We explore CBD for pain and inflammation, CBD's function in suffering dogs, the best CBD for dog joint pain, and the safety of CBD in conjunction with traditional pain medications. What is Carprofen? Carprofen is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is used to treat pain and inflammation in dogs. Can Dog CBD interact with other medications that they're taking? Will it have a negative impact or create a great combo for our dog's health?
CBD for Dog Pain
Seeing your dog in pain is not a pleasant experience, and of course, you want to help them in any way you can.
Could CBD for dog pain be a natural alternative to traditional drugs like Buprenorphine, Carprofen, Prednisone, or even opioids like Tramadol and Trazadone?
We explore CBD for pain and inflammation, CBD’s function in suffering dogs, the best CBD for dog joint pain, and the safety of CBD in conjunction with traditional pain medications.
Table Of Contents
- Does CBD work for dogs with pain and inflammation?
- How CBD works to regulate pain and inflammation in dogs
- Acute Pain
- Chronic Pain
- Best CBD for dog joint pain
- Can dogs take CBD with other pain medications?
Does CBD work for dogs with pain and inflammation?
If you have spent time reading our blogs, you are aware of clinical trials and studies about managing canine pain with CBD.
CBD shows properties associated with pain reduction in the mammal ECS (endocannabinoid system), but further studies are needed to understand it fully.
Here are some highlights from available trials, studies, and quotes showing CBD’s potential as a pain reliever.
A Cornell study found that researchers could increase dogs’ comfort levels from arthritic pain using 2 mg/kg of CBD oil twice a day. The results showed a noteworthy decrease in pain and increased activity at weeks two and four of treatment compared to week zero and the placebo group.
Another study by Baylor University found that dogs with osteoarthritis had significantly reduced pain when treated with CBD.
Mark Verdino, MD, stated CBD seems to reduce the reactions of low-level pain stimuli such as mild arthritis.
Fortunately, the sparse trials and studies on CBD do not limit our ability to make good decisions when giving our dogs CBD. The human and canine ECSs function the same way. The similarities open a window into what may be happening in the canine ECS through human studies.
Dr. Gary Richter said there are some differences in how cannabis affects humans and pets, but CBD’s benefits are similar in both species.
Human trials have shown CBD treatment significantly reduced pain. Chris Meletis, ND (naturopathic doctor), discussed a study in which seven kidney transplant patients suffering from pain were given an initial dose of up to 100 mg/day of CBD. Two subjects experienced complete resolution of pain, four had a partial improvement in the first 15 days, and one person did not improve.
Carprofen for Dogs – August 2022
Carprofen is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is used to treat pain and inflammation in dogs. It is also classified under the propionic acid class, which includes other medications like ibuprofen, naproxen, and ketoprofen (13 ).
The use of Carprofen in dogs has not been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the U.S. FDA, NSAIDs manage symptoms of arthritis such as inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and joint pain (14 ) .
NSAIDs are also used to treat osteoarthritis in dogs and even post-surgical pain, particularly pain from orthopedic surgeries and soft tissue procedures (15 ) .
Carprofen is an active ingredient that is marketed under various brand names, including Rimadyl , Zinecarp, Canidryl, Aventicarp, Rycarfa, Rimifin, Carpox, Tergive, Carprodyl, Carprieve, Norocarp, Novox, Quellin, Rovera, Vetprofen, and Levafen. (16 )
How Does Carprofen Work?
According to Dr. Wendy Brooks, DVM, DABVP, an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX) 2 produces prostaglandins that cause pain and inflammation (17 ) . Its counterpart cyclooxygenase (COX) 1 meanwhile makes prostaglandins that are essential to the gastrointestinal and renal functions of mammals (18 ) .
Most NSAIDs, such as aspirin , inhibit both COX enzymes; but in animals, it is ideal that the drug administered to them inhibits COX-2 but not COX-1 (19 ) . Carprofen has been dubbed as a COX-preferential NSAID because it can manage pain and inflammation without affecting the COX-1 enzyme and its benefits.
