Novox is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is specifically formulated for use on dogs especially in the management of acute pain syndromes such as those caused by canine arthritis, hip dysplasia, and post-surgical management of pain. In some cases, its anti-inflammatory action can also be used in the reduction of fever. Novox is a brand that contains the active ingredient carprofen which makes it similar in chemical profile to Rimadyl, Vetprofen, Norocarp, and Carpaquin, among others. Carprofen was initially intended for human therapeutic applications in the 1980s to the 1990s. However, it was subsequently discontinued due to commercial weakness secondary to an oversaturated analgesic niche. Since then, caprofen has been reformulated for canine therapeutic applications and has garnered the nod and acceptance of the FDA.


There are no specific disease entities for which Novox is principally indicated. It is worth remembering that NSAIDs, like carprofen, do not cure or treat an underlying pathology. Rather, it is used as symptomatic treatment. This means that these drugs are used to address some of the symptoms that your dog may show. What causes these symptoms is an entirely different matter.

dog laying down

  • Inflammation

Studies show that carprofen is many time more effective as an anti-inflammatory drug compared to aspirin or even ibuprofen. It is slightly better than diclofenac, indomethacin, and piroxicam in its anti-inflammatory activity. Inflammation is always an indication of tissue injury, read as any type of physiologic change in the physical and chemical structure of tissues. It doesn’t have to be always physical injuries since a reduction in oxygen to the tissues can still lead to some form of tissue injury. That said, any inflammatory process that is mediated by prostaglandins can respond exceptionally well to carprofen therapy. Do understand that there are other mechanisms by which inflammation occurs. As such, if it is not mediated by prostaglandin or any of its analogues, then there is a chance that inflammation will still persist even with aggressive carprofen (Novox) therapy.

  • Pain 

Like its anti-inflammatory property, the analgesic effect of carprofen is several notches higher than that of either aspirin or phenylbutazone. It closely mimics the analgesic properties of indomethacin. It is for this reason that Novox (carprofen) is indicated in the management of moderate to severe pain in dogs that are suffering or are diagnosed with arthritis, hip dysplasia, or any other type of pain that is responsive to carprofen therapy. It can also be used on dogs that are recuperating from a surgical procedure such as after spaying or neutering.

  • Fever 

Carprofen is equal to indomethacin when it comes to its antipyretic effects. That said, it is also many times more effective in reducing fever than either aspirin or phenylbutazone. At any rate, if you feel like your dog is going down with a fever, then you will already have something to give it.

Benefits of Novox

The benefits of Novox are similar to other NSAIDs of its class. These typically include the following.

  • Alleviates pain 

Among humans, pain is more of a subjective experience, preventing its accurate measurement. In dogs, the measurement of pain can even be more difficult since dogs cannot verbalize their ideas or perceptions of pain. As such, we can only surmise an improvement in their pain experience through a variety of behavioral changes relative to what they have been showing immediately before the initiation of the carprofen therapy. Nevertheless, we can only assume that, because of its exceptional anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, Novox can truly provide dogs with a reason to be happier, if only that means freedom from pain while under the effects of Novox.

  • Promotes improved mobility 

If your pooch has arthritis it will be really difficult for it to move. Since arthritis involves inflammation of the joints which is brought about by physiologic changes to the joint capsule, reducing the inflammation or swelling in this region will help facilitate greater range of motion at the joints. Likewise, since movement at the joints will not elicit pain, then your dog will be more enticed to increase its physical activities. It will be getting up instead of being bed-ridden. It will try to walk and run instead of dragging its body across the floor. And you know what improved mobility also means for your relationship with your canine friend.

Related Post: Best Dog Joint Supplements

  • Reduces swelling 

We mentioned above that an improvement in joint mobility naturally occurs from an improvement in inflammation or swelling occurring at the joint capsule. However, caprofen is not only excellent in joint swelling but also in other types of inflammatory conditions where the principal pro-inflammatory agent involved is prostaglandin. This is crucial since not all inflammatory conditions are mediated by prostaglandin. As such, if the swelling is not brought about by the interaction of prostaglandin and the target tissue, then you really cannot expect Novox to bring you any benefit.

  • Improves canine comfort 

It is evident what Novox brings to the table. An improvement in mobility secondary to freedom from pain and a reduction of inflammation can readily translate to an improvement in the dog’s overall comfort levels. Add to this the antipyretic action of Novox and the promotion of canine comfort is complete.

  • Facilitates administration 

Nothing can be more challenging than having a dog that simply refuses to take its medication. Since Novox is formulated as a chewable tablet that comes in liver flavor. Additionally, you can also give Novox to your dog as a once daily administration or as a twice daily dosing. This can truly help facilitate administration.

How Novox Works

Novox or Carprofen typically functions like any other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug especially those belonging to the class of analgesics known as propionic acid, notable members of which include ibuprofen, ketoprofen, and naproxen. As such, the mechanism of action of carprofen is almost the same with these types of analgesics.

More specifically, carprofen exerts its analgesic effects by preventing the action of cyclooxygenase without affecting the synthesis of 5-lipoxygenase. That being said, carprofen, like any other NSAID, reduces the synthesis or formation of prostaglandins that have been implicated in the many cardinal signs of inflammation including pain and swelling. Unfortunately, like all NSAIDs, especially those that affect COX-1, carprofen also affects other aspects of prostaglandin-related physiology.

