Can You Give A Dog Ibuprofen?

Can I give my dog ibuprofen? Can you give a dog Advil®? These questions have a clear answer: No. You should never give a dog ibuprofen. But, why? Read on to learn more!

What Is Ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drug and a derivative of propionic acid. It is commonly used in humans as a pain reliever and fever reducer.

Higher doses of ibuprofen are often prescribed for back pain and for mothers after delivery. The most common over-the-counter strength for adults is the 200mg tablets or capsules. Common brands in North America include Motrin® and Advil®.

Can Dogs Take Ibuprofen?

Dogs should not take ibuprofen due to the high risk of negative side effects. A safe dosage of ibuprofen has not been established for dogs or cats.

Can Ibuprofen Hurt My Dog?

Veterinarians do not recommend ibuprofen for dogs for any medical condition. Ibuprofen does not provide good pain control and the risk of side effects outweighs the benefits.

If a 20-pound dog ingests a single 200mg ibuprofen tablet, he or she is very likely to suffer negative digestive effects within 2-24 hours. These effects often include stomach hemorrhage, vomiting blood and these problems can last for up to 4 days after ingestion.

Common side effects of ibuprofen in dogs include:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Stomach bleeding
  • Stomach rupture
  • Platelet inhibition (decreased blood clotting ability)
  • Kidney failure
  • Neurologic effects

Ibuprofen Toxicity

Ibuprofen toxicity most commonly happens when dogs eat several tablets. This commonly happens when they chew or eat a bottle of the owner’s medication. Also, well-meaning owners can accidentally over-dose their dog with ibuprofen.

Signs of ibuprofen toxicity include:

  • Vomiting blood​
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Stomach rupture
  • Abdominal pain
  • Anorexia
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Light pink or white gums or tongue

Kidney failure can occur at higher dosages of ibuprofen. Sometimes this kidney failure can be irreversible and fatal. This typically happens when the dog accidentally ingests several tablets of the owner’s medication.

If your dog chewed on a bottle of ibuprofen, or if you have given ibuprofen to your dog, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Do not induce vomiting without a veterinarian’s instruction. If your pet has just ingested ibuprofen, it is likely that he or she will vomit it up if you induce vomiting quickly. If it has been several hours, induction of vomiting is much less likely to help prevent toxicity.

Even if you induce vomiting and the pills come up – have a follow-up appointment with your veterinarian that same day.

If your veterinarian or a 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital is not available, contact an Animal Poison Control helpline:

ASPCA Animal Poison Control. Help is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A $65 consultation fee may apply. 888-426-4435.

Pet Poison Helpline. Help is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A $49 fee applies per incident. 855-764-7661.

Common Scenario

If ibuprofen is given while your dog is taking other medications, side effects or drug interactions may occur.

Giving your dog ibuprofen, even at a dose that is not likely to cause adverse side effects, can cause problems if your dog needs further treatment or care. If ibuprofen is in their system, your veterinarian may be limited in what he or she can prescribe to safely help your dog.

For example, your 100-pound Great Dane jumps off the couch and begins to limp. His knee is swollen and he is very painful. You give him 200mg of ibuprofen and go to the veterinarian the next day because he is not doing any better.

Your veterinarian will likely want to prescribe an NSAID that will reduce swelling and help control pain. However, since you gave the ibuprofen – your vet may not be able to provide your pet with this medication for 10-14 days!

Since ibuprofen can cause problems with delayed blood clotting, any necessary surgery may need to be delayed until those effects wear off.

Your veterinarian may also start your dog on gastro-protectant drugs, in order to protect the lining of the stomach and intestine from the effects of ibuprofen.

Safety First

If your pet is painful, speak with your veterinarian about safe pain control options. Veterinary-approved, prescription NSAIDs carry fewer side effects and risks than over-the-counter human products.

Long-term pain control for conditions such as arthritis need to be approached with a combination of therapies, which may include NSAIDs, GAGs (glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate), physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, narcotics and other medications such as gabapentin.

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