A study in 1998 was conducted on canines to evaluate which NSAID was more selective in inhibiting COX-2. The study found that Carprofen was the most potent inhibitor of the enzyme (20 ) , therefore more effective and beneficial to dogs.
Why was Carprofen Developed?
In 1983, Carprofen was initially launched in the market for human use; but due to commercial reasons, it was withdrawn 10 years later (21 ) .
Carprofen was relaunched in 1993 as an anti-arthritic medication for dogs.
It has been used since, because compared to other NSAIDs, Carprofen has proven to be one of the safer alternatives. A study in 1997 concluded that Carprofen was safer to use in dogs. The study also outlined its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic properties (22 ) .
Meloxicam is another medication that is as effective in treating pain in dogs post-surgery sans the more severe side effects (23 ) .
Dr. Wendy Brooks, DVM, DABVP wrote about NSAIDs and their side effects that could be detrimental to animal health. Possible side effects that can escalate and become adverse reactions include the following (24 ) :
- Stomach ulceration – this can sometimes lead to perforation and rupture of the stomach, which can be fatal.
- Platelet deactivation – if the pet experiences bleeding disorders, the bleeding may become uncontrollable as platelets are responsible for blood clotting.
- Decreased kidney blood supply – this could result in kidney problems or even kidney failure.
Veterinary medicine needed an NSAID that could relieve pain and inflammation sans the adverse effects; hence, Carprofen use was recommended. It was ideal for long-term use in dogs that require pain relief.
It is important to note that the U.S. FDA has approved Carprofen use in dogs, but not in other animals. Brooks advises against administering Carprofen to cats, as felines are more sensitive to the side effects of NSAIDs compared to canines.
Carprofen Dosage for Dogs
The recommended dosage of Carprofen for dogs is 4.4 mg per kilogram of the dog’s body weight daily (25 ) .
Carprofen has different dosage forms. In the United States (U.S.), Carprofen caplets and chewable tablet formulations are available. Injectable solutions are also an option in the U.S. and European markets.
The usual practice is oral administration of Carprofen in tablet form to dogs. It is recommended that pet owners should administer the drug to their pets with food to lessen the risks of a stomach upset (26 ) .
The medication usually takes effect in one to two hours.
Carprofen should be stored at room temperature, between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C).
Carprofen Drug Interactions
Carprofen should not be taken with other NSAIDs. These include aspirin, deracoxib, etodolac, firocoxib, meloxicam, and tepoxalin. It should also not be administered with steroids, such as cortisone, dexamethasone, prednisone, and triamcinolone (27 ) .
Carprofen should be used with caution if the dog is also taking the following (28 ) :
- ACE inhibitors (for heart and blood pressure conditions)
- Nephrotoxic medications (kidney-damaging drugs like cyclosporine)
- Highly protein-bound medications
- Oral antidiabetics
- Loop diuretics
- Tricyclic antidepressants
Side Effects of Carprofen in Dogs
Potential side effects of Carprofen are usually related to the gastrointestinal tract, such as (29 ) :
- Constipation (30 )
- Temporary lack of appetite
In the rare situation that liver and kidney side effects are observed on dogs, veterinarians highly recommend that these dogs should undergo blood work. Senior dogs and pets that are taking Carprofen long-term should also take blood tests so that experts can monitor their liver enzymes and kidney values.
More serious side effects include the following (31 ) :
- Changes in appetite
- Severe vomiting
- Black, bloody, or tarry stool (melena)
- Behavioral changes (increased or decreased activity, sudden aggression, or restlessness)
- Neurological symptoms (incoordination, paralysis, seizures, or disorientation) (32 )
- Increased or decreased drinking
- Urinary symptoms (increased urination and changes in color or smell of urine)
- Dermatologic symptoms (scabs, itchiness, or redness)
- Jaundice (yellowing of gums, skin, or whites of the eyes)
- Allergic reactions (facial swelling or hives)
- Hair loss
Other precautions before administering this pain medication to dogs (33 ) :
- Do not administer Carprofen to dogs with low platelet counts or with bleeding disorders like Von Willebrand disease.
