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Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen Toxicity in Pets

We have people ask us on several occasions; my dog is a bit sore, can I give him/her some Tylenol or Advil? The answer is NO.

Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Aspirin) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID), and it is toxic to pets! Dogs and cats cannot metabolize it the same way that we can and will result in stomach ulcers. In turn, it will give your pet bloody diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, pale gums, abdominal pain and eventual kidney, or liver failure, and neurological disorders.

So then, people ask, can my pet have Tylenol then? Tylenol or acetaminophen is NOT an NSAID. Again, we do not recommend giving Tylenol to your pets as they don’t metabolize it in the same way as we do. It will result in damage to the liver cells, the kidneys, and other tissues throughout the body.

If you are worried about your pet being in discomfort, please talk to your veterinarian first. Many drugs that are made for human consumption are not for your pets’ consumption. There have been reported cases of veterinarians prescribing low doses of baby aspirin to dogs, but this is only under thorough investigation of the dog and its history, with bloodwork, and often is in the end stages of life. It is not typically recommended, as many other pain medications are much safer and more effective for your pets. Please never self-prescribe and always talk to your veterinarian first.

If your pet consumes ibuprofen or acetaminophen it is considered an emergency and you should bring your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Treatment of these toxicities includes bloodwork to identify any liver and kidney damage. It is often followed by repeating the bloodwork a few days later, a few weeks later, and also sometimes a few months later. Treatments also include induction of vomiting, IV fluids, charcoal administration, stomach protectants, and careful monitoring.

If you have any questions about giving your pet any over the counter (OTC) products, please consult with your veterinarian first.

Written by: Michelle, Lead RVT

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