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Can dogs be given ibuprofen?

Updated on June 29, 2010

Advil is advertized as the medication for every pain. Motrin is promoted as the fastest medication for pain relief. Both the Advil and the Motrin contains ibuprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Ibuprofen provides powerful relief from fever, from headaches, muscle aches and from pains associated with medical conditions. This medication reduces swelling and inflammation. Clinical studies have shown that when taken in the correct dosage, this over the counter medication is safe and guaranteed to provide humans instant relief from pain. Because these medications are routinely used, some dog owners would assume that what is good for them would be good for the pet too. If you are really concerned with the well being of the pet please…please don’t give Fido human medications. These pain relievers are not safe for dogs!

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Why ibuprofen is given to dogs

Dogs suffer from pain too. These energetic animals will be overwhelmed by pain caused by injuries. The pain may be due to a medical procedure but commonly the pain a dog suffers from is associated with arthritis and some other medical concerns. Some vets would prescribe this pain relief medication although this seldom happens given that alternatives that are better metabolized and cause less irritation to the stomach are the first choices. If prescribed by the vet, the dog owner must ensure that the precise dosage is administered.

Why ibuprofen should not be given to dogs

NSAIDs are useful pain medication for humans not for dogs. A pet owner would naturally want to help the pet. In emergency cases, a dog owner would commonly reach for medications that are routinely used without realizing that instead of providing relief it would do the pet more harm. Ibuprofen has no proper dosage guidelines for dogs thus over dosage that could be fatal is very possible. Moreover, dogs digest this medication slowly so that even when given in small dosage for a period of time, the toxic level will build up and jeopardize the health of the dog.


A dog with these symptoms must be brought to a veterinary facility at once. Immediate treatment is imperative. A dog that has recently ingested massive dose of ibuprofen may need to be induced to vomit. A vet would normally administer activated charcoal and intravenous fluids.

Hazardous effects of ibuprofen

This OTC medication will reduce the inflammation and provide the dog instant relief from pain but it can also severely affect the lining of the stomach causing it to bleed and to develop ulcers. Build up of toxic level can result to kidney damage. Massive overdose is fatal as in most cases; when symptoms of poisoning are noticed it would be too late to save the life of the pet.

Symptoms of ibuprofen toxicity

Physical exam and blood tests would diagnose ibuprofen toxicity. However, it pays to know the symptoms as oftentimes timely treatment would save the life of the pet. The buildup of ibuprofen would result to a weak, lethargic and anorexic dog. Increased thirst and increased frequency of urination will be noticed. Commonly, the dog would have diarrhea and pass bloody stool. The dog may vomit blood as well.

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    • Paulart profile image

      Paulart 6 years ago from 2510 Warren Avenue Cheyenne,Wyoming 82001

      Wow very informative hub.