- Carprofen should not be used on dogs allergic to the drug or NSAIDs from the same class. Dogs taking other NSAIDs or corticosteroids like prednisone should not use Carprofen, too.
- Carprofen should be used with caution in puppies younger than six weeks of age, more senior, pregnant, or lactating dogs, dehydrated pets, or dogs with preexisting conditions like liver, heart, gastrointestinal, and kidney diseases.
- The drug also affects bone healing, so it should be used with caution in pets that have undergone bone surgery or have bone injuries.
The Pfizer Lawsuit
Rimadyl (Carprofen’s brand name) has had many controversies since Pfizer launched it in 1997.
According to The Wall Street Journal (34 ) , Rimadyl’s launch campaign was accompanied by television commercials promoting the use of the drug in dogs. These T.V. spots were removed because of several complaints, including the death of Montana, a Siberian husky.
Upon the prescription of a veterinarian, Angela Giglio gave her dog Montana Rimadyl, to alleviate her pet’s stiff back legs. Initially, the drug worked, but Montana started going limp, wobbling, vomiting, and experiencing seizures. Eventually, Montana had to be put to sleep.
Giglio filed a complaint against Pfizer. As compensation, Pfizer offered Giglio $440 “as a gesture of goodwill.” Giglio flatly refused.
Pet parents Christopher Cooper and Shelley Smith had also filed a lawsuit against Pfizer when their golden retriever Sophie died because of Rimadyl use (35 ) .
According to the lawsuit, Sophie had undergone surgery for a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament and was prescribed several medications, including Rimadyl. After 11 days, the dog started “experiencing symptoms described by two Pfizer veterinarians as Rimadyl toxicity.”
Sophie was hospitalized for 13 days. Even when the dog was released, she continued to suffer. On July 26, 2009, Sophie died from severe liver degradation. These events propelled the couple to file a lawsuit against Pfizer.
The lawsuit accused the pharmaceutical giant of negligence because they had not informed pet owners of the risks that come with Rimadyl use.
In 2013, Pfizer settled the lawsuit.
Natural Alternatives to Carprofen for Dogs
Instead of taking their chances on NSAID therapy and its risks, some dog owners are resorting to natural alternatives to reduce their pet’s osteoarthritis and postoperative pain.
Natural Herbs and Dogs
According to an extensive report on veterinary herbal medicine (36 ) , some plants have anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial in treating osteoarthritis. These include Boswellia and Arnica.
When applied topically, Capsicum (known as pepper) helps treat osteoarthritis and other illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis, peripheral neuropathies, and fibromyalgia.
Another herb called Guggul helps in reducing pain and stiffness and improves function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.
Acupuncture and Dogs
Veterinarians are also prescribing acupuncture as a possible alternative for control of postoperative pain and alleviation of the clinical signs of osteoarthritis.
Acupuncture originates from ancient Chinese practices. It helps the body heal by correcting its energy imbalances. The practice involves inserting fine needles into “acupuncture points” in a dog’s body where nerves and blood vessels converge (37 ) .
Dr. Lynn Buzhardt, DVM says acupuncture improves blood flow and relaxes the muscles where the needles have been inserted as well as other muscles in the dog’s body. She adds that acupuncture stimulates the release of pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory substances that are innate in the body.
Buzhardt believes that acupuncture’s most significant advantage is that it does not have systemic side effects, unlike most anti-inflammatory and pain medications.
CBD Oil and Dogs
CBD’s Therapeutic Effects
Another alternative worth exploring for the relief of pain from dog osteoarthritis and surgery is cannabidiol (CBD).
CBD, the nonpsychoactive component of cannabis plants, has anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit dogs that have osteoarthritis and other painful conditions.
A study in 2018 conducted on dogs with osteoarthritis found that CBD oil helps increase comfort and activity level in the test subjects. Long-term studies have yet to be conducted, but the researchers reported that “short-term effects appear to be positive” (38 ) .
