Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a cornerstone of arthritis therapy in dogs. Because NSAIDs are so effective at keeping dogs comfortable and active, veterinarians often prescribe them on a daily basis. Since the use of NSAIDs is so widespread, a lot of drug manufacturers have decided to get in on the production of this type of drug. This has led to a proliferation of different types of NSAIDs made specifically for dogs. So, with all the choices available, which one is best for your dog?
The short answer is no one NSAID is best for every individual, but certain NSAIDs do seem to work better for certain individuals. What does this mean for dog owners?
First of all, if your veterinarian has prescribed a particular brand of NSAID, give it a chance. More than likely, your vet has had experience with that specific medication and has developed a confidence in it, which means he or she is in a good position to evaluate how your dog is responding to it. If after a week or so you do not see significant improvement in your dog’s comfort level, it is time to consider switching to a different NSAID. Again, speak with your veterinarian. He or she may have second and third choices that are routinely prescribed under these circumstances. Commonly prescribed NSAIDS include Rimadyl, Novox, Deramaxx, Etogesic, Etodolac, Previcox, and Metacam.
It is always safest to let your dog’s body eliminate one NSAID before starting on another. A five to seven day washout period is appropriate. During that time, you can continue to give your dog supplements and/or pain relieving pet medications that are not NSAIDs to help keep him comfortable.