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Meloxicam for Dogs: Dosage, Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

Meloxicam for Dogs: Dosage, Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

Alpha Paw Sale

Sep 16, 2021
AUTHOR Dr. Addie Reinhard, DVM

Reviewed by Dr. Addie Reinhard, DVM

Dr. Addie Reinhard is an experienced companion animal veterinarian with a passion for providing reliable veterinary insight & expert advice to help pet parents better care for their pups.


  • Meloxicam for dogs is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication commonly prescribed by veterinarians to help reduce pain from arthritis, soft tissue injuries, or surgical pain.
  • The most common side effects of meloxicam are stomach upset including vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Meloxicam can potentially cause severe side effects such as internal bleeding and stomach ulcers, so if you notice blood in the stool or black stool, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • Never give meloxicam to your dog without first consulting with a veterinarian.

Meloxicam for Dogs

Meloxicam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication that veterinarians may prescribe to decrease arthritis pain in dogs. Meloxicam is also known as Metacam. However, do not mistake Meloxicam with melatonin. These are two very different types of pills.

Meloxicam is not FDA-approved for veterinary use, but many veterinarians prescribe this medication because it may be helpful at reducing pain. Meloxicam comes in both tablet and pill form and requires a prescription from a licensed veterinarian for use.

How does meloxicam work in dogs?

Meloxicam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. This means that it decreases inflammation within the body. By decreasing inflammation, the medication also reduces pain.

What is meloxicam used for in dogs?

Meloxicam for dogs is used to treat a variety of conditions. The most common use of meloxicam is treating the pain associated with arthritis. Here is a list of the most common conditions that meloxicam is used to treat in dogs:

Can I give meloxicam to my dog?

It is important to consult with your veterinarian prior to giving any new medications or natural supplements. There are many potential drug interactions and side effects of meloxicam for dogs so only your veterinarian will be able to determine if meloxicam is safe for your dog.

What other pain medications can be used in dogs?

Meloxicam may not be the best pain medication for use in dogs. There are other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories that are formulated specifically for dogs like carprofen which may help reduce pain in your dog.

Certain medications like gabapentin and tramadol may also be recommended by your veterinarian for pain control. For pain associated with canine arthritis, joint supplements may be recommended by your veterinarian for pain relief. Many of these joint supplements contain glucosamine which may help keep your dog’s joints healthy.

Meloxicam Dosage for Dogs

If your veterinarian determines that meloxicam is safe for your dog, they may prescribe a dosage of 0.045 milligrams per pound of body weight by mouth every 24 hours. Do not administer meloxicam to your dog unless you have consulted first with your veterinarian because it can be harmful and dangerous for certain dogs. If you miscalculate the dose of this medication, it could be fatal to your dog.

Meloxicam for Dogs Side Effects and Warnings

Meloxicam has many potential side effects and warnings. The Veterinary Information Network reports that the most common meloxicam side effects include stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea. Serious meloxicam side effects can occur including bloody vomit and black stool.

These serious side effects indicate that your pet may have internal bleeding. Anytime your pet has a side effect from a medication, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

What are the side effects of Metacam for dogs?

VCA specialty hospital reports that the most common side effects of Metacam (meloxicam) include:

  • Stomach upset
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite

There have been several severe side effects reported in dogs using meloxicam. If your pet experiences any of the following rare side effects of this medication, you should stop the medication and call your veterinarian immediately:

  • Yellowing of the skin
  • Black stool
  • Blood in the stool
  • Changes in urination habits
  • Blood in the vomit
  • Pain in the belly
  • Seizures
  • Dizziness
  • Hives

Meloxicam Cautions

If your pet has any other health conditions, it is important to alert your veterinarian. PetMD suggests that meloxicam for dogs should not be used if your pet has any of the following conditions:

  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart failure
  • Bleeding disorders
  • High blood pressure
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Pregnant or nursing animals
  • Animals under 6 weeks of age

Meloxicam Drug Interactions

Meloxicam interactions can occur with many other medications. Using a medication like meloxicam for dogs can be especially dangerous if used with steroids like prednisone.

The following drugs may cause adverse reactions if used concurrently with meloxicam. Be sure to alert your veterinarian if your pet is on any of the following medications:

  • Steroids
  • Prednisone
  • Prednisolone
  • Carprofen
  • Piroxicam
  • Alendronate
  • Aspirin
  • Heparin
  • Warfarin
  • Enalapril
  • Benazepril
  • Furosemide
  • Cyclosporine

Meloxicam Overdose

If you accidentally give your pet too much meloxicam, seek emergency veterinary care immediately. In addition, you can also contact Pet Poison Helpline for additional consultation. Overdoses of meloxicam can be extremely dangerous and can result in death if not promptly treated.

Can meloxicam kill a dog?

It is possible that an overdose of this medication could potentially kill a dog. That is why it is so important to only use this medication under the direction of your veterinarian.

If you attempt to calculate and give the dose on your own at home, you could potentially miscalculate and overdose your dog which could be fatal.

What is the safest anti-inflammatory for dogs?

The safest anti-inflammatory for dogs is carprofen. This is a dog-specific anti-inflammatory medication that was specially formulated for use in dogs. Carprofen is often preferred over meloxicam in dogs because it may be a safer option for long-term pain control.

Final Recommendations on Meloxicam for Dogs

If your pet is painful, you should visit your veterinarian to have your pet examined and evaluated. Your veterinarian may prescribe meloxicam to treat the pain that your dog is experiencing if they determine it is safe for your dog to use.

The most common side effects of meloxicam include vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased appetite. You should always alert your veterinarian if your pet is having a side effect from a medication. While meloxicam may be effective at reducing pain, there may be other safer pain medication options that can be used for your dog. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best medication choices for your dog.

Alpha Paw Sale
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Dr. Addie Reinhard, DVM

Member of Alpha Paw’s Board of Pet Experts

Dr. Addie Reinhard is an experienced companion animal veterinarian who lives in Lexington, KY with her husband, greyhound, and four cats. She graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, and currently practices in the central Kentucky region. Dr. Addie has special interests in preventative care, dermatology, and diseases, and she enjoys creating helpful educational resources related to these topics to help pet parents keep their four-legged family members happy and healthy. We love Dr. Addie’s passion for providing reliable veterinary insight and medical advice to help pet parents like us give their pups the happy & healthy lives they deserve!

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