“Can I give my dog Advil?” You probably ask this question if your dog suffers from minor aches and pains. Humans often use Advil, a brand name of ibuprofen, to treat pain, but can you give it to your dog?
The answer to that question is no, you cannot give Advil to your dog unless your veterinarian specifically instructs you to do so. It’s highly toxic to dogs, and veterinarians rarely recommend it, if ever, due to the high potential for disastrous side effects.
You can easily poison your dog if you give it to them, and it can cause extreme symptoms and even death. Here’s what you should know about Advil when it comes to dogs.
How Is Advil Bad For Dogs?
Advil (ibuprofen) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that relieves pain by inhibiting enzymes that produce prostaglandins, which contribute to inflammation.
Reducing inflammation is good, but prostaglandins are responsible for other important functions, like maintaining blood flow to the kidneys, protecting gastrointestinal lining, and helping blood clot normally. Advil can easily throw all of these bodily functions into disorder, which can be fatal for dogs.
Even a low dose can cause fatal side effects in dogs. In very rare cases, vets may use Advil when all other pain killers have failed, but the difference between a safe dose and a potentially deadly dose is so small that you should never administer it to your dog without veterinary supervision.
If you take this medication, store it in a place where your dog absolutely cannot get to it.
Here are a few of the health complications that dogs can suffer from if they ingest Advil:
- Kidney failure
- Stomach ulcers
- Intestinal perforations
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Neurological problems (seizures, coma, loss of coordination, etc.)
Is Advil Ever Good For Dogs?
Advil should only be given to dogs when recommended by a veterinarian.
There is technically a low dosage of Advil (ibuprofen) that is safe for some dogs, but the risk of overdose is so high that vets almost always rely on other, safer pain-killers and would only prescribe it–or most other ibuprofen-based drugs–if other pain killers fail or cause complications. Even then, it is unlikely that a vet would prescribe Advil.
Vets will almost never recommend using Advil to treat minor pain due to the high potential for life-threatening side effects, and it’s not a good solution for long-term pain management, either, because of the risks.
Vets typically prescribe other forms of treatment for chronic conditions like arthritis. There are almost always safer, more appropriate medications and treatments for pain in dogs.
What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Advil?
If your dog ingests Advil, you may only have a short time to act. It can be absorbed into the bloodstream quickly, and a low dose of even one pill may cause some serious side effects. A large dose can cause fatal kidney failure and result in death.
Here are a few of the side effects you may see if your dog consumes Advil:
- Vomiting or nausea
- Blood in stool
- Blood in vomit
- Dry eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in thirst or urination
- Loss of coordination
If you suspect or know that your dog has taken Advil, call an emergency veterinarian right away. The vet may instruct you to induce vomiting, possibly with hydrogen peroxide, if your dog has swallowed Advil within the last few minutes.
They may also instruct you to give your dog activated charcoal to absorb some of the drug. Regardless of whether your dog vomits up the Advil, you should still take your dog to the emergency veterinarian as soon as you possibly can.
If an emergency veterinarian is not available, you can also try the ASPCA Animal Poison Control hotline by calling (888) 426-4435. There may be a charge associated with using this service, but it could be the difference between life and death for your dog. This service is available all day, every day of the year.
What Are Alternatives To Advil That Are Safe For Dogs?
There are many medications that are safer and more effective for treating pain in dogs than Advil. Your veterinarian can decide which medication is best, and it will likely depend on the type of pain or condition that is being treated.
There are several forms of over-the-counter pain medications to treat minor pain symptoms in dogs, but you should always ask your veterinarian before giving your dog any drugs.
For chronic conditions, such as arthritis, your vet may recommend forms of treatment that do not rely on medication or work in conjunction with medication. Acupuncture, hydrotherapy, massage, weight control, exercise, and dietary changes can all help arthritis symptoms improve in dogs.
Several foods and supplements may reduce pain from arthritis, too, including fish oil, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and turmeric. Talk to your vet if your dog needs long-term treatment for a chronic pain condition.
How do you treat your dog for minor pain symptoms? What other medications has your vet ever prescribed to treat pain for your dog? Let us know in the comments below!