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8 Best Arthritis Medications for Dogs in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Brooke Billingsley

Last Updated on April 30, 2024 by Dogster Team

8 Best Arthritis Medications for Dogs in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

VET APPROVED

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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senior dog lying on a wooden surfaceArthritis is a common disease in older dogs and can become worse over time. Without proper management, many dogs live with long-term pain and discomfort due to their arthritis. If you suspect your dog may have arthritis, a vet visit is needed to verify the diagnosis and start treatment for your dog.

This article aims to help you find a starting point for discussing this with your vet, however never attempt to medicate your dog without a veterinarian’s prescription. We have found some of the best arthritis medications, keep in mind that like any other medication, there are secondary effects and risks that must be considered and evaluated by a trained professional.

These meds are some of the best for dog joint pain and can help give your dog a new life as part of a proper management regimen. While most of the arthritis medications on the market are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, there are some meds on this list that may surprise you.

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A Quick Look at Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Winner
Deracoxib Deracoxib
  • Four dosages available
  • Scored, chewable tablets
  • Most dogs enjoy the flavor
  • Second place
    Carprofen Carprofen
  • Best value
  • Three dosages available
  • Chewable tablets
  • Third place
    Galliprant Galliprant
  • Three dosages available
  • Once per day dosing
  • Easy to cut or break
  • Amantadine Amantadine
  • Multifunctional medication
  • Highly effective for some dogs
  • Budget-friendly option
  • Meloxicam Meloxicam
  • Easy to dose liquid with a special syringe
  • Well-tolerated flavor and easy to hide in food
  • Good option for small dogs
  • The 8 Best Arthritis Medications for Dogs

    1. Deracoxib – Best Overall

    Deracoxib

    Form: Chewable tablet
    Dosage: 12 mg, 25 mg, 75 mg, 100 mg
    Type of medication: NSAID

    The best overall arthritis medication for dogs is Deracoxib, which is a generic NSAID medication. It’s available in four dosages, and the tablets are scored, making for easy cutting or breaking. The tablets are a flavored chewable that many dogs are willing to eat without additional coaxing, although it is recommended to give this medication with food instead of on an empty stomach.

    This medication helps by inhibiting an enzyme that is responsible for the production of inflammatory mediators. This medication should not be used in conjunction with other NSAIDs or steroids as it can lead to severe side effects. It is one of the more affordable arthritis medications for dogs.

    Pros
    • Four dosages available
    • Scored, chewable tablets
    • Most dogs enjoy the flavor
    • Inhibits inflammation
    • Affordable for most budgets
    Cons
    • Can cause severe side effects if used with steroids or other NSAID

    2. Carprofen – Best Value

    Carprofen

    Form: Chewable tablet
    Dosage: 25 mg, 75 mg, 100 mg
    Type of medication: NSAID

    Carprofen is a generic NSAID medication that is the best arthritis medication for dogs for the money, retailing for a budget-friendly price. This medication is available in three dosages and is in a chewable tablet form that many dogs will accept. It should be offered with food, though. It works by limiting the body’s production of prostaglandins, which are physiologically active lipid compounds that can have hormone-like effects.

    Prostaglandins have a strong local vasodilator effect and play a key role in the inflammatory response leading to swelling and pain. This medication may not be suitable for dogs with liver, kidney, or stomach problems, so it’s important to only give it as prescribed.

    Pros
    • Great value
    • Three dosages available
    • Chewable tablets
    • Inhibits prostaglandin production
    Cons
    • May not be suitable in liver, kidney, or gastrointestinal tract problems

    3. Galliprant – Premium Choice

    Galliprant (grapiprant) Tablets for Dogs

    Form: Tablet
    Dosage: 20 mg, 60 mg, 100 mg
    Type of medication: NSAID

    Galliprant is a name-brand medication that is the premium pick for arthritis medications for dogs, so it does retail for a premium price. Currently, this medication is not available in a generic form. It’s available in three dosage sizes, but the tablets are not flavored, so they need to be hidden in something to give to most dogs. It’s only given once per day, and the tablets are easy to cut as needed to adjust the dosage.

    This NSAID works by copying the size and shape of prostaglandins and occupying the cellular receptors before the prostaglandins. It’s a first-of-its-kind medication that focuses specifically on the pain receptor associated with osteoarthritis, making it ideal for arthritic dogs.

    Pros
    • Three dosages available
    • Once per day dosing
    • Easy to cut or break
    • Focused on pain receptors
    • Targets the pain receptor associated with osteoarthritis
    Cons
    • Premium price
    • No generic available

    4. Amantadine

    Amantadine HCl (Generic) Capsules

    Form: Capsule
    Dosage: 100 mg
    Type of medication: Antiviral, dopamine promoter

    Amantadine seems like an unusual medication on its surface since it’s an antiviral, but it’s also a dopamine promoter that has shown efficacy for arthritis pain. This medication usually works best in conjunction with other arthritis medications, but it is effective on its own for some dogs. Most people who use this for their dog’s arthritis find it highly effective.

