Ibuprofen toxicity and dogs
We’ve all been there, your dog comes in having had a scrape and you think ‘ouch, where are the painkillers?’ One of the most common pain killers used by ourselves is Ibuprofen commonly sold as Nurofen, but please do not be tempted – although safe in people, it is poisonous to dogs.
So, why is ibuprofen poisonous to dogs?
Within a dogs body, much like ours, there are substances produced that protect us. An important example is prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are complex molecules which protect many of a dog’s internal organs. One of the effects of ibuprofen in dogs is to stop prostaglandin production, so organs that need prostaglandins for protection can be damaged.
What can you do to protect your dog?
If your dog seems unwell or has a minor injury, it is extremely tempting to reach into the medicine cabinet for a drug that you would use for yourself and administer it to your pet. Likewise if your dog requires long term pain medication for diseases such as arthritis and you run out or are looking for an easier option, it might be tempting to use a human drug.However please don’t use ibuprofen. The fact is that different species react to drugs in different ways and this applies as much to dogs and cats as it does to dogs and people. If your vet has prescribed pain killers these will have been extensively tested by drug companies to ensure that they are safe to your dog.
What should I do if my dog has ingested Ibuprofen?
Please call your vet immediately, as the best treatment is to induce vomiting ideally within 3 hours of ingestion. If ingestion was longer than 3 hours ago, the body might have absorbed enough and there is a need to protect the kidneys and the intestines. Your dog may be admitted into the surgery and placed on a drip to maintain blood pressure and help the kidneys. To protect the intestines, gastric protectant medicines may be used.
Names of drugs that contain ibuprofen in the UK
This list isn’t exhaustive but illustrates just how many products contain ibuprofen:
Anadin ibuprofen, Anadin joint pain, Arthrofen, Brufen Retard, Calprofen, Ebufac, Fenpaed, Galprofen, Ibugel, Ibuleve, Nurofen, Orbifen, Rimafen.
If you travel abroad the list is even longer, however the active ingredient will always been written on the packaging.
Please do be very careful and always consult your vet before giving your dog any form of medication. If you have any immediate concerns about your pet's health you should contact your vet immediately - even if they are closed, they will always have an out of hours service available. Find out more about what to do in an out of hours emergency.
The most common poisonings we see and how to protect your dog
The most common poisonings we see and how to protect your cat
How to identify a possible poisoning and what to do