How to Tell When Your Dog or Cat is in Pain

What if your dog or cat could tell you if they were in pain? We have the advantage of describing our aches and pains, but our pets don’t have it quite so easy.  We may not be able to ask them, but we can learn what signs to look out for. It’s important to watch for subtle behavior changes. These may include changes in daily habits, activity level, body postures, vocalization, and facial expressions. Noticeable behavior changes may include aggression, self-mutilation, or self-protection. These changes are especially apparent when a normally friendly animal starts showing signs of aggression or vice versa. Some signs of pain are very distinct, for example, if your dog suddenly starts limping or has difficulty getting up from the floor. Keep in mind that cats are especially adept at hiding pain, and the warning signs may mimic other health problems, and vary widely.

 Painful Signs In Dogs

  • Less playful, social, or hiding
  • Reduced daily activity
  • Changes in appetite and drinking
  • Vocalizing
  • Changes in sleeping
  • Guarding or self-protection
  • Trembling, circling, or restless
  • Aggression
  • Resists being held or picked up
  • Scratching, licking, or biting a certain body part
  • Limping or changes in mobility
  • Excessive panting at rest

Painful Signs in Cats

  • Restless
  • Reduced appetite
  • Won’t use the litterbox
  • Vocalizing
  • Reluctance to jump up or down
  • Scratching, licking, or biting a certain body part
  • Increased sleeping
  • Avoiding physical contact or petting
  • Resists being held or picked up
  • Seeks more attention
  • Slows or stops grooming
  • Flattened ears, arched back, or tucked feet and/or abdomen

What Causes Pain?

Our pets can experience pain for a variety of reasons whether it’s acute pain, which happens suddenly due to injury, surgery, or illness. Chronic pain, which is persistent over time, may be due to conditions like arthritis, infections, cancer, nerve disorders, and other diseases. The exact source can be complex, so if you suspect your dog or cat is experiencing pain, the first step is always to talk to your veterinarian. Your vet will examine your pet to help diagnose the cause of it and provide treatment options that best fit your dog or cat’s needs.

Refrain from treating your dog or cat’s pain on your own. Certain types of pain relievers are toxic to animals, especially cats. Also, different types of pain require different types of treatment. Let your veterinarian decide if a pain reliever will manage their symptoms and prescribe the appropriate dosage.

VetRxDirect pharmacy offers a variety of prescription pain relievers for dogs and cats.  We’ve included some of the most popular below. Visit our website for more information.

Onsior for Cats at VetRxDirectOnsior

Onsior (robenacoxib) is the first non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) designed to relieve pain and inflammation in cats. This medicine is particularly useful for cats recovering from surgery or soft tissue injury.


Galliprant at VetRxDirect Galliprant

Galliprant is a prescription medication for dogs with osteoarthritis that contains grapripant, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It works to target pain and swelling at its source by blocking the receptor, so your dog can keep moving. Learn more on our blog.


Meloxidyl at VetRxDirectMeloxidyl

Meloxidyl (Meloxicam) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that reduces inflammation in the body. Meloxicam is commonly prescribed for dogs with osteoarthritis and those who have undergone surgery.


Identifying Pain For Dogs and Cats

Do you know how to tell if your pet is in pain? September is Animal Pain Awareness Month, so we’ve put together a brief list to help you identify pain for both dogs and cats.

What if your dog or cat could tell you if they were in pain? As humans, we have the advantage of being able to describe our aches and pains, but dogs and cats don’t have it quite so easy. As owners, we know that our pets can suffer from pain just like we do, but we may not be able to tell right away or know what to look for. Sometimes it’s easy to notice, for example, if your dog suddenly starts limping. But not always. For example, cats are especially adept at hiding pain. While signs vary widely, here are some behaviors to look out for.

