Is Ibuprofen Safe for Dogs? Dosage Chart, Risks, and Safety Rules

Generic ibuprofen tablets spilling out of an open bottle on a blue background

Written by Abdulmumin Akinde

Published: June 4, 2022

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Is ibuprofen safe for dogs? In this article, we will answer the question of the correct dosage, risks, and safety of giving your drug this pain medication. What do you take when you have pain or feel an ache in any part of your body? For most people, the answer is to use ibuprofen or any other type of over-the-counter pain medication. Many people already have Advil, Tylenol, and similar analgesic medications in their medicine cabinets. However, the big question is whether or not it is safe to give your dog such medications if they are injured or in any kind of pain. 

It’s easy to see why many people wonder if it’s okay to give their dog ibuprofen. After all, humans take this drug to treat headaches, sprains, and other types of pain. Also, you do not need a prescription for them. However, while ibuprofen might seem like a cheap alternative to a vet visit, this drug is not safe for dogs, and you should not give them. In fact, you’ll end up causing more harm than good in the long run. 

Generally, human painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications are unsafe for dogs. Unless your vet recommends them, you should refrain from giving them to your pet. 

Is Ibuprofen Safe For Dogs? Dosage Chart 

The correct answer is “No!” There is no safe dosage or dosage regimen of ibuprofen for dogs, and it isn’t recommended. Speak to your vet, and they’ll recommend better and safer alternatives to ibuprofen that you can give dogs. 

Unlike humans, ibuprofen can exceed toxic levels in dogs within a very short time. It has a very narrow safety margin for dogs which is why it isn’t safe to use. Signs of toxicosis may begin to appear if a 25-pound dog takes as little as half a 200mg pill

Well-meaning dog owners trying to alleviate pain in their dogs should avoid giving them Advil or any other similar analgesic that may contain ibuprofen. Even a small dosage that you might consider safe can be toxic to your pet with serious side effects on their gastrointestinal system, liver, kidney, and other internal organs. 

Veterinarian giving a Veterinarian giving a chihuaha a pilla pill

If your dog needs pain medication, your veterinarian will administer or prescribe one that is safe for canines.

© Tikhonova

Risks Of Giving Dogs Ibuprofen 

Ibuprofen is a dangerous drug to administer to your dog, and you should avoid doing so in whatever dosage. This drug can damage a dog’s internal organs, such as the stomach and kidneys. 

What makes ibuprofen dangerous for pets is that it blocks the activity of an enzyme known as cyclooxygenase (COX). While this action helps to reduce inflammation, it also inhibits the proper flow of blood to internal organs. In humans, when ibuprofen is abused, it can cause ulceration of the gastrointestinal system. However, for canines, ibuprofen causes damage to other internal organs alongside the GIT, which is why its use is discouraged.

Dogs are more susceptible to ibuprofen poisoning than humans for the following reasons: 

  • The drug is likely to last longer in a dog’s system than it does in humans.
  • The intestines and stomach of a dog absorb ibuprofen faster than humans’ do.
  • The level of ibuprofen absorbed into the bloodstream is usually higher in dogs than in humans. 

In essence, dogs are simply not built to tolerate large doses of this drug like humans, and giving it to them can cause serious harm. Some of the adverse effects of administering this drug to drugs include: 

  • Stomach ulcers
  • Kidney damage
  • seizures 
  • Death 

Dogs may begin to show signs of toxicity due to ibuprofen poisoning within 12 hours of taking the medication. The initial effects include bleeding and stomach ulcers. Higher doses can cause kidney damage, kidney failure, and seizures. If the dog does not get treatment in time, it could be fatal. 

Some of the symptoms of ibuprofen toxicity in dogs include: 

  • Loss of appetite 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Lethargy 
  • Weakness 
  • Increased thirst 
  • Frequent urination 

These symptoms may be mild to severe, depending on the dosage administered. If your dog accidentally ingested ibuprofen, you should not wait for the symptoms to show before seeking medical help. 

Human hand gently supporting a dog's injured and bandaged paw

Ibuprofen is highly toxic to dogs and should NOT be administered to them.


Alternatives to Ibuprofen for Dogs

As we have established, you should never give your dog ibuprofen or other types of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat pain or injury. Veterinarians don’t usually recommend this type of drug. In the rare circumstances that they do, it is done under close supervision. 

This is why you should consult your vet before giving your dog any medication. They will consider the dog’s current health status, medical history, age, and size to determine the right type of medication to administer as treatment in that particular case. 

Over-the-counter NSAIDs like Ibuprofen cause serious side effects in dogs. Even though they’re effective for treating pain, inflammation, and fever in humans, they’re unsafe for pets. Vets typically prefer drugs that can deliver the same pain-blocking and anti-inflammatory effect without affecting other essential body functions in the process. Some examples of medications formulated specifically for treating pain in dogs include: 

  • Etodolac (EtoGesic)
  • Deracoxib (Deramaxx)
  • Meloxicam (Metacam)
  • Carprofen (Rimadyl)
  • Firocoxib (Previcox).
  • Gabapentin

Not only are these dogs more effective than ibuprofen for dogs, but they’re also safer to use as well. In addition to medication (or as an alternative), you can also try other non-pharmacological methods to relieve pain and inflammation in dogs. Some of the recommended options for this include: 


Get an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables and cover it in a thin towel, then place it on the site of the injury for about five minutes. This can reduce inflammation. 

Heat Massage

In cases of chronic injury, a massage with a warm wet washcloth or towel can help provide relief. Experts do not recommend using heating pads to massage a dog as it might be too hot for it. Instead, microwave a wet washcloth slightly until it is warm, then place it in a plastic bag before applying it to the affected area. 

Before administering any medication or even these alternative forms of treatment, it is best to have your pet evaluated by a veterinarian first. This ensures that you’re administering treatment that is just appropriate for the type of injury your dog is suffering from. 


Ibuprofen (in any dosage) is dangerous for dogs, and it isn’t recommended. There’s a risk of gastrointestinal ulcers, organ damage, and even death if care is not taken. Do not administer pain medication without a vet’s prescription. Also, keep all human medications out of your pet’s reach to keep them from ingesting them accidentally. If you suspect that your pet is in pain of any kind, reach out to your vet for advice or book an appointment to have it checked right away. They’ll be able to find effective and safe medication for your pup. 

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About the Author

Abdulmumin is a pharmacist and a top-rated content writer who can pretty much write on anything that can be researched on the internet. However, he particularly enjoys writing about animals, nature, and health. He loves animals, especially horses, and would love to have one someday.

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