Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Toxicology Tuesday, July 3

You be the judge:

Toxic or Not?

Answer: Toxic to both dogs and cats.

Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, many other over the counter [OTC] medications) toxicity is listed as the number one most common poisoning in dogs, according to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Sometimes, this is the result of dogs accidentally chewing up the bottle, but often it is the result of well-meaning owners intentionally giving it to their dogs for pain control.

Ibuprofen has a narrow margin of safety in dogs. While doses of 5-15 mg/kg have been prescribed by some veterinarians, vomiting, abdominal pain and GI ulcers can be seen with doses of 25-50 mg/kg. That is the equivalent of 1 regular strength (200mg) to 1 extra-strength (500mg) tablet in a 20 lb. dog. At higher doses, 175 mg/kg and up (8 regular strength or 3 extra strength tablets in a 20 lb. dog), acute kidney failure results, although this dose may be lower in dogs with pre-existing kidney disease. Once doses approach 400mg/kg (20 200mg tablets or 8 500mg tablets in a 20 lb dog), seizures, coma and death may occur.

Other NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflamatory Drugs) like aspirin or Aleve have the same effects, although at different ranges. When Aleve (naprosin) first became available over-the-counter, we saw a lot of dogs with gastric ulcers from this potent NSAID. Aspirin, while considered generally safe, can cause stomach ulcers in susceptible patients or when overdosed. Cats are at least two to three times as sensitive to NSAIDs as dogs are, so even more caution is warranted. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, never give your pets a human OTC medication without consulting with a veterinarian first.


nina said...

For once--I don't have to guess--I actually know this is bad.
Joint pain should not be treated with human pain relievers. Baby aspirin is sometimes recommended (and some other pet-friendly drugs) but never ibuprofen--and the coatings they use to make it slip down easily are attractive to dogs--so an accidental overdose could easily happen.

Anonymous said...


Hey katdoc,

Glad you have your blog up and running. I have been away so much, I just found out about it.

Love the pics, and the info.


Mary said...

I have to agree with Nina since I've never been told to give ibuprofen to animals. Buffered baby aspirin has been recommended.

Lisa said...

Definitely toxic. Definitely.

KGMom said...

Since I am weighing in after some smart folks have commented, I will go along.
BUT--had I been the first one here, I would have said--dunno.
But, I wouldn't give one to any of my pets.

KatDoc said...

Good job, guys! I especially like KGMom's answer - "I dunno, but I wouldn't give it to one of my pets."

That is precisely the point of Toxicology Tuesday - If you DON'T know if something is safe, then DON'T let your pets eat it. I am never so discouraged as when somebody calls me and says, "I gave my cat Tylenol yesterday; is that OK?" Please, please, PLEASE make that phone call BEFORE you give the pain pill or antacid or Prozac, not afterwards.

Yes, aspirin can be given to dogs (and even to cats, although in much smaller doses and much less frequently) but I won't tell you a "safe" dose. You have to ask your vet for that. Remember that if your dog is on an OTC pet store "puppy aspirin" or a veterinary-prescribed NSAID (Rimadyl, Deramaxx, Etogesic, Zubrin, Metacam or other) DON'T give aspirin too, since the cumulative affects of two different NSAIDs could be toxic.

Thank you.


KatDoc said...


Hey, glad you found me! So, my blog is up and running, when will we see yours?