Can I Give a Dog Motrin for Pain?

When you or your family members are suffering with mild pain, it is natural to reach for over-the-counter pain medication such as Aspirin or Ibuprofen. When pets get sick or injured, many owners wonder if their painkillers are safe for their dogs too.

While some human pain relief is safe for dogs, many are not. This is due to certain ingredients in the medication that are toxic to dogs.

Can I give my dog Motrin for pain?

Unfortunately, Motrin is one of those drugs that dogs should not be given. Motrin is an over-the-counter pain medication used to treat mild pain, inflammation and fever caused by headaches, back pain, menstrual cramps or minor injury.

Motrin contains Ibuprofen, which is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It is also found in Midol and Advil.

Motrin is an NDSAID that reduces pain and inflammation by blocking cyclooxygenase, which is an enzyme involved in the production of prostaglandins. These hormones are responsible for the development of pain, inflammation and fever.

The problem is that prostaglandins are also vital in maintaining blood flow to the kidneys, helping with normal blood clotting and producing a mucus that protects the lining of the digestive tract.

Cyclooxygenase has two distinct forms, COX-1 and COX-2. While both are involved in the formation of pain and inflammation, COX-1 is the enzyme that is also involved in the blood clotting, blood flow to the kidneys and digestive mucus production.  NSAIDs that contain Ibuprofen block both COX-1 and COX-2.

What happens if you give a dog Motrin?

Side effects of Motrin can be life-threatening if veterinary treatment is not sought quickly. Motrin can cause symptoms such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage
  • Gastrointestinal ulcers

While most humans suffer no side effects and others only mild symptