Use of Ibuprophen in Dogs
We have an older German Shepherd who has had mild problems with her hips for a couple of years. She’s slow in getting up and down and seems stiff when she first starts moving. Our veterinarian said that her problems are related to arthritis in her hip joints and that we can use aspirin to make her feel more comfortable. We don’t keep aspirin in the house for our headaches but we use Motrin and Tylenol. I know Tylenol shouldn’t be used in animals, but can’t Motrin be used in place of aspirin?
You have raised an excellent question. Although people use Motrin, Advil, Tylenol, Aleve, and aspirin fairly interchangeably for headaches and muscle pain, these drugs act very differently from each other in dogs and cats. Although Tylenol (acetaminophen) can be tolerated in dogs, it must not be used in cats because it is transformed by the cat’s liver into a toxic substance that can kill the cat.
Motrin and Advil (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen) are a different class of anti-inflammatory drugs from acetaminophen or aspirin and any member of this group of drugs can easily produce stomach and intestinal ulcers in dogs and cats. Therefore, if your veterinarian recommends aspirin, use only aspirin and none of the other available anti-inflammatory drugs. There are anti-inflammatory drugs available through your veterinarian that are approved for use in dogs and cats and are alternative therapy options if aspirin does not help your dog or produces untoward side effects.
Also, remember that while cats can tolerate aspirin, they have to have a much smaller dose than dogs. Your best advice is to always check with the veterinarian first before giving these medications to any of your pets.