 Signs of Pain In Dogs

  • Less playful or social
  • Reduced activity
  • Reduced appetite
  • Submissive behavior
  • Whimpering or howling
  • Guarding behavior
  • Aggression, biting, or growling
  • Self-mutilation
  • Changes in posture or gait

Signs of Pain in Cats

  • Reduced activity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Less playful
  • Reluctance to jump up or down
  • Repeated grooming – especially in one area
  • Changes in posture or gait
  • Avoiding physical contact or hiding
  • Stops grooming
  • Tail flicking, hissing, or spitting


Our pets can experience pain for a variety of reasons whether it’s acute, which happens suddenly due to injury, surgery, or illness or chronic, which is persistent over time due to conditions like arthritis or more serious diseases. The exact reasons can be complex, so if you suspect your dog or cat is experiencing pain, the first step is always to talk to your veterinarian. Your vet will examine your pet to help determine the cause of it and provide treatment suggestions and may prescribe a pain reliever to manage their symptoms.

VetRxDirect offers a variety of medications for both dogs and cats. Learn more about these to popular medications, or visit website.

Onsior Pain Medication for Cats at VetRxDirectOnsior, robenacoxib, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) designed to relieve pain and inflammation in cats. This medicine is commonly prescribed for cats recovering from surgery, soft-tissue injury, or cats with certain types pain. Onsior comes in small, flavored tablets.




OstiLox Pain Medication at VetRxDirectOstiLox, meloxicam, is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) prescribed to relieve pain and inflammation for dogs. This medication is prescribed for dogs with discomfort caused by osteoarthritis or other joint problems. OstiLox comes in a flavored liquid.



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Galliprant Relieves Arthritis Pain and Swelling For Dogs

Arthritis can be painful for dogs, and make them more reluctant to participate in the daily activities they enjoy. Working, hunting, and active dogs tend to put more stress on their joints. Age, breed, and genetics also play a role. If you notice your dog slowing down, showing signs of pain, or losing interest in physical activity, it may be time to talk with your veterinarian. Currently, there is no cure for arthritis, but your veterinarian can discuss options that can make your dog more comfortable. Also, when caught in the early stages, arthritis can be easier to treat and manage. Your veterinarian may recommend a supplement or prescribe a pain reliever for your dog. Galliprant is a new medication for dogs with arthritis pain.


Galliprant at VetRxDirect

Galliprant is prescription strength pain reliever designed for dogs with osteoarthritis. It contains grapripant, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). This medication works by blocking the EP4 receptor, which is responsible for relaying the pain and inflammation signals in the body. Galliprant targets arthritis pain at its source, so your dog can keep moving without aches or swelling. It is conveniently dosed and is given to your dog once a day with either a whole or half tablet. The tablets are chewable and flavored with pork liver. It is labeled for dogs nine months of age or older, that weigh 8 lbs or more. It is currently available in 20mg, 60mg, and 100 mg strengths and comes in 30ct and 90ct bottles.

Does your dog have arthritis? Talk to your veterinarian about Galliprant.

Meloxidyl: Save on Meloxicam suspensions!

Meloxicam has been widely used over the years to help dogs with arthritis and other inflammatory disorders. Meloxicam is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) which inhibits enzymes that produce inflammation and pain. These enzymes are called COX-1 and COX-2. Meloxicam has been available in generic human tablets and an expensive brand name suspension called Metacam. Now VetRxDirect is carrying a less expensive version of a meloxicam suspension called Meloxidyl.

Meloxidyl is bioequivalent to Metacam Oral NSAID for Dogs

Meloxidyl is now available at VetRxDirect Pet Pharmacy.

Meloxidyl contains 1.5 mg of meloxicam per 1 mL of the suspension. It is more convenient and easy to give your dog than the meloxicam tablets. With the suspension, you can easily place the medication in the pet’s food or directly into their mouth. Meloxidyl will make your dog’s meloxicam suspension much more affordable. If you’d like to save some money on meloxicam, talk to your veterinarian about switching to Meloxidyl suspension.

