Surprising Facts About NSAIDs Pet Owners Should Know About

NSAIDs for Pain Management in Dogs and Cats

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help dogs and cats experiencing pain caused by injury, a chronic condition or surgery.

Veterinarians often prescribe NSAIDS for the following:

  • Osteoarthritis in dogs – this condition occurs when cartilage (the protective material that cushions a joint) breaks down over time, causing the bones to rub against each other.
  • Post-surgical pain – to manage pain after surgery in both dogs and cats.


Here are some surprising facts that will allow you to make more informed choices about NSAIDs for pets.


Cats are often given NSAIDs before surgery to manage pain. NSAIDs are not only prescribed for treating inflammation and pain in pets caused by health problems or injury.

The Insight Here: Discuss the benefits of NSAIDs with your veterinarian.


In the past, certain brands were considered the standard choice when it came to offering relief for pets in pain, for example, dogs suffering from osteoarthritis (OA). However, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to prescribing NSAIDs.

One study actually showed a lack of effectiveness of a certain product tested on dogs with chronic OA. Essentially the drug didn’t ease clinical signs of OA because it couldn’t metabolize effectively.

The Insight Here: You have options. If one NSAID isn’t working for your dog, discuss efficacy of other brands with your veterinarian.


Just because a lowest effective dose exists, doesn’t mean it’ll work. The issue here is concern about safety when it comes to long-term treatment. However, many veterinarians are starting to realize the regular label dose works well and typically doesn’t cause harm.

The Insight Here: Playing it safe isn’t necessarily helpful when it comes to NSAID use in pets.


Although all drugs can cause side effects, FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine reduces the risks of side effects associated with NSAIDs by working with drug companies to write clear, comprehensive drug labels for veterinarians and Client Information Sheets for owners.

Every oral NSAID approved for dogs and cats has an accompanying Client Information Sheet for veterinarians to give owners. Important safety information about the drug is detailed.

Understandably, pet owners may be worried about the safety of NSAIDs. Fortunately, all approved NSAIDs pass the same safety standards. Procedures have been implemented to ensure the drugs are safe, yet still effective.

The Insight Here: Speak with your veterinarian about the safety of NSAIDs for pain management for your pet.

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