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Can You Give Dogs Ibuprofen? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 3, 2024 by Dogster Team

ibuprofen medication

Can You Give Dogs Ibuprofen? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

As pet owners, it’s natural to be concerned about our furry friends’ health and well-being. When they’re in pain or feeling unwell, we want to do everything we can to help them. One common question that arises is can you give dogs ibuprofen? Ibuprofen is not safe for dogs and can in fact be very harmful as it is toxic for them. In this article, we’ll explore the safety and risks of administering ibuprofen to dogs, discuss alternative pain relief options, and provide additional information to keep your pet safe.

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Is It Safe to Give Ibuprofen to Dogs?

Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) commonly used in humans to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and lower fever. It’s available over the counter and is often used to treat headaches, muscle aches, and minor injuries in humans.

Ibuprofen is not safe for dogs and can be extremely toxic, even in small doses. Dogs metabolize ibuprofen differently than humans, which can result in serious side effects such as gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers, kidney damage, and liver failure. In severe cases, ibuprofen toxicity can be life-threatening.

Signs of Ibuprofen Toxicity in Dogs

If your dog has ingested ibuprofen, it’s essential to be aware of the signs of toxicity.

These may include:
  • Vomiting, sometimes with blood
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody stools
  • Dark, tarry stools
  • Loss of appetite
  • Decreased or increased thirst
  • Decreased or increased urination
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Incoordination
  • Seizures
  • Pale gums
  • Yellow discoloration of the skin
  • Coma

Toxicity levels can vary depending on the size and health of your dog and how much ibuprofen was ingested. However, even small doses can be dangerous, so it’s best to avoid giving ibuprofen to dogs altogether.

When to Seek Veterinary Help

If you suspect your dog has ingested ibuprofen or is showing signs of toxicity, contact your veterinarian or an emergency animal clinic immediately. Prompt treatment is crucial to minimize the risk of long-term damage or death.

vet examining a sick German Shepherd dog
Image By: Roger costa morera, Shutterstock

Safe Alternatives for Pain Relief in Dogs

Although it’s not safe to give ibuprofen to dogs, there are other forms of pain relief you can give to dogs. However, you should not give your dog anything that isn’t vet-approved, so make sure to reach out to your veterinarian and have your dog examined if you think they are experiencing pain.

Veterinary-Approved NSAIDs

Several veterinary-approved NSAIDs, such as carprofen, meloxicam, and deracoxib, are specifically formulated for dogs. These medications are safer for dogs and can be prescribed by your veterinarian to manage pain and inflammation.

Other Pain Management Options

Your veterinarian may also recommend other pain management options depending on your dog’s specific needs.

These may include:
  • Cold or heat therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Infrared light therapy
  • Laser therapy
  • Massage
  • Prescription medications for more severe pain

Some natural remedies, such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, can help support joint health and reduce inflammation and pain. However, always consult your veterinarian before introducing any new supplements or remedies to your dog’s regimen.

woman giving body massage to a dog
Image By: Rasulov, Shutterstock

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Preventing Accidental Ibuprofen Ingestion

Even if you’re not intentionally giving your dog ibuprofen, it’s possible for your dog to accidentally ingest some if it is left out. To prevent this from happening, here are some things you can do.

Storing Medications Safely

To prevent accidental ingestion of ibuprofen by your dog, always store medications in a secure location that is out of reach of pets. Keep purses and bags containing medication off the floor and away from curious noses.

Educating Family Members and Guests

Ensure that all family members and guests are aware of the dangers of ibuprofen for dogs and the importance of keeping medications out of reach. Remind them not to give any human medications to your dog without consulting a veterinarian first.

Beautiful happy family is having fun with golden retriever outdoors
Image Credit: 4 PM production, Shutterstock

Other Human Medications to Avoid

In addition to ibuprofen, several other human medications are dangerous for dogs, including acetaminophen (Tylenol), naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin. Always consult your veterinarian before giving any over-the-counter medication to your pet.

Potential Drug Interactions

Even veterinary-approved medications can have potential drug interactions with other medications your dog may be taking. Always inform your veterinarian about your dog’s current medications and supplements to avoid adverse reactions.

dog owner talking to vet
Image Credit; SeventyFour, Shutterstock

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In summary, you should never give dogs ibuprofen, as it can be highly toxic and potentially life-threatening. If your dog is in pain or experiencing inflammation, consult your veterinarian for safe and effective treatment options. By taking these precautions and seeking professional advice, you can help ensure your furry friend stays healthy and pain-free.

Featured Image Credit: speedshutter Photography, Shutterstock

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