    This is a budget-friendly option for caring for your dog’s arthritis pain. It is available only in capsule form in one dosage, so it may need to be compounded for small dogs for appropriate dosing.

    Pros
    • Multifunctional medication
    • Can be used on its own or in conjunction with other modalities
    • Highly effective for some dogs
    • Budget-friendly option
    Cons
    • Only available in one dosage
    • Comes in capsules

    5. Meloxicam

    Meloxicam

    Form: Liquid
    Dosage: 1.5 mg/ml
    Type of medication: NSAID

    Meloxicam is an oral liquid NSAID that is easy to dose, thanks to its special dosing syringe that has your dog’s weight right on the syringe. It’s malt-flavored and well-tolerated by most dogs. It can also be mixed into food or hidden in other ways to make it easier to give to your dog if they don’t like the taste.

    It works by reducing inflammation and controlling pain and discomfort, especially pain and discomfort associated with arthritis. This medication can become cost-prohibitive in the long run for large dogs, but it’s a great option for small dogs and for short-term use.

    Pros
    • Easy to dose liquid with a special syringe
    • Well-tolerated flavor and easy to hide in food
    • Reduces inflammation and controls pain and discomfort
    • Good option for small dogs
    Cons
    • Can become cost-prohibitive for large dogs

    6. Previcox

    Previcox

    Form: Chewable tablet
    Dosage: 57 mg, 227 mg
    Type of medication: NSAID

    Previcox is another NSAID that works well for many dogs. It is available in two dosages and comes in a chewable tablet form that is scored for easy dosing. It’s a great option for orthopedic and soft tissue pain and discomfort, making it a good choice for managing arthritis in dogs. It cannot be used in conjunction with other NSAID medications or steroids.

    According to the manufacturer, this medication cannot be safely dosed in dogs under 12.5 pounds, so it’s only appropriate for dogs over this weight. It is cost-prohibitive for many people, although it is highly effective against arthritis discomfort.

    Pros
    • Two dosages available
    • Chewable, scored tablet
    • Works well for orthopedic and soft tissue pain
    • Highly effective
    Cons
    • Not safe for use in dogs under 12.5 pounds
    • Premium price

    7. Adequan Canine

    Adequan Canine

    Form: Injection
    Dosage: 100 mg/ml
    Type of medication: DMOAD

    Adequan is a great option for helping manage your dog’s arthritis, but it is an injection that may need to be administered by your veterinarian. This medication is a disease-modifying osteoarthritis drug that helps reduce inflammation, lubricate the joints, and help encourage healthy cartilage growth. It is a cost-prohibitive medication for many people due to its premium price.

    It’s generally not recommended to give this medication in conjunction with an NSAID, so it’s important to discuss with your veterinarian the risks and benefits of combining the two types of medications together before doing it.

    Pros
    • Highly effective
    • Reduces inflammation
    • Lubricates the joints
    • Encourages healthy cartilage growth
    Cons
    • May need to be administered by your veterinarian
    • Premium price
    • May not be safe to administer with NSAID treatment

    8. Triamcinolone Acetonide

    Triamcinolone Acetonide

    Form: Injection
    Dosage: 40 mg/ml
    Type of medication: Steroid

    Triamcinolone Acetonide is a steroid that helps reduce inflammation and decrease pain and discomfort in dogs with arthritis. It’s an injectable, so your veterinarian may need to be the one to administer it. It’s generally considered to be an adjunctive therapy that is used short-term during an exacerbation of arthritic symptoms. It’s not a good option for long-term treatment, and it retails for a premium price.

    It cannot be used in conjunction with an NSAID as this can lead to severe side effects. This medication is effective for treating symptoms associated with multiple types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and gouty arthritis.

    Pros
    • Reduces inflammation and pain
    • Easy to dose
    • Effective short-term adjunctive therapy
    • Effective against symptoms of multiple types of arthritis
    Cons
    • May need to be administered by your veterinarian
    • Cannot be used for long-term treatment
    • Premium price

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    Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Arthritis Medications for Dogs

    How Do I Know If a Medication Is Going to Work for My Dog?

    The short answer to this question is that you won’t know what’s going to work best for your dog without finding a starting point with your vet and working out from there. There are multiple levels of arthritis severity, as well as multiple types of arthritis, and some medications will work better for certain severities or types of arthritis. It’s also important to understand that not all medications are safe for all dogs, depending on their medical status and other medications they may be taking.

    You may start your dog on a medication that immediately begins working and works well to meet your dog’s needs. However, it’s more common to have to attempt a few different medications to find what works best and give each medication a little time to work for your dog.

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    Conclusion

    These reviews should only serve as a starting point to help you know what medications to discuss with your vet when discussing your dog’s arthritis treatment. Not all medications are safe or effective for all dogs, so be patient during the transition period to find what works.

    Our best overall pick is Deracoxib, which is a generic NSAID medication. For tighter budgets, Carprofen is an excellent option, and if you have a higher budget, then you may find Galliprant works best for your dog.


    Featured Image Credit: Leo_65, Pixabay

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