medication. Arthritis, characterised by joint pain and stiffness, may cause your dog to avoid jumping or playing.


Veterinarians often prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Rimadyl, meloxicam and ketoprofen, for relief of a dog's arthritis pain. There is some risk of side effects, such as intestinal bleeding, kidney failure and liver failure; NSAIDs should not be prescribed for dogs with kidney or liver disorders.


Corticosteroids reduce the inflammation from joint arthritis, which usually results in the relief of arthritis pain. Prednisone and dexamethasone are frequently prescribed. Corticosteroids have side effects with long-term use and are usually prescribed only for dogs that have not got relief with other medications.


Narcotic medications are used with caution to treat pain in dogs. According to the website, some narcotics are used for short periods of time to treat arthritis pain. These include tramadol, fentanyl and morphine. Side effects, such as vomiting, lethargy and depression of the respiratory system, are common with narcotics.


Dogs with arthritis often get pain relief with injected medication. Adequan is a chondroprotective agent that is given by injection twice a week for four weeks. Adequan relieves pain and helps to heal joints damaged by arthritis inflammation.

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Tracy Hodge has been a professional writer since 2007. She currently writes content for various websites, specializing in health and fitness. Hodge also does ghostwriting projects for books, as well as poetry pieces. She has studied nutrition extensively, especially bodybuilding diets and nutritional supplements.