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Why You Should Never Give Your Dog Ibuprofen

Our dogs may not be able to talk, but they have other ways of letting us know when they’re in pain. Whether your pup is living with arthritis or you suspect a torn ACL or joint injury after a play date, you may notice your dog:

  • Whimpering or whining
  • Heavy panting
  • Favoring a limb
  • Hesitating to come when called
  • Licking a leg or paw excessively

can you give dog ibuprofenPet parents seeking a fast solution to their dog’s discomfort may be tempted to reach for the ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen in the medicine cabinet. Unfortunately, human pain medications can be lethal for our canine companions.

Can dogs take human pain medications?

Even though many over-the-counter pain medicines and veterinary pain medicines belong to the same drug class, veterinary NSAIDs are dosed and formulated differently. 

Dogs’ stomachs break down and absorb ibuprofen faster than humans’ which means that much smaller doses can have more profound and longer-lasting effects on their organ systems. 

Symptoms of ibuprofen poisoning in dogs

If you think your dog may have accidentally eaten or been given ibuprofen, contact your vet right away. 

The mechanism ibuprofen uses to reduce inflammation also reduces blood flow to the kidneys and stomach, which can lead to ulcers and renal damage. Be on the lookout for:

  • Vomiting 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Black, tarry poop
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Seizures

Pain relief for dogsdon't give dog ibuprofen

Fortunately, there are other options for pups in discomfort. Minimize risky side effects by working with your veterinarian to explore effective treatments for acute or chronic pain. 

Veterinary NSAIDs

Once your vet has had a chance to examine your dog, they can prescribe pup-approved pain medications that take into account your pet’s weight and any existing stomach, liver, or kidney conditions. 

They may also recommend supplements, dietary changes, and gentle exercise for pups dealing with arthritis or ongoing joint problems.

Laser Therapy

Laser therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses infrared light to stimulate cell turnover and speed healing. Certain wavelengths don’t generate any heat, making these laser sessions fast and comfortable for your dog. 

Pups living with chronic bone and joint conditions like luxating patella and hip dysplasia are often good candidates for laser therapy, as well as those recovering from an injury or planned surgery. 

Though some pets require multiple sessions and others experience the benefits right away, laser therapy is an excellent pain-management option for dogs that can’t take NSAIDs due to stomach sensitivity, allergies, or other health conditions or to use in conjunction with medications for maximum relief