The Dangers of Ibuprofen for Dogs and Cats

Ibuprofen is a common over-the-counter medication many of us rely on to relieve pain or reduce fever. As a type of NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug), its popularity and accessibility mean that most households have a bottle on hand. However, this convenience can pose a risk to our pets. Whether through accidental access or well-meaning owners administering it to their sick pets, ibuprofen can be toxic to dogs and cats.

Why is Ibuprofen Dangerous for Pets?

In pets, even a single pill of ibuprofen can cause serious health issues. It can lead to stomach ulcers and, in larger quantities, severe kidney damage. While veterinarians do prescribe NSAIDs for pets, these medications are specifically formulated for animals and are dosed to maximize effectiveness while minimizing side effects. Always consult with your veterinarian before giving your dogs any over the counter medications!

Symptoms of Ibuprofen Toxicity in Pets

If your dog or cat ingests ibuprofen, they might show the following symptoms:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Dark stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Increased or decreased drinking and urination

It’s important to remember that some pets might not exhibit symptoms immediately. Signs of toxicity can take up to five days to appear, and cats, in particular, are adept at hiding their symptoms until their condition becomes life-threatening.

What to Do if Your Pet Ingests Ibuprofen

If you suspect your pet has consumed ibuprofen, seek veterinary assistance immediately. If you can get your pet to the vet within one to two hours of ingestion, the pill may not be fully digested yet. In such cases, the vet can induce vomiting to remove the pill from their system before it is fully absorbed. However, even if this early window is missed, it is still crucial to visit the vet. Prompt treatment can help minimize the damage caused by the drug, and supportive care can be administered to help your pet recover.

Emergency Help and Resources

In situations where you cannot immediately reach an animal hospital, the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) is available 24/7, 365 days a year. They can provide critical guidance on what steps to take to help your pet.

Always keep medications like ibuprofen securely out of reach of your pets, and if you suspect that your pet has ingested ibuprofen, do not wait for symptoms to appear. Seek veterinary help immediately to ensure the best possible outcome for your furry friend. Early intervention is key to mitigating the harmful effects of this common medication on pets.

For more information on how to keep your pets safe and healthy, visit the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association (IVMA) Pet Owner Resources.