Diclofenac for Dogs - Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

María Besteiros
By María Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. Updated: February 28, 2024
Diclofenac for Dogs - Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

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Sodium diclofenac is the active ingredient of a well-known drug used under the trade name Voltaren, Cataflam and others. It is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) which is used to combat pain and inflammatory processes. Diclofenac can be sold in various preparations, some of which are prescription only. This may vary according to the country in which it is being sold.

If your dog has been prescribed this medication by your veterinarian or if you are considering an over-the-counter purchase, you may have doubts over its uses, dosage, side effects and other considerations. AnimalWised clarifies what you need to know about diclofenac for dogs.

  1. Is diclofenac bad for dogs?
  2. Presentations of diclofenac for dogs
  3. Uses of diclofenac for dogs
  4. Diclofenac dosage for dogs
  5. Side effects of diclofenac for dogs

Is diclofenac bad for dogs?

Diclofenac is an active ingredient included in the group of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, a type of analgesic commonly known as NSAIDs. They are products that are prescribed for the relief of pain, especially those related to joint or bone problems.

Diclofenac can be used for dogs as long as the veterinarian prescribes it. This is often used to manage the symptoms of bacterial infections in dogs, but this is not its exclusive use in veterinary treatments.

Presentations of diclofenac for dogs

Diclofenac can be used in various preparations in veterinary medicine. Some preparations are used less than others in dogs. Below are the most common preparations of diclofenac:

  • Topical gel: most commonly marketed in human medicine under the trade name Voltaren. Although widely used by people, it is not seen as effective in veterinary medicine, partly due to the barrier created by the animal's fur.

  • Eye drops: ophthalmic diclofenac for dogs is the preparation chosen for treating eye issues. Although it is used as an eye drop, it does have certain side effects. It should never be used without, so we should never apply it without a veterinary prescription. We need to be particularly careful with dosage of eye drops as it is easy to introduce an excessive amount into the eye, especially if the dog has trouble sitting still. Diclofenac eye drops for dogs are often sold under the trade name Volteran Ophthalmic.

  • Injections: injectable diclofenac solution for dogs is also available. In this case, the drug will be administered by the veterinarian. If it is necessary to administer injectable diclofenac at home, we will need to know how to give a dog a shot under the skin. The veterinarian should demonstrate how to do this if we are unsure. A local reaction may occur at the injection site.
  • Oral: diclofenac for dogs is also available in tablet form. These are designed to be taken orally and can be mixed in with food.

Find out more about another type of NSAID used in veterinary medicine with our article on dexketoprofen for dogs.

Diclofenac for Dogs - Uses, Dosage and Side Effects - Presentations of diclofenac for dogs

Uses of diclofenac for dogs

Diclofenac for pain in dogs is used in veterinary medicine. As an anti-inflammatory, it is especially in cases of bone and joint disorders. It can also be prescribed by a veterinary ophthalmologist as part of the treatment of eye pathologies such as uveitis in dogs. It is also prescribed for other eye problems that cause inflammation. It is also used as medication before or after eye surgery.

As an NSAID it also has an anti-inflammatory, but it also has an antipyretic effect, meaning it is used to combat fever. Different preparations of diclofenac for dogs are administered according to the problem they are treating.

In some cases, the veterinarian may also add complex B vitamins with diclofenac for dogs. This complex refers to a group of B vitamins for dogs with different functions in the body. It is usually supplemented when a deficit is suspected or to improve the general condition of the animal.

There are other anti-inflammatory medications for dogs that are more widely used than diclofenac for pain problems associated with bones or joints. These include carprofen, firocoxib or meloxicam. These are generally considered safer for use in these animals and produce fewer side effects.

Diclofenac dosage for dogs

As with all drugs, we must pay attention to the dosage and strictly follow veterinary instructions. In particular, NSAIDs can have a considerable impact on a dog's digestive system. They can result symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea in dogs, as well as ulcers in the digestive tract. Especially in prolonged treatments, NSAIDs are prescribed together with stomach protectors. Avoid using this medicine in dogs with kidney or liver problems.

The dose of diclofenac for dogs can only be established by the veterinarian. To determine dosage, they will take into account the pathology and the characteristics of the animal. Studies carried out on the drugs provide a range of safe doses from which the health professional can choose. The aim is always to achieve the maximum effect with the lowest possible dose. In the case of eye drops, the dose and administration schedule will depend on the problem to be treated.

Diclofenac for Dogs - Uses, Dosage and Side Effects - Diclofenac dosage for dogs

Side effects of diclofenac for dogs

Diclofenac can be an over-the-counter medication in some countries, but others have legislated that it be prescription only. Although it is generally considered safe, diclofenac is not commonly given to dogs as other drugs are seen as more effective at lower dosages.

Side effects can be seen in dogs. They include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Appetite loss

Diclofenac toxicity in dogs

As an NSAIDs, an overdose of diclofenac can occur. This can occur with topical diclofenac gels as the dog may chew a tube thinking it is a toy and ingest its contents.

An excessive dose causes vomiting (which may contain blood), tarry stools, anorexia, lethargy, changes in urination or thirst, malaise, abdominal pain, seizures, and even death. It is for this reason we insist this drug only be given under the strict guidance of a veterinarian and only for the prescribed administration period. It is also vital you do not leave this or any other medication within reach of your dog in case they ingest it accidentally.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Diclofenac for Dogs - Uses, Dosage and Side Effects, we recommend you visit our Medicine category.

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Diclofenac for Dogs - Uses, Dosage and Side Effects