Can I Give My Dog Aleve?

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
A common anti-inflammatory, Aleve is a popular over-the-counter drug you may use. But can you give your dog Aleve?

If you suffer from frequent headaches, backaches, or muscle aches you probably have a medicine cabinet full of Aleve, also known by the generic name naproxen. Aleve is an over-the-counter pain reliever that works well for humans but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is okay to give it to your dog. Keep reading to learn more about Aleve and whether you can give it to your dog.

What Do You Need to Know About Aleve?

Also known by the generic name naproxen, Aleve is one of the most commonly used pain medications in the world. It belongs to a class of drugs known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and it is available over-the-counter in most pharmacies and drug stores. You may also see it sold under names like Naprelan, Anaprox, and Naprosyn. Each of these drugs has the same active ingredients and works in a similar way to relieve pain, reduce fever, remedy stiffness, and mitigate joint pain.

Related: All About Joint Supplements For Dogs

Is It Safe to Give a Dog Aleve?

While the active ingredients in Aleve may technically be safe for dogs in the proper dosage, the risk of side effects and negative reactions is simply too high. Aleve works by reducing the activity of certain hormones in the body that cause inflammation and pain. Inhumans, it is typically used to treat pain associated with arthritis, muscle aches, menstrual cramps, headaches, toothaches, and colds.

Most veterinarians do not recommend Aleve for dogs partially due to the risk of side effects and partially because there are FDA-approved alternatives that are much safer for dogs. Aleve should only be used as a last resort when other safer options have failed to work. When it comes to the proper dosage, the line between “enough” and “too much” is very thin and easy to cross, so extra caution is warranted even if you have your vet’s approval.

Related: Top 10 Things to Know About Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

How Much Aleve is Safe to Give Your Dog?

The proper dosage for any medication will vary depending on several factors including your dog’s age, size, sex, and health status. Aleve tablets come in several forms including immediate release tablets (250mg to 500mg), controlled release tablets (750mg to 1,000mg), and delayed release tablets (375mg to 500mg). Most Aleve tablets, however, contain around 220mg of naproxen which is more than enough to poison either a large or small dog. As little as 2mg per pound of your dog’s body weight can cause dangerous side effects and, with higher doses, kidney failure can occur within 24 hours of ingestion.

Because Aleve comes with a high risk for side effects, you should not give it to your dog and you should keep it well out of his reach to prevent accidental ingestion. If your dog accidentally ingests Aleve, take him to the vet immediately. Depending on the circumstances, your vet may induce vomiting or he may treat your dog with activated charcoal to neutralize the toxins. Unfortunately, treatment will be very difficult if you don’t realize your dog has eaten the pill for several hours.

As heartbreaking as it can be to see that your dog is in pain, you need to think twice before giving him any pain medications. Human pain relievers like Aleve have the potential to cause serious (even fatal) side effects so always check with your veterinarian first.

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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