Product Strengths Available Cost
Meloxicam tablets 7.5 mg and 15 mg VRD Paw Print
Meloxidyl oral suspension 1.5 mg/mL VRD Paw PrintVRD Paw Print
Metacam oral Suspension 0.5 mg/mL and 1.5 mg/mL VRD Paw PrintVRD Paw PrintVRD Paw Print

VRD Paw PrintIndicates relative pricing, with more paw prints showing greater cost of the product.

For more information on meloxicam and other NSAID’s, see our article titled, “Important Information about NSAID’s for Pets.

What are your thoughts on trying less expensive options for your pet’s medications? Has your pet been prescribed meloxicam before? Would you try Meloxidyl? Leave a reply below.

Important Information on NSAIDs for Pets

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDs, are one of the most frequently prescribed pain relievers from veterinarians. With this high frequency of prescribing comes a proportional amount of side effects. This article aims to educate the public about the safe use of NSAIDs in pets: when they’re appropriate, when to avoid using them, and how to watch for dangerous side effects.

What are NSAIDs for pets indicated for and what benefits do they provide:

NSAIDs aren’t commonly used in cats because they cannot clear the drugs from their body very well. They should be avoided, especially in long term use, in cats for this reason. NSAIDs are indicated for two reasons in dogs: osteoarthritis and for pain relief after an operation. They can be used off label for many other reasons including an injury or pain when a veterinarian thinks they would be beneficial. They can benefit dogs by decreasing their pain and improving their quality of life. Let’s face it; no one wants to see their companion in pain and these drugs are proven to help reduce it.

How do NSAIDs for pets decrease inflammation:

All of the NSAIDs inhibit cyclooxygenase enzymes (COX enzymes). There are two major COX enzymes and are labeled COX-1 and COX-2. Both of the enzymes are involved in the pathways of inflammation, fever, blood clotting, and pain. However, COX-2 is found in inflamed cells only, and COX-1 is found all throughout the body, including the stomach. By inhibiting these enzymes, NSAIDs decrease the effects that the enzyme would normally have on the body. This will decrease the pain and inflammation associated with certain conditions such as osteoarthritis. Below is a table of all the NSAIDs that are available through VetRxDirect.


Active Ingredient

Dosage Form

Generic or Brand Name?

VetRxDirect Unit Price

Extra Notes About the Product

Rimadyl Carprofen Caplets or Chewable Tablets Brand Name $0.79-$1.40 Only Chewable Carprofen Product
Norocarp/Carprieve Carprofen Caplets Brand Name $0.47-$0.82
Vetprofen Carprofen Caplets Brand Name $0.49-$0.82 Can Get 240 Count Bottles
Novox Carprofen Caplets Brand Name $0.55-$0.97
Carprofen (Putney) Carprofen Caplets Generic $0.49-$0.78 Only Generic Carprofen Product
Metacam Meloxicam Oral Suspension (liquid) Brand Name $1.57-$2.50 Only Commercial Oral Liquid NSAD For Dogs
Meloxicam Meloxicam Tablets Generic $0.34-$0.69 Only Human Tablets Are Available
Piroxicam Piroxicam Capsules Generic $1.09-$2.69 VetRxDirect Compounds Suspensions And Multiple Doses That Aren’t Commercially Available
Etogesic Etodolac Tablets Brand Name $1.57-$1.95
Etodolac Etodolac Capsules Generic $1.89-$1.56 The Only Generic Is the Human Capsules


Deracoxib Chewable Tablets Brand Name $1.59-$3.53 COX-2 Selective. No Generic Available
Previcox Firocoxib Chewable Tablets Brand Name $1.48-$3.75 COX-2 Selective. No Generic Available
Onsior (robenacoxib) for CatsOnsior Robenacoxib Tablets Brand Name $3.33 For Use In Cats Only For Upto Three Days.

*The price is listed as per tablet, caplet, chewable tablet, or capsule. It is listed as per mL for the suspensions. Prices between suspension and tablets of the same product are only comparable when accounting for dose. Prices are subject to change and ultimately depend on the dosage form, strength and quantity ordered.