Colorado State University’s Dr. Stephanie McGrath, DVM, Ph.D., together with her team, has also conducted clinical trials on CBD’s effectiveness in treating dog osteoarthritis; the report has not been published yet.
Several studies conducted on rats have likewise proven CBD’s anti-arthritic properties. A study in 2000 outlines CBD’s immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory actions that have helped treat arthritis in the mice test subjects (39 ) .
A 2016 study, also on rats, reported that topically administered CBD helped relieve arthritis, pain-related behaviors, and inflammation sans observable side effects (40 ) .
Researchers have also found that CBD may help prevent further development of osteoarthritis pain and joint neuropathy (41 ) .
A 2017 study has also shown that CBD has promising therapeutic effects on postoperative pain, another condition that Carprofen relieves. CBD helps in pain suppression by reducing the distress that comes with pain (42 ) .
Even if the studies cited were conducted on rats, all animals except insects have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that works the same way (43 ) . Therefore, if CBD is found to be beneficial on rats, it is suggested that it can be as effective on dogs and humans, too.
The ECS is the system that regulates the functions of cannabinoids in the body, particularly those that affect mood, pain reception, and the immune system.
Choosing the Right CBD Products for Dogs
CBD comes in many forms. It may be administered to dogs as a pet tincture (drops) through massages or by combining the oil with pet food or treats . Topical CBD is also available (CBD hemp oil, creams, salve, or balms).
The American Kennel Club (AKC) says that the best CBD format to administer to dogs is CBD in liquid form (44 ) , so pet owners can adjust the dose by drops.
A study in 2018 (45 ) compared the effects of CBD given in different formats to healthy dogs. The researchers administered the CBD products as oral microencapsulated oil beads, oral CBD-infused oil, and CBD-infused transdermal cream.
Among the three CBD formulations, the researchers recommended oral CBD-infused oil because they found that it had the most favorable pharmacokinetic profile.
Pharmacokinetics is the movement of a drug into, through, and out of the body. It is influenced by patient-related factors and the drug’s chemical composition (46 ) .
CBD for veterinary use has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but in the 2018 study on dogs with osteoarthritis, a full-spectrum CBD product was used (47 ) .
Full-spectrum CBD products make use of the whole cannabis plant to achieve an “entourage effect.” This phenomenon happens when all the active ingredients synergize to get the maximum therapeutic benefits from the plant.
Other CBD types are broad-spectrum and CBD isolate. Unlike full-spectrum CBD, these two other types do not make use of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.
Broad-spectrum CBD is made of cannabidiol and terpenes, the compounds that provide the plant its distinctive aromas and flavors.
CBD isolate is derived from pure cannabidiol.
Before purchasing a CBD product, dog owners should check if the product’s batch reports are accessible. These are lab analyses (certificate of analysis) from third-party sources verifying the contents of a product.
A study conducted in 2018 revealed that in the 84 CBD products that the researchers reviewed, 26% contained less CBD than labeled, 43% contained more CBD than what the label declared, and 21% had THC concentrations high enough to intoxicate children (48 ) .
Pet owners should be cautious when purchasing CBD products.
Dog owners should also ensure that the product they are looking to buy is certified organic and has undergone Current Good Manufacturing Process (CGMP) regulations.
Pet parents should also ascertain that the CBD product has no contaminants like heavy metals or pesticides.
CBD Dosage for Dogs
There is no standard CBD dosing chart for dogs, but the recommendation is to begin dosing pets with small amounts of CBD; if there are no adverse effects, the dosage may be gradually increased.
The researchers of the 2018 study gave a CBD dosage of 2 mg per kilogram of the dog’s body weight to help increase comfort and activity levels in dogs with osteoarthritis. CBD oil was administered to the test subjects twice daily for one month (49 ) .
CBD also has side effects on canines; these include dry mouth, lowered blood pressure, and drowsiness (50 ) .
Before using CBD for pain management in dogs, pet owners should inform their veterinarian first.
U.S. veterinarians cannot prescribe CBD to their patients. They are also not allowed to instruct or encourage the usage of CBD products; however, they can be consulted by pet owners if the pet parents have devised their treatment for their dog (51 ) .
