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What is Advil Poisoning?

For humans, Advil is an effective over the counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication that relieves pain, but should not be used for your dog without consulting your veterinarian. Advil (ibuprofen) is tolerated only in the smallest of doses by animals and then for only a short time.  Most cases of poisoning are accidental. Your dog may find the container and chew through it to the pills.

Owners have given it to their pets reasoning that it should be safe because they use it themselves and have found it effective. But medicating your pet with Advil can come with disastrous consequences, including death.

Advil is a brand name for a medication containing ibuprofen which is relatively safe for humans but is toxic to your dog and other animals.

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Symptoms of Advil Poisoning in Dogs

  • Vomiting and diarrhea can cause the beginning of gastric ulcers to form 
  • Awkward walking and gait 
  • Nausea and general un-wellness
  • Depression
  • Intestinal irritation and inability to keep food down 
  • Increased need for water
  • Seizures
  • Blood within the feces 
  • Lack of appetite
  • Coma
  • Death 

Types

  • Ibuprofen is an active ingredient in pain relief medication such as Advil and Nuprin
  • A single 200-milligram ibuprofen tablet can be toxic to a small or medium sized dog
  • Anything classified as NSAIDs (over the counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are the most common medication for humans, but they should never be administered to an animal without consulting a veterinarian. 
  • Aspirin and Naproxen are NSAIDs which produce similar effects to Advil

Causes of Advil Poisoning in Dogs

The causes of Advil poisoning are often accidental; your dog is a creature with great curiosity and will chew anything it finds, including medication.

  • Other causes have been through well-meaning owners who have given their pets Advil to reduce any pain after a pet's injury, without realising the damage it can do to their furry friend
  • Advil (ibuprofen) causes the COX enzymes inhibition (these enzymes are there to protect the mucosal barrier within the gastrointestinal tract); if they are inhibited, then their ability to protect your dog’s internal system is greatly reduced 
  • With damage to the gastrointestinal tract, extensive vomiting, along with feelings of nausea, occurs and allows gastric ulcers to form 
  • The ibuprofen affects your dog’s blood flow to the kidneys which results in kidney damage due to the reduced blood movement 
  • Damage to the kidneys results in reduced platelets which result in abnormal internal bleeding

Diagnosis of Advil Poisoning in Dogs

If you discover your dog has been exploring and has found an Advil tablet container which he has chewed through, it is imperative to take him to the veterinarian immediately. If you can take what is left of the container with you to confirm the medication and the strength or dosage, this will help your dog’s specialist to decide on the correct treatment to administer. The quicker you can get your dog help, the better. If the pills your dog has ingested are still in the stomach and haven’t yet dissolved, then treatment is easier. Moving the medication through your pet’s system before it has a chance to cause further damage is vital. 

Your veterinarian will do a full physical examination and ask about your dog’s medical history before performing blood and urine tests. These tests are to ascertain if any kidney damage has occurred and to examine the gastrointestinal, renal and neurological signs that are caused by Advil poisoning. Damage to the stomach, such as perforation or kidney failure, requires additional diagnostic tests. If your dog had eaten before taking the medications, the presence of the food might delay the usual rapid absorption of the drug.

Treatment of Advil Poisoning in Dogs

Depending on the time that has elapsed since your dog has ingested the tablets, the treatment will vary. If there are no visible signs yet your dog may be induced to vomit using apomorphine, hydrogen peroxide or ipecac. Getting the medication out of your dog’s body is the vital concern. Using activated charcoal to absorb the poison in the stomach may help, or performing a stomach pump (gastric lavage) on your dog to pump out the contents is another possible option.

If the time frame is longer and damage to the kidneys has occurred, fluid therapy, along with blood or plasma transfusions will be necessary. Anti-emetic medications may be needed to control the vomiting of your dog, and your pet may need gastrointestinal protectants. As you can see, it can be a terrible thing for your pet to endure. In the worst-case scenario such as gastric perforation, your dog will require surgery to correct it. If your dog is starting to have seizures, anticonvulsant medication will be administered. 

Recovery of Advil Poisoning in Dogs

Prevention is always the best form of defence for your pet’s health. Because your dog will always check out something that smells different and looks like food, you need to think about your pet and keep all medications well out of his reach. Securing all drugs in a location that your dog cannot get access to is important. Once your dog recovers from the poisoning, recovery will depend on how severe the dose your pet absorbed and the damage to his health.

If surgery was necessary, then follow all your veterinarian’s instructions to enable a rapid recovery. Your dog may be on medications for some time to allow his body to recover, so caring support and a comfy bed will be necessary. Bandages need to be kept clean and dry and often replaced to prevent any infection. Soft easy to eat food and clean water will help the recovery process.