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Can I Give A Dog An Ibuprofen?

June 23, 2021 | 3 min read

Updated October 11, 2022

By Sarah Milton


Summary: In this blog, we learn whether you can give dogs ibuprofen for pain, swelling, and/or arthritis and if dogs can take aspirin, acetaminophen, and other over-the-counter (OTC) medications…


Can I Give Dog Ibuprofen For Pain?

Did you know that dogs being given or managing to eat over-the-counter human medication is the number one reason for calls to the American Poison Control Center?

As tempting as it is to give your dog ibuprofen or aspirin when you suspect they’re in pain, it’s imperative that you don’t as this can be a very dangerous experience for dogs! We as humans are used to self-diagnosing and self-administering over-the-counter pain relief but just because we’re confident in helping ourselves and our other human friends, the same rules, unfortunately, do not apply to our furry companions…

What Are The Signs A Dog Is In Pain?

Before you even think about pain relief, you need to know for certain if your dog is experiencing pain. If they are they may:

  • Whimper/Whine/Vocalize
  • Excessively Groom/Lick Themselves
  • Change Their Eating/Drinking Habits
  • Display Aggressive Behavior
  • Begin Heavy Panting/Have Abnormal Breathing
  • Start Pacing
  • Have Stiffness/Start Limping
  • Noticeably Change Their Posture
  • Swell
  • Tremble/Shake
  • Appear Lethargic

Dogs are excellent at masking their pain, so even just appearing tired, slow or not themselves can be a big indicator something major is wrong.

the profile of a small brown and gray Yorkshire Terrier

Can I Give A Dog Ibuprofen For Pain?

If you’re wondering “can I give dog ibuprofen for pain?”, no. Under any circumstances, it is not advisable to give your dog ibuprofen (Advil) - even in cases of arthritis pain. 

Ibuprofen and Naproxen (Aleve) are very common anti-inflammatories administered to humans to aid and reduce inflammation and pain. But, these drugs are very toxic for both dogs and cats to consume. A simple 200mg ibuprofen tablet can permanently cause damage to their internal organs (namely kidneys and stomach) and can even bring about internal bleeding. 

How Much Aspirin Can You Give A Dog?

In short, you can’t and you shouldn’t. Both dogs and cats can have adverse reactions to aspirin. An adult aspirin (which is around 320mg) can be incredibly toxic to a dog of just 10lbs. Aspirin can also cause ulcers to occur in your pet’s stomach. 

Can Dogs Take Acetaminophen?

No, dogs cannot take acetaminophen or Tylenol either. It can be toxic and fatal to dogs and cats, more so for the latter. Acetaminophen can cause severe, irreversible damage to the liver, kidneys and wreak havoc on their red blood cells. The damage acetaminophen can do can even lead to the death of the dog.

However, this medication can be confusing for pet parents as there is a veterinary formula that includes acetaminophen which is safe for dogs to take. But, your vet will only prescribe this formula under certain, extreme circumstances. More often than not, they’ll prescribe a different medication that’s completely safe for dogs to take.

a medium-sized, blonde dog with long ears panting

My Dog Has Taken Human Medication - What Do I Do?

If your dog has been given, stolen, or eaten pills from your drug container, you need to contact your vet as a matter of urgency. If the vets are closed, your pup must be seen by an emergency vet. Signs that your dog is experiencing a toxic reaction can include:

  • Black, Tar-Like Poop
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Very Dark Urine
  • Collapse
  • Rapid or Difficulty Breathing
  • Excessive Salivation
  • A Disinterest In Food

Symptoms usually happen 1-4 hours after the medication has been swallowed. The symptoms will, in most cases, just worsen without treatment. 

It’s imperative that pet parents don’t administer their pets medication designed for humans. If your dog is in pain they must be seen by a vet and get a proper diagnosis and treatment for the precise condition. There are several drugs that have been designed specifically for dogs and made to help safely reduce their pain. 

Giving your dog non-prescribed, human medication can cause them to be incredibly unwell, and in some cases cause irreversible damage to their internal, major organs and can even sometimes result in their death. It’s simply not worth it. Always get a dog that appears unwell looked over by a professional, qualified veterinarian. 


"Nine Warning Signs That Could Mean Your Dog Is In Pain" Vets Now, Feb 26. 2021

"Can I Give Human Painkillers To My Pet?" Willows

Author Stregowski, Jenna "Is Acetaminophen Safe for Dogs?" The Spruce Pets, May 05. 2021

"Can I Give My Dog Over the Counter Pain Medicine?" Pet MD, Mar 09. 2017

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Thanks for reading


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Sarah Milton

Authored By

Sarah Milton

Comes from a family of animal lovers and got to grow up with a menagerie of pets! I believe owning a pet is a privilege and I love researching and creating informative, fun content for fellow pet owners to help their furry friends have the happiest and healthiest lives. When I’m not writing blogs, you can find me sharing a walk with my pet dachshund or at a yoga class!




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The information contained within this site is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or veterinary advice. PetLab Co. is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your pet has, or you suspect your pet has any medical condition, you are urged to consult your veterinarian. Medical conditions can only be diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Results May Vary. Not intended for human consumption. Please consult your veterinarian regarding any change in treatment or supplementation.
*In Amazon Pet Health Category in 2022