Dog Medicine For Arthritic Pups

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Arthritis can be devastating for people. But numerous dogs also suffer from this debilitating condition as well. They may feel pain or soreness in their joints, and they might not move around as ably as they did when they were younger. Here's the good news: there are some medications on the market which can treat canine arthritis and improve your pup's quality of life.

Some pet owners might be hesitant to give drugs to their furry friends. If your pup's arthritic symptoms are minor, then forgoing medication might be an option. But your dog might need arthritis medicine if you notice any of these signs:

Limping or lameness
Decreased joint movement
Decreased exercise or activity levels
Reluctance to run, jump, climb stairs or stand
Difficulty running, jumping, climbing stairs or standing
Here is a list of medicines which can help arthritic dogs.

Adequan Canine

Unlike many arthritis medications, this is an injectable medicine which is designed to be directly administered in the muscles where your dog is experiencing discomfort. Generally, a dose is given every three to five days to help control the pain and discomfort associated with non-infectious degenerative arthritis or traumatic arthritis that is present in your dog's synovial joints. The generic name for this drug is polysulfated glycosaminoglycan.

Adequan canine is classified as a Disease-Modifying Osteoarthritis Drug (DMOAD). It works by inhibiting cartilage destruction and diminishing any inflammation that is affecting your dog's joints. The medicine is packaged in multiple dose vials, which are usually sold in pairs.


This drug, also known as deracoxib, is an easy-to-administer chewable tablet which can be given to your pup one or more times per day, depending on your veterinarian's instructions. Unlike Adequan Canine, Deramaxx is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) which is designed to reduce inflammation and pain in dogs who suffer from osteoarthritis.

Many dogs respond dramatically to this treatment. Also, the Deramaxx tablets are flavored, so your pup is more likely to gobble it out of your hand or from its bowl. The medicine is available in strengths of 25mg, 75mg and 100mg in 7, 30 or 90-count bottles.

Novox and Rimadyl

These medicines are packaged either in a chewable tablet form or a caplet for easier swallowing. Either one can be given to your dog once per day or more frequently if necessary. The goals of both medications are to improve mobility and lessen the pain and inflammation found in dogs that have osteoarthritis.

Like Dermaxx, Novox and Rimadyl are both NSAIDs which have the potential to produce significant improvement in your dog's quality of life. The generic name for both medications is called carpofen. Novox comes in 30, 60, or 180-count bottles in doses of 25mg, 75mg and 100mg.


The active ingredient is this medicine is called tepoxalin, which is also an NSAID class drug. Zubrin is formulated as a tablet that rapidly disintegrates once it is placed inside your dog's mouth. It is essential that this medication be given to your dog along with food or right after mealtime.

The medicine has the ability to combat the inflammation, pain and soreness that osteoarthritis inflicts on dogs. If administered regularly, it may possibly control all of the discomfort experienced by your pup due to the disease. A 50mg dosage of Zubrin is available in a 100-count bottle, while the 100mg and 200mg strengths can be purchased in 30, 60, 90 or 180-tablet containers.

Whichever medication you select for your arthritic pup, you should be aware of possible side effects which sometimes occur when these medications are taken. These side effects include:

Dark stools
Appetite loss
Changes in drinking patterns
Changes in urination patterns
Abnormal bleeding
Pain at the site of injection (for Adequan Canine)

In addition, many of these medications should not be given to dogs with certain conditions. Some of these conditions are:

Pre-existing kidney or liver problems
A predisposition to dehydration
Allergic reactions to NSAIDs or aspirin (such as itchy skin, hives, skin redness, or swelling in the face)
Blood in the vomit or stool

It is recommended that pups take their medications at the same time or times each day. Sometimes, pet owners' schedules become erratic, which causes them to miss the time for administering their dog's medicine. If this occurs, it is okay to give the dog the drug as soon as possible after the scheduled dose. But if the time arrives for the next scheduled dose, the pet owner should skip the missed dose altogether. It is not wise to give a dog two doses of medication at one time.

As with all medicines, canine arthritis drugs should be kept out of the reach of children. The medications should be stored at room temperature in a dry, cool place away from heat sources or direct sunlight. They should not be kept in a bathroom, next to the kitchen sink, or in any other locations which may be damp or humid; otherwise, the medicines could possibly break down and lose their potency.

No one wants to see a pup suffer. So if your dog is being slowed by arthritis, talk to your veterinarian soon about finding a medication that will put the pep back in his step! 

Douglas DiMattio is a freelance writer who writes about pet care and products such as dog medicine.

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