It is best to consult with veterinarians who have experience with CBD.
Carprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Its use in dogs has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), particularly in treating canine osteoarthritis and post-surgical pain.
Initially, it was developed for humans but was discontinued because of commercial reasons. It was relaunched and marketed to treat arthritis in canines.
The U.S. FDA has not approved its use in other animals. Its use in cats is not advised because they are more sensitive to the side effects of NSAIDs compared to dogs.
Among the other NSAIDs, Carprofen is one of the safer ones. Typical side effects are usually related to gastrointestinal conditions, including vomiting, diarrhea, ulcers, constipation, temporary lack of appetite, and tiredness.
Carprofen is in the market under several brand names, one of which is Pfizer’s Rimadyl. Launched in 1997, the Rimadyl brand became controversial as several dog owners have complained of its effects that have led to the death of some dogs who have taken the drug.
Some of Carprofen’s potential side effects can be detrimental to a dog’s health. The most adverse reactions include black, bloody, or tarry stool, behavioral changes such as sudden aggression, neurological conditions like seizures, changes in a dog’s urinary pattern, dermatologic symptoms, and allergic reactions like itchiness and hives.
In treating pain-related dog conditions like osteoarthritis, pet owners are turning to natural alternatives. Herbs such as Boswellia, Arnica, Capsicum (more known as pepper), and Guggul have anti-inflammatory properties and other benefits that aid in the treatment of pain conditions in canines.
Veterinarians also recommend acupuncture as a natural remedy to osteoarthritis.
CBD oil is a natural alternative to Carprofen that is safer than the drug and other NSAIDs, and useful in treating the clinical signs of osteoarthritis.
Several studies conducted mostly on rats have proven that CBD has potential therapeutic and anti-arthritic benefits. However, the U.S. FDA has not approved its use in pets.
CBD’s anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties make it a natural alternative worth exploring. It is available in different formats, but a liquid formulation in the oil or tincture form is more recommended for dogs.
Liquid CBD makes it easier for pet owners to adjust their dog’s dosage.
Before adding CBD to their canine’s osteoarthritis or postoperative pain medication regimen, pet owners should always consult with their veterinarian first.
CBD for Dogs And Its Interaction With Other Medication
Dog CBD interaction is a reaction between CBD and the other drug your dog is taking. These days, more and more people are now including CBD in their dog’s everyday life.
However, is CBD oil interacting with other medications okay? Below, we’ll tackle if dog CBD can have a negative side effect on dogs taking other medication.
The benefits of CBD are great and are a safe supplement in general. However, will it complement other medications? Well, it depends on the drug they are taking.
Dog CBD Interaction with Medications
CBD and Rimadyl interaction for dogs
Rimadyl is a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug or NSAID. NSAIDs are a class of drugs prescribed to manage pain or reduce inflammation in dogs.
Studies have shown that it doesn’t have any drug interaction with CBD. But that doesn’t mean it will not exist in the future.
In this case, dog CBD interaction will depend on the dog’s body chemistry and the dosage of CBD or Rimadyl. CBD can help maintain the dog’s well-being and balance with proper dosage.
CBD and Melatonin Interaction for Dogs
What even is Melatonin? Melatonin is a hormone released by the pineal gland in the brain that helps regulate the dog’s sleep and even waking up.
The powerful combination of CBD and Melatonin helps the dog’s wellness support. Some of the benefits found in CBD and Melatonin provide the same effects for your dogs.
CBD is known for its calming properties. Melatonin, on the other hand, provides comfort and restful sleep. This combo can work together to help maintain the dog’s well-being and proper rest.
CBD and Benadryl for Dogs
Benadryl is an antihistamine that is given to dogs that experience allergy symptoms.
It is usually prescribed by vets to treat environmental allergies or allergies caused by insect bites or stings.
It works by blocking the histamine (H-1) activity that causes allergic symptoms on a dog’s body. There is no known interaction between Benadryl and CBD.