Sometimes old dogs need NSAIDs for Pets.

Courtesy of Roman Boed/Flickr

What is the difference between all the NSAIDs for pets?

The majority of the NSAIDs inhibit both COX-1 and COX-2, but there are a few that only inhibit COX-2. In humans, this selectivity for COX-2 helps prevent some side effects, mainly the risk for stomach bleeding. The two COX-2 selective products that we carry for dogs only have no evidence that shows a decreased risk of the severe side effects. There is also one COX-2 selective NSAID that is indicated for cats only, called Onsior. The NSAIDs carried by VetRxDirect that are sometimes used in cats are carprofen, meloxicam, and piroxicam. NSAID medications should always be used with extreme caution and for very short periods of time in cats.

There are multiple carprofen products available, and their prices can vary. The only one that isn’t comparable to the generic is the Rimadyl Chewable, as there is no chewable generic carprofen available at this time. When picking a product to buy, the generic is an acceptable choice because it will contain the same active ingredient as the brand name product, but will cost less. The liquid formulations of the products may be easier for you to give your pet, but they carry a larger price tag. Some of the NSAIDs work better for certain diseases and have varying side effect profiles. Your veterinarian will know which active ingredient is appropriate for your pet, when choosing between the different products.

What are the risks associated with NSAIDs for pets?

The more frequently reported side effects of NSAIDs include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, and decreased appetite. The use of NSAIDs carry a risk for stomach bleeding, ulcers, perforations (holes), kidney damage, and liver damage. The main problem with NSAID use is the population that they are targeted towards usually has an increased risk for experiencing these side effects from them. If used at the lowest effective doses for short periods of time, they have relatively low risk of these side effects. However, when they are used for osteoarthritis, they are often used for long periods of time which increases the risk of serious side effects. Pets with osteoarthritis are also often older in age, and using an NSAID in elderly animals can increase their risk for serious side effects. When dogs and cats are dehydrated they have an increased risk for kidney damage when using an NSAID.

How to use an NSAID for pets safely in dogs and cats:

Using an NSAID safely in your pet requires a good relationship with your veterinarian. You know your animal best and can tell if they have had any recent changes in health. Things that you need to watch for when your pet takes an NSAID are black tarry stools, dark urine, bloody vomit, and depression. If your pet has any of those symptoms, you need to call your vet right away. Giving an NSAID with their meal can help reduce the risk for stomach upset and irritation.You should also make sure they are well hydrated because of the risk for kidney damage. Educating yourself about your pet’s NSAID medication can reduce the life threatening risk that they carry and help keep them healthy!

Has your pet taken a NSAID before? Which one did your veterinarian prescribe and did your pet experience any side effects?

Please ask any remaining questions in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section of this post, or on the product’s ‘Question and Answer’ tab.


  • United States. Food and Drug Administration. FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine. Canine NSAIDs- What Dog Owners Should Know. By Carmela Stamper. FDA, n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.
  • Plumb, D. Etodolac. Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook 7th ed. Pharma Vet Inc. Stockholm, WI. 2011.

Deramaxx Production Updates

Deramaxx is Back In Stock at VetRxDirect!

Deramaxx, the popular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for dogs, is once again available in 30 count bottles at your pet’s online pharmacy, VetRxDirect.

Deramaxx is Available at VetRxDirectDeramaxx (deracoxib) chewable NSAID tablets are used to relieve pain and inflammation after surgery and is also indicated for treating chronic pain in dogs.

If your dog was previously using Deramaxx, ask your pet’s veterinarian today if you should continue to give the replacement therapy or if you should switch back to Deramaxx. Your veterinarian who has examined your pet is the best source for this information. A blood test before continuing to use the current NSAID or before switching back to Deramaxx may be needed. Your veterinarian may also prescribe a period of no pain relievers, also known as a washout period, before switching NSAIDs.

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