According to WebMD, the most commonly prescribed arthritis medications for dogs are chondroprotective NSAIDs. These medications are much different from over-the-counter pain relievers and must be prescribed by a veterinarian.
Over-the-counter pain relievers are not recommended for dogs suffering from arthritis, according to WebMD. The high dosages required to provide pain relief can damage and destroy the cartilage, leaving the dog in even more pain. WebMD explains that commonly prescribed daily medication like Rimadyl (carprofen) and Etogesic (etodolac) require the veterinarian to first run blood tests on the dog to ensure healthy liver and kidney function, due to the risk of potentially serious side effects.