Naproxen Poisoning in Dogs

Molly Price, DVM
By Molly Price, DVM on Aug. 30, 2023
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In This Article

What Is Naproxen?

What Is Naproxen?

Naproxen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) commonly used in humans to treat pain, inflammation, and fever. Naproxen is available as a generic medication, as well as under the brand names Aleve® and Naprosyn®, among many others. Naproxen is available in over-the-counter strengths, with higher strengths available by prescription only. While safe for humans, Naproxen is never used in veterinary medicine as it is extremely toxic and must be kept out of reach to prevent pets from ingestion.

Naproxen can cause severe side effects in dogs, such as gastrointestinal ulceration, internal bleeding resulting in anemia (abnormally low red blood cell levels), bloody vomit, bloody diarrhea, kidney damage, and liver damage.

Naproxen has a narrow margin of safety, meaning it is extremely potent. Ingestion of just one over-the-counter Naproxen tablet or capsule in a large-sized dog can cause serious toxicity or even be fatal.

If your pet accidentally ingests naproxen, contact your veterinarian or emergency veterinarian immediately.

Over-the-counter human pain relievers are not safe for dogs. There are more effective and safer FDA-approved NSAIDs available to relieve pain in your dog. Always check with your veterinarian first before giving any over-the-counter medications or human prescription medications to your dog, as doing so may cause them harm.

Signs of Naproxen Poisoning in Dogs

  • Vomiting, even bloody
  • Diarrhea, even bloody

  • Loss of appetite

  • Abdominal pain

  • Black, tarry stools

  • Abnormally low red blood cell levels associated with internal bleeding

  • Elevated kidney levels

  • Elevated liver levels

Naproxen Ingestion Information

Ingestion of any amount of Naproxen in a pet should be considered an emergency and can be life-threatening. Immediate veterinary care is necessary.

If your pet ingested Naproxen, immediately contact your veterinarian, seek emergency veterinary care, or contact an animal poison control center. Consultation fees often apply.

Pet Poison Helpline (855) 764-7661

ASPCA Animal Poison Control (888) 426-4435

How Can I Keep My Dog Safe from Naproxen Poisoning?

  • Keep human medications out of reach from pets unless your veterinarian specifically instructs you to give it.

  • Keep all forms of human medications (tablets, capsules, ointments, powders, gels) and bottles of medications off countertops and anywhere a pet could get to them.

  • If you drop or spill any medication, pick it up immediately to prevent your pet from ingesting it.

  • Never give any human medications (over-the-counter or prescription) or any veterinary medications prescribed for another pet to your dog without first consulting with your veterinarian.

Naproxen FAQs

Is Naproxen safe for dogs?

Naproxen is extremely toxic for dogs. Keep naproxen out of reach for pets.

Featured Image: Rybak

Molly Price, DVM


Molly Price, DVM


Dr. Molly Price has practiced small animal medicine for over 20 years and is a graduate of Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine. She...

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