Ibuprofen Toxicity in Dogs

By PetMD Editorial. Reviewed by Hanie Elfenbein, DVM on Jan. 10, 2019
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If you are worried that your dog ate ibuprofen, you should take them to a veterinarian immediately. Ibuprofen toxicity in dogs can cause serious damage to the kidneys, so time is of the essence if you think your dog has gotten ahold of the medication.

Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) commonly used in humans to relieve pain and reduce fever. It is available in many over-the-counter formulations (Advil, Motrin, Midol, etc.) as well as in prescription-strength medications. Though relatively safe for people, ibuprofen can be toxic for dogs.

Symptoms of Ibuprofen Toxicity in Dogs

Symptoms may include: 

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Bloody feces (red or black)

  • Blood in vomit

  • Nausea

  • Lack of appetite

  • Weight loss

  • Stomach ulcers and perforation

  • Increased thirst

  • Increased urination

  • Decreased or lack of urine

  • Seizures

  • Incoordination (lack of coordination)

  • Coma

  • Death


Ultimately, the cause of poisoning is that the dog ate Advil or another medication containing ibuprofen. Although most cases of ibuprofen ingestion in dogs are accidental, there are instances in which pet owners administer ibuprofen-containing medications to their dog, believing them to be safe.

Giving dogs ibuprofen or other OTC human medications can be extremely hazardous to a pet’s health. You should always consult a veterinarian before administering any nonprescribed medications.

Ibuprofen inhibits COX enzymes, which normally have a protective effect on the mucosal barrier of the gastrointestinal tract, keep blood flowing normally to the kidneys, and help regulate platelet function.

When COX enzymes are inhibited, the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract becomes damaged. This causes symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and intestinal upset, and causes gastric ulcers to form. Reduced blood flow to the kidneys results in kidney damage. Reduced platelet aggregation leads to an increased tendency to bleed abnormally.


After asking you questions regarding the dog's medical history, your veterinarian will perform blood and urine tests in order to assess possible kidney compromise. These test will also check for the appearance of gastrointestinal, renal and neurological signs associated with ibuprofen toxicity in dogs.

Tell your veterinarian if you think or know that your dog ate ibuprofen (or any other medication). She is not going to judge you; she is trying to treat your pet quickly and effectively. We all know that accidents happen.


Do not induce vomiting at home. Activated charcoal may be used to absorb any excess ibuprofen poison in the stomach that has not been vomited out. In some cases, gastric lavage (“pumping the stomach”) may also be necessary. Your veterinarian will determine the best course of action to take with your dog. 

In situations where the kidneys have become damaged due to ibuprofen poisoning, fluid therapy and blood or plasma transfusions will be required. Controlling vomiting in dogs with antiemetic prescription pet medications may be recommended as well as the use of gastrointestinal protectants. Gastric perforation will require surgical correction. Anticonvulsant medications (seizure medications for dogs) may be necessary if seizures occur.


Ibuprofen and dogs do not mix. Keep your pets from accidentally ingesting Advil or other medications containing ibuprofen by securing all drugs in a location that’s inaccessible to your dog.


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