- Ibuprofen is toxic to dogs and you should never give it to your pup.
- As little as three to six ibuprofen capsules can be fatal for dogs. Therefore, keep the medicine in a safe place.
- There are dog-specific pain relievers available from your veterinarian or you can try natural options.
- Visit Insider’s Health Reference Library for more advice.
It is okay to give your dog certain human medications, such as Benadryl, but many medications can be dangerous to your pooch, including ibuprofen.
Ibuprofen is not safe for dogs and can cause stomach or kidney damage, or in some cases even death.
If your dog is injured or in pain, your veterinarian can offer safer medical options, and you can also try several home methods.
Here’s why you can’t give ibuprofen to your dog and what you can do instead to help a painful puppy.
Can dogs take ibuprofen?
You should never give your dog ibuprofen. The drug can harm your dog’s stomach and kidneys, says Alison Meindl, DVM, veterinarian and professor at Colorado State University.
This is because ibuprofen blocks the activity of an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX). Blocking this enzyme reduces inflammation, but it also impedes blood flow to the stomach and kidneys. And while this isn’t a big deal to humans, it can harm your dog.
Dogs are more likely to get ibuprofen poisoning than humans for three reasons:
- Ibuprofen can last longer in the dog’s system.
- Dogs’ stomach and intestines can absorb ibuprofen more quickly.
- The level of ibuprofen in the blood in dogs may be higher than in humans.
“Humans can clearly tolerate a much higher dose than our pets,” says Travis Arndt, DVM, director of the Animal Medical Center of Mid-America.
Too much ibuprofen can have dangerous effects on your dog, including stomach ulcers, kidney damage, or seizures, says Meindl.
“Even 1,200 mg ibuprofen can be fatal for a small dog,” says Arndt. Drugs like Advil or Motrin usually contain 200 mg per pill, or 400 mg in extra strong capsules, which means only three to six pills can be fatal.
What to do if your dog accidentally takes ibuprofen
If your dog accidentally ingests ibuprofen, here are some steps you should follow:
- Contact your veterinarian right away – depending on your dog’s age, health, and other factors, your veterinarian may be able to determine the best course of action.
- If your veterinarian is unavailable, call Animal Poison Control at (888) -426-4435 or visit their website at https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control. They may be able to provide instructions on what type of care your dog needs.
Your veterinarian or poison control can tell you to induce vomiting in your dog based on when he took the drug. “If the pet doesn’t notice the drug within 30 to 40 minutes of swallowing the drug, it may be too late to induce vomiting,” says Arndt.
“Don’t wait for symptoms before you see your vet, because treating an overdose quickly is important,” says Meindl.
Symptoms of Ibuprofen Poisoning in Dogs
Ibuprofen poisoning can be extremely dangerous and cause problems such as:
Stomach ulcers, which can cause symptoms such as:
- Vomiting, with or without blood
- Dark or tarry stools
- Decreased or no appetite
Kidney damage, that can cause symptoms, including:
- Increased urination
- Increased drinking
- Decreased or no appetite
- Severe overdoses can cause seizures or coma.
What can I do to help my dog when they are in pain?
There are many other NSAIDs made specifically for dogs that are much safer than ibuprofen and can provide good pain control, Meindl says.
The FDA has approved NSAID drugs like carprofen and meloxicam for dogs, though they can only be obtained with a prescription from your veterinarian.
There may also be non-NSAID medications that can relieve pain, depending on your dog’s health needs. “Your vet can talk to you about the best option (s) for your individual dog,” says Meindl.
There are also some alternatives to home pain relievers that you can try with your dog. Meindl recommends a few options:
- glaze A bag of frozen vegetables or an ice pack covered with a thin towel can help with an acute injury, says Meindl. It’s best to do this for about five minutes at a time.
- heat can help with a more chronic injury, says Meindl, but you must follow certain safety guidelines:
- “Never put a heating pad on a dog because it cannot tell you that it is too hot and that your skin is easily burned,” says Meindl.
- Instead, place a wet washcloth in the microwave until it feels warm, put the cloth in a plastic bag, and apply it to the affected area for five minutes, says Meindl.
- Gentle massage can also be helpful for pain.
“You should have your dog examined by a veterinarian before starting any of these treatments to make sure the treatment is appropriate for the injury,” says Meindl.
Ibuprofen can be dangerous to dogs, putting them at risk of organ damage or even death. Always keep medication out of the reach of pets and contact your veterinarian or poison control if you think your dog has ingested something.
“If you suspect your pet is in pain, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible for an appointment and advice,” says Arndt. Your veterinarian may be able to find a good pain treatment that is safe for your pup.