Can I Give My Dog Advil?

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Nothing is worse than seeing your beloved canine companion in pain. When dogs are in pain, they have an instinct to hide it, so if your dog starts to develop obvious signs of pain, you can bet that it is pretty bad. But what can you give your dog to relieve his pain?

When you have a headache or some other ailment, you probably reach for a bottle of Advil. Keep reading to find out whether Advil is safe for dogs and, if it is, how to administer it.

Related: Can I Give My Dog Aspirin?

Is Advil Safe for Dogs?

Advil is the brand name for ibuprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory that is available over-the-counter for use as a pain reliever in humans. It can also be used to reduce fever and comes in various strengths. It works by blocking the hormones that trigger inflammation and, in addition to treating pain and fever, it can also be used for muscle aches, headaches, menstrual cramps, arthritis, and more.

Although Advil is very safe for people, it has the potential to be toxic for dogs. Within a very narrow dosage range, Advil can be beneficial for dogs, but the window is too small to take the risk. Given in the wrong dosage, Advil can cause the following symptoms in your dog:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Blood in the feces
  • Vomiting blood
  • Nausea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Seizures
  • Loss of coordination
  • Coma
  • Death

When consumed in unsafe doses, Advil can be very damaging to your dog’s kidneys. It is a medication that inhibits the COX enzymes which protect the mucosal lining of the intestines. When that barrier breaks down, it affects platelet function and reduces blood flow to the kidneys which can result in kidney damage – it may also cause abnormal bleeding.

Related: What Can I Give My Dog for Pain?

Safety Tips for Using Dog Pain Relievers

Because Advil is unsafe for dogs, you may be wondering what you can do to relieve your dog’s pain. While many pain relievers intended for humans are not safe for pets, there are certain drugs designed to provide pain relief specifically for dogs. Examples include Metacam, Piroxicam, Deramaxx, Rimadyl, Previcox, and Etodolac. These pain relievers are still non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, but they have a different effect on your dog’s body than Advil. These drugs block an enzyme called COX-2 which still has a pain-relieving affect but doesn’t damage your dog’s kidneys.

Even if you’re giving your dog a pain reliever designed for dogs, you still need to be careful. Your veterinarian will provide you with specific dosing instructions and you need to follow them as closely as possible. If you aren’t careful, you could give your dog too much and that could lead to symptoms such as the following:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Drooling
  • Mood changes
  • Ulcers
  • Thinning hair

If you notice any of these symptoms after giving your dog a pain-relieving medication, talk to your veterinarian immediately. It simply isn’t worth risking your dog’s safety to wait and see if the problem goes away.


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