My dog ate Ibuprofen – what to do now

My dog ate Ibuprofen What do I do? We can help!

Dogs and ibuprofen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs of all forms can be a fatal mix.  Dogs love eating many pills because of their sugar coating but what happens to them is dependent on their weight, the type of medication, be it Advil, Aleve, ibupofen, etc., and how long it has been since they consumed the pill.  Even though your dog may  not be immediately showing signs of intoxication, you must act fast and ask a vet if the amount they ate requires an emergency hospital visit.

Our vets at VetLIVE are able to determine if your pet is in danger and inform you for signs to look out for.  VetLIVE veterinarians need the following information and may request additional information:

  • Your dog’s age, weight, and specific medical conditions (such as decreased kidney or liver function)
  • Time since ibuprofen was ingested
  • Type of medication consumed (be sure to have the bottle handy so we can know the exact strengh in mg)
  • Number of pills consumed if possible
  • Your pet’s current behavior and clinical signs (vomiting, diarrhea, trembling, pacing, etc.)

The signs of ibuprofen intoxication can range depending on how much chocolate was consumed.  Common findings in dogs recorded in decreasing frequency included vomiting, lethargy, anorexia, bloody vomitus, diarrhea, melena, and anemia. Depending on the factors above, ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be fatal.

Example Ask A Vet Q&A

Pet parent: Hello, my dog ate an aleve tablet. Should I be concerned? She weighs 35 lbs.

Dr. Laci: Hi there, can you please verify that the strength of the tablet was 200 mg naproxen? It should say 220 mg total (20 mg are sodium) but only 200 mg naproxen. Also, did you have any idea when Sophie ate the pills?  How does she seem right now—is she exhibiting any unusual signs? I will be back with you ASAP. I am calculating her dose currently.

Is she on any other medications, such as Rimadyl, Metacam, Deramaxx, etc. for pain or arthritis?

Pet parent: Yes, that is correct. It was just about 10 minutes ago. She takes metacam every day for her joints.

Dr. Laci: Good news and bad news. The dose she received is high enough that combined with the metacam she will most likely experience significant gastrointestinal damage at the very least. Without veterinary treatment, she will likely have internal bleeding and she may even experience it with it.

She needs to be seen at a vet hospital immediately. The good news is that we have time on our side. If you can get her there quickly, the vet will likely induce vomiting. He/she will also probably adminster something called activated charcoal to help stop any absorption of the drug into her system. Depending on how quickly she is seen and treated, they may or may not want to keep her overnight. If they do, supportive care will probably be all that is needed (this typically includes IV fluids and monitoring).

The dose she received could be very severe if she is not treated ASAP. This dose can cause severe damage to the kidneys or liver and internal bleeding so severe that it can lead to anemia.

You will probably be sent home with a medication to decrease her stomach acid production in addition.

I don’t want to scare you, but I do want to stress the severity of the situation. If she is seen and treated very soon, she will likely have no permanent damage and will need very little treatment. If you wait until the morning, I’m afraid it will likely be an entirely different story in which you will end up $1000s in debt and she may have permanent kidney damage or worse…

Please let me know if you have any other questions. I will keep the question open in case you think of something while you are at the vet.  Feel free to follow-up with me afterwards!

Best wishes your way,
Dr Laci

Pet parent: Thank you so much for your prompt response. We are at the emergency room now and they already made her vomit. I wasn’t going to take her so I am grateful for your quick response.