Health & Wellness
Can you give dogs ibuprofen?
Keep this medication away from pets
If you’re wondering whether ibuprofen (a medication that reduces pain, inflammation and fever in people) would help your pup feel better in times of need, the answer is no. Dr. Aliya McCullough, veterinarian and pet health advocate, explains why ibuprofen should never be given to your pup.
Is it safe to give ibuprofen to dogs?
Ibuprofen is unsafe for dogs because it’s very toxic and can cause life-threatening illnesses.
How much ibuprofen can I give my dog?
No amount of ibuprofen is safe for dogs. When dogs ingest ibuprofen, it blocks certain enzymes that are needed for normal stomach and intestinal functions, blood flow to the kidneys and the ability for platelets to form a healthy blood clot. Even though the ibuprofen is broken down and filtered through the liver, it remains in dogs’ bodies for a longer period of time.
Signs of ibuprofen toxicity
Ibuprofen is a drug that is found in name brands such as Motrin, Advil and Nuprin. After ingestion, the toxic effects of ibuprofen ingestion may cause your pet to show the following symptoms:
- Vomiting (sometimes blood)
- Abnormal appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Black tarry or bloody stool
- Polyuria and polydipsia (drinking and urinating more than normal)
- Pale gums
- Stumbling when walking (also called Ataxia)
Since ibuprofen prevents dogs from maintaining their normal bodily functions, toxicity can lead to:
- Stomach ulcers and bleeding
- Kidney injury or failure
- Liver injury or failure
- Neurological problems
If you suspect your pet has consumed an ibuprofen product, it is an emergency. Immediately contact the nearest veterinary hospital or poison control centers such as the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680. It’s also helpful to have a pet preparedness plan in place incase an emergency happens.
Treatment for ibuprofen toxicity
Ibuprofen toxicity can be fatal and requires immediate veterinary care to give your dog the best chance of recovery. Treatments may include:
- Monitoring and intensive nursing care in a hospital
- Decontamination of the stomach and intestines
- Medications and procedures to protect and reduce the severity of the damage to the stomach, kidneys, central nervous system and liver
- Continued at-home care may be needed in some cases
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How to prevent accidental ingestion of ibuprofen
To protect your dog from accidentally ingesting ibuprofen, minimize the risk of their exposure in your home. Follow these tips to keep your pets protected:
- Never share over-the-counter or prescription medications with your pets unless instructed by a vet.
- Keep all medications inside secure, chew-proof containers and store them out of reach or in a separate room from your pets.
- Take all medications in a separate room from your pets so they don't try to snatch up any fallen pills.
Aspirin vs. ibuprofen vs. Tylenol
Aspirin and Tylenol, similar to ibuprofen, are unsafe for dogs and should be avoided at all costs. Talk to your veterinarian about the right pain control medication for your pup if needed. When dogs eat aspirin and ibuprofen, they risk the ability to maintain normal stomach and intestinal functions, flow blood to the kidneys and form healthy blood clots.
Now that you know how unsafe ibuprofen is for dogs, always practice these safety precautions when keeping it in your home. If they do manage to get into ibuprofen, you’ll be prepared to act fast.
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash