When we as humans get aches and pains, we turn to ibuprofen, naproxen and possibly other NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). However, not all human medications are safe for our dogs. Naproxen reduces pain, inflammation and fever, but should never be administered to your dog without the supervision and guidance of your veterinarian, because of adverse side effects.
Naproxen for dogs can cause toxicity and other adverse side effects. Naproxen is often used for acute and chronic pain and inflammation in your dog, and to reduce the presence of prostaglandins in trauma-related injuries.
The most serious side effect to be aware of is toxicity. This is usually because of an overdose of naproxen. Other side effects may include a bleeding ulcer, stomach irritation or possible kidney problems. In most cases, your veterinarian will opt for other alternatives with fewer side effects.
Some things to watch for in your dog are loss of appetite; black, tarry stools; vomiting (sometimes with blood); lethargy; abdominal pain; and dehydration. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, discontinue use and call your veterinarian. Diagnosis of naproxen toxicity is based upon a physical examination and medical history regarding your dog’s exposure to the medication. Blood tests can be performed to determine possible anemia from a bleeding ulcer or kidney damage.
The suggested dosage for dogs is 1.1 to 2.2 mg to be given once a day or every other day, depending on the size of your dog. The duration of treatment is dependent upon your dog’s particular condition being treated.
Naproxen should not be given if your dog has a known kidney, blood or liver disorder. Also avoid use if your dog is hypersensitive or allergic to naproxen, and advise your veterinarian.
If your dog was given naproxen per the advice of your veterinarian, and it is experiencing side effects and/or toxicity, discontinue use immediately and call your veterinarian immediately. You may be then advised to put your dog on a bland diet for a couple of days and to monitor the eating habits, stools or any vomiting to be sure there are no signs of blood. Be sure to always keep any medications out of the reach of your dog and confer with your veterinarian before ever administering any human pain relief. What may be safe for humans can be fatal for your dog.
If your dog suffers from naproxen toxicity, hospitalization may be required with continuous intravenous fluids as well as blood transfusions. If the diagnosis was in the early stages of the toxicity, activated charcoal may help. After a couple of days of treatment, blood work may be done to evaluate kidney function.