It should be understood that prostaglandins are found all throughout the dog’s body, but mostly concentrated in the digestive tract and the kidneys. Limiting the formation of prostaglandins in these parts of the body can lead to a host of problems such as gastritis and ulcerations and kidney disease, respectively. More specifically, prostaglandins help control bleeding, protect the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract, and protect the kidneys from the effects of decreased renal blood flow. If the production of prostaglandins is limited because of the inhibition of cyclooxygenase then bleeding, GI ulcerations, and kidney problems can occur.

Nevertheless, it is through this mechanism of action that Novox (carprofen) is able to exert its pain killing effects. Technically, carprofen enter a certain segment of the cyclooxygenase, known as its pocket, to prevent the entry or attachment of arachidonic acid. Because arachidonic acid fails to bind with the enzyme its pro-inflammatory products are also not produced. One of these is prostaglandins.

Additionally, studies show that carprofen is many times more effective as an anti-inflammatory than indomethacin, diclofenac, and piroxicam.

Potential Side Effects

While studies show that carprofen has fewer gastrointestinal side effects compared to other NSAIDs, it still poses a significant threat to vulnerable dogs, especially those with pre-existing medical conditions such as kidney disease and liver dysfunction. Nevertheless, the following are some of the side effects that can be expected from Novox.

  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Increase in frequency and volume of urination
  • Increase in thirst sensation
  • Itching
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

Vomiting is reported to be the most common side effect. In addition to these side effects, more serious adverse reactions have also been reported especially among highly vulnerable dogs. These can include the following.

  • Black tarry stools
  • Change in behavior
  • Jaundice
  • Loss of coordination
  • Partial paralysis
  • Scabbing
  • Seizures
  • Skin redness
  • Staggering gait
  • Tar-like matter in the urine

As always, if your pooch happens to be hypersensitive to Novox or carprofen, it can manifest any of the following.

  • Swelling of the tongue, lips, and face
  • Red, itchy patches of skin
  • Labored or difficulty breathing

Things You Should Know about Novox

Novox is a brand of analgesic that is similar to Rimadyl and other NSAIDs that contain carprofen. It was approved for human therapeutic applications by the FDA but was subsequently withdrawn. Now, carprofen is approved for veterinary use by the FDA especially in the management of inflammation, fever, and pain. It is available in two presentations: tablet or pill and injectable. The oral presentations come in either a chewable liver-flavored tablet form or a non-chewable caplet, both of which are also scored to allow for ease of dividing doses to account for the recommended once daily dosing of 2 milligrams per pound of canine bodyweight or twice daily dosing at 1 milligram per canine body weight in pounds. It is important to adhere to the recommendations of your veterinarian since carprofen, like other NSAIDs, has been implicated in some serious adverse reactions.

sick dog

What You Should Tell Your Vet before He Prescribes Novox

It is critical to inform your veterinarian or at least allow your vet to examine your dog for possible liver or kidney disease as these may impact the way in which carprofen is metabolized and excreted, not to mention the risk for aggravating such medical conditions. It is also important to be cautious if your dog is dehydrated or is diagnosed with bleeding tendencies such as Von Willebrand’s disease. Lactating and pregnant dogs are also not advised to be given Novox as the effects of the drug on these types of pooches have not been clearly established. Additionally, dogs that are intended for breeding should also not be given Novox.

How to Give Novox to Your Dog

With a plasma half-life about 8 hours on average which typically lasts anywhere between 4.5 and 9 hours, you can administer Novox to your dog either as a once every day dosing or as a twice a day administration. The actual dose will be determined by your vet, although the standing recommendation is at 2 milligrams for every pound of your dog’s weight once daily. If you need to give this on a twice daily dosing, then you have to divide the dose in half to be given with each administration. It is available in 25, 75, and 100 milligram formulations.

Novox should always be given with food to help minimize gastrointestinal upset and provide a cushion for carprofen to work on. Your dog will also require plenty of water. Novox should be stored away from heat and moisture at between 59OF and 86OF.

What to Do If You Miss a Dose

In case you missed giving your pooch its scheduled Novox dose, you have to give it the moment you remember it. If it’s close to its next dosing schedule then leave it as a missed dose and proceed in giving your dog its next scheduled Novox dose. Don’t give twice the dose to compensate. This can lead to overdosing.

What to Do in Case of Novox Overdose

While carprofen overdose is quite rare, it does happen. This is often characterized by signs of gastritis and the formation of ulcers. Immediate veterinary consultation is advised.

Some Drug Interactions

Steroids like prednisone, triamcinolone, and dexamethasone, among others have been shown to interact with carprofen. Other NSAIDs like aspirin, meloxicam, and etodolac, among others may also potentiate the activity of carprofen, sufficiently increasing the severity of its side effects that can border into adverse reactions.

Novox (Carprofen) is an effective NSAID when it comes to providing immediate and long lasting relief against moderate to severe pain in dogs. It’s exceptional against fever and other signs of inflammation, too. However, its action on constitutive prostaglandin somehow hampers its full effectiveness, creating a host of side effects and adverse reactions that may be great sources of concern. The good news, nonetheless, is that it is generally safer than other NSAIDs.

Other Medications

Temaril P


Rate This Article:
4.69 / 5.0
52 User Voted
Add Your Rating:
Olivia Williams
Olivia is our head of content for, mum of one and a true animal lover. With 12 different types of animal in her family, it's never a dull moment. When she isn't walking the dogs, feeding the cats or playing with her pet Parrot Charlie, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest products for your pets!


Please enter your name here
Please enter your comment!