But there can still be risks. CBD and Benadryl are both metabolized through the cytochrome P450 Enzyme System. This can increase the chances of doubling the side effects of both CBD and Benadryl.
It can potentially cause severe drowsiness or fatigue. We suggest checking with your vet before combining these two.
CBD And Glucosamine Interactions
CBD and Glucosamine can be an excellent combination for a dog that suffers from joint problems like arthritis or joint pain in general.
Glucosamine is one of the most popular over-the-counter arthritis medicines. It is usually given to manage pain on the joints caused by hip dysplasia. Glucosamine can also help with the treatment of spinal disc injury.
With the two-punch combo of CBD and Glucosamine, it can help reduce pain and inflammation from your dog’s joints.
CBD and Prednisone for Dogs
Dog CBD interaction with Prednisone is not recommended for dogs. Prednisone is a prescription steroid used to reduce inflammations, treat allergy symptoms, arthritis, and more.
CBD and Prednisone together are not recommended for dogs as they can increase the side effects of both. They are both inhibitors of the CYP450 Enzyme System.
If you’re planning to give CBD oil to your dogs while they are on different medications, it is best to consult with your vet in these situations.
CBD and Meloxicam Lethal Combo for Dogs
Meloxicam, likewise Rimadyl, is a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug or NSAID. Meloxicam is prescribed as a pain killer that helps ease inflammation in dogs.
There is a chance that taking NSAIDs with CBD can increase the effects of these pain killers. It all comes down to proper dosage on meds and supplements.
You, as the owner, have the responsibility to research, talk to your vet, and monitor your dogs when taking the CBD route in addition to meloxicam.
Commonly Asked Questions
Will Benadryl help with Dog Anxiety?
Well, yes and no. You have to identify what kind or cause of their anxiety.
Benadryl can help reduce dog anxiety symptoms. It is also used as a sedative to help dogs during fireworks, thunderstorms, or traveling. But overall, Benadryl is not helpful for dogs struggling with anxiety or phobias.
It has high efficiency in helping dogs with motion sickness. However, it can have opposite side effects on rare occasions where your dogs will be hyperactive rather than sedated.
Proper Dosage of Benadryl for Dogs
Giving dogs about 2-4mg of Benadryl for every kilogram of body weight is good. However, it is still best to consult with your vet and wait for their approval before you take action.
Administering the correct dosage of Benadryl for dog anxiety is crucial. The wrong amount can have serious consequences.
How often do I give CBD oil to my dog?
This all depends on the dog’s condition. Some dogs can benefit from daily doses, and others can not.
For example, dogs suffering from arthritis or seizures can benefit from a daily or twice a day dose of CBD between 2-8mg/kg or lower. An interval of eight to twelve hours is advised when CBD twice a day.
A good rule of thumb when administering CBD oil for your dog is 1-5mg CBD for every 10 pounds of their body weight.
What happens if your dog takes too much CBD?
CBD is a non-toxic and non-psychoactive compound meaning it will not get ‘high’. However, when taken too much intense, concentrated CBD, potential side effects can develop.
A few of these symptoms are lethargy (lack of energy), vomiting, drowsiness, urinary incontinence, and hypersensitivity.
Dog CBD Interaction with other Medication Summary
Due to a lack of research, there are still many things that we don’t yet know about the world of CBD, not just for humans but also for dogs. But we cannot deny the great benefits of CBD for dogs.
When giving CBD to our dogs, there are still many things to consider. We must focus not only on the correct dosage but also on other medications that they need.
Studies showed that CBD has no known interaction with medications, but it doesn’t mean it will stay like that. Dog CBD interaction will depend on the dog, CBD, and the medicine.
Our vets usually prescribe these medicines. It is still the best choice to consult with your vet in CBD drug interactions.
Since the FDA doesn’t regulate CBD products yet, most US Veterinary and Pharmacy boards are advised to avoid prescribing or discussing CBD until further notice.
Always remember that you are the one in control when it comes to CBD oil drug interactions.
You have the power to help your dogs maintain a well-balanced life. Research, consult with your vet, and monitor.