Can dogs be given ibuprofen?

April 13, 2012

Dogs are highly valued. Dogs are much loved… even considered to be members of the family. Thus it is not surprising for an owner to be concerned with the well being of the pet. Dogs like humans would be off color one time or another. Dogs would be in pain due to injuries, due to a medical procedure or a medical concern. We humans would commonly reach for aspirin or Advil when we are in pain. Many people would think that what is safe for them is also safe for the dog. Are you one of the people with the same way of thinking? Would you give your dog ibuprofen for pain? Some dog owners would say yes, some would say no. Just as it would not be a good idea to share your medication with another person, human medication must not be given to animals too. A concerned dog owner may give a dog ibuprofen as an emergency pain relief but this drug can cause the pet more harm than good.

Advil, Nuprin, Motrin are brand names of ibuprofen. This over the counter medication, similar to aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is commonly used for immediate pain relief. The drug decreases fever as well. People suffering from arthritis routinely take ibuprofen as the drug reduces pain caused by inflammation. The production of prostaglandins in trauma related injuries is inhibited by ibuprofen and other NSAIDs, reducing inflammation and consequently easing the pain. Unfortunately, when inflammation is inhibited by prostaglandin, other body functions being done by prostaglandin such as protecting the lining of the stomach and ensuring normal blood flow in the kidneys are inhibited as well. Ibuprofen is a human medication specially formulated so that the human body would tolerate the drug. This is not so in the case of the dog. Because the drug metabolizes slowly, continued use would build up to levels that cannot be tolerated by the dog resulting to gastric ulcers and kidney damage. Ibuprofen is noted to cause acute renal failure in small dogs. An over dose of ibuprofen is fatal as it would poison the dog. Apart from being inquisitive, dogs are voracious eaters as well. Sugar coated ibuprofen would be yummy to the dog. Dogs have the propensity to chew and swallow edible and non-edible things. Imagine what will happen if the dog has managed to chew a packet of Advil. Typically, an Advil or a Motrin is available in 200 mg tablet, caplet or gel caplets. In some cases, a vet can recommend ibuprofen to the dog. A dog can safely have 2 to 4 mg per pound of body weight. This means that the dog should have a very small fraction of the pill. The dog can be poisoned by a well meaning dog owner who is trying to provide the pet relief from pain.

A dog with toxic levels of ibuprofen would commonly have gastric ulcers and kidney damage. Stomach upset can occur 12 hours or several days after the medication was ingested. The dog will be noticed to be weak and lethargic because of poor appetite. Because of vomiting, the dog would be dehydrated. Staggering and frequent urination are manifestations of buildup of ibuprofen levels. To diagnose ibuprofen toxicity the dog would need blood examinations. Gastric ulcers and kidney damage can be treated but what calls for emergency medical attention is massive ingestion of ibuprofen. This is life threatening. The dog can go into seizure and die! Hospitalization may be necessary as in most cases of poisoning; there may be a need to induce vomiting and to administer activated charcoal if the toxic dose is recently ingested. Intravenous fluids may need to be administered as well.

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