Previcox for Dogs: Dosage, Side Effects, and Alternatives

Medically reviewed by James Davis, PharmD
Previcox for Dogs: Dosage, Side Effects, and Alternatives

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Previcox, or firocoxib, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) used to treat pain or fever in dogs. Previcox works in a specific way that helps reduce pain, fever, and inflammation that may be more specialized than older drugs of the same type. Studies show some new NSAIDs like Previcox have less risk of some of the side effects usually associated with NSAIDs.


Veterinarians usually prescribe Previcox for pain and, less commonly, fever. It is sometimes used in dogs for post-surgical pain, although vets most widely prescribe it for osteoarthritis.


The manufacturer of Previcox has published a few drugs safety studies per the manufacturer's prescribing information. According to that information, the maximum length of time study authors studied the drug in diseased dogs for any given indication is 30 days. The drug was reviewed a few times in healthy beagles at 1, 3, and 5 times the standard dose for 180 days. One hundred eighty days was long enough to see that the drug's adverse effects are dose and time related. Health issues will likely develop if the dog is on a higher than the standard dose for an extended time. This pattern is consistent with other NSAIDs.

The drug was deemed safe in these studies; however, it is worth noting that liver changes occurred in healthy dogs taking the standard dose used (not an overdose). These changes in the liver were deemed harmless by the study, but the study ended at 180 days. The manufacturer advertises Previcox as "safe for long-term use," but "long-term" use does not appear to be well-defined in these advertisements.

It is not unreasonable to believe that a dog might use the drug for longer than 180 days. There does not appear to be a study that provides safety data beyond that period. It may be that the liver changes do not progress to disease, but it may be that they do. The liver is an amazingly regenerative organ and can take a long time to show serious harm from drugs or other chemicals.

Lastly, the American College of Veterinary Pharmacists warns that continuous use of Previcox may cause toxicity. It is essential always to seek the advice of a veterinarian and follow their instructions, reporting anything odd or harmful as soon as possible. If your pet takes an NSAID, such as Previcox, it's good to watch them for early signs of liver, kidney, or stomach problems. NSAIDs are notorious for causing ulcers.


The manufacturer of Previcox advises that it not be given to dogs under 12.5 pounds as accurate dosing is difficult for that weight.

Small Animal Pediatrics recommends against using Previcox in animals younger than seven months. The drug can cause changes in the liver and parts of the body responsible for hormone control in a growing juvenile dog.

The ideal dose is 5mg/kg of body weight, but this is hard to do with tablets, so the manufacturer gives a practical dosing table calibrated for tablets.

The table below gives the dosing as listed on their website:

Note that there are two different strengths available, 57mg and 227mg. Suppose a pet owner has multiple dogs taking different strengths of Previcox simultaneously. In that case, this difference in tablet strength is critical to acknowledge.

Dog Weight Range Tablet Strength Numbers of Tablets/Day
12.5-18 pounds 57mg tablet 0.5 (one half of one tablet)
19-35 pounds 57mg tablet 1 tablet (one tablet)
36-71 pounds 227mg tablet 0.5 (one half of one tablet)
72-120 pounds 227mg tablet 1 tablet (one tablet)
121-160 pounds 227mg tablet 1.5 tablets (one and a half tablets)
161-240 pounds 227mg tablet 2 tablets (two tablets)


Below are some of the known side effects:

  • Digestive : Vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, ulceration, and gastrointestinal perforation.
  • Behavioral : Lethargy, pain, tiredness, or hyperactivity.
  • Kidneys/bladder : Blood markers showing decreased kidney function, urinary abnormalities, and kidney failure.

There are others. These were listed because they are either from the official studies done or commonly associated with drugs in this class (NSAIDs).


Other NSAIDs -
As mentioned, Previcox is an NSAID. It is by no means the only one. The FDA maintains a list of approved NSAIDs for labeled veterinary use. Other NSAIDs primarily designed for humans have been used off-label for animals, some for many years with established dosing. Ibuprofen is a good example.

Some of these NSAIDs are more or less expensive than Previcox. They can be more or less effective than Previcox at controlling a specific pet's pain. The only way to know what NSAID will work best will be old-fashioned – trying each one to find which treats pain without causing injury.

A key thing to remember is that all NSAIDs will carry similar, overlapping risks. It is generally advisable not to use them for the long term unless there is no other option. Owners must make this decision in lockstep with their veterinarian.

All NSAIDs carry stomach and kidney health risks, especially with long-term use. Dog owners have given dogs NSAIDs for post-surgery and other short-term pain without concern.

Cannabinoids are compounds extracted from the hemp plant. While it is true hemp is also known as cannabis (depending on cultivar and intended purpose), there are some critical distinctions between different extracts. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is very different from tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.

A Cornell University study examined dogs with osteoarthritis taking 2mg/kg of CBD twice daily. The dogs getting the CBD showed reduced signs of discomfort and were more active. The study goes on to say there needs to be more long-term research into the effects of CBD, but the short-term effects look promising.

This is the same dose range we offer our CBD oil for dogs, and if you can place the dropper in their mouth CBD oil is the best choice. If not we make two-ingredient CBD treats designed to deliver an effective dose when eaten. These can safely be taken in combination with our Mobility Chews, which contain a low dose of CBD, along with Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and a host of other natural ingredients, which are particularly helpful for dogs with mobility issues.

If your pet does not tolerate NSAIDs, carefully consider CBD as a natural alternative to Previcox. Learn about CBD for dog pain, discuss it with your veterinarian, and find a reputable manufacturer to source the product.


Previcox is an FDA-approved option for pain control in dogs. It is one of many drugs in its class and carries many of the same risks. The risk of NSAID use, particularly with continued use, is well established, with veterinary authorities and manuals advising against long-term use.


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