Pet Danger – Painkillers and Your Pets

Our immediate instinct is to give our pets relief from pain, and surely a little Ibuprofen can’t hurt. Let’s start with a quote from “stop yourself if you are tempted to reach for a human pain reliever to give to your dog. Over-the-counter (OTC) pain meds and other human medications can be very dangerous and even fatal for dogs.

Dogs should not be given ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin or any other pain reliever made for human consumption except under the direction of a veterinarian.

While these can be excellent for us humans dogs can develop issues like:

  • Gastrointestinal ulcers
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (often bloody)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Liver damage (in some cases)

Dogs may die without appropriate treatment. It is not safe to give your dog any amount of aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen or other anti-inflammatory meant for humans without first talking to your veterinarian.

So, if ibuprofen acts like this then maybe Tylenol would be a safer option. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is not an NSAID, but it is still just as dangerous for dogs.

No one is exactly sure how it works to reduce pain and fever; it has no effect on inflammation. But when dogs ingest toxic amounts of acetaminophen, it destroys their liver cells, damages the kidneys and converts hemoglobin—the oxygen-carrying molecule in blood—to methemoglobin, resulting in poor oxygen delivery throughout the body and widespread tissue damage.

If you have a multi-pet household, you should also know that cats are so sensitive to the adverse effects of acetaminophen that ingesting just one regular-strength tablet can result in severe toxicosis, and two tablets can be fatal.

Pain relief is an issue best handled by your veterinarian. Both the FDA and PetMd have excellent articles on this subject and are well worth reading for more information. Image courtesy of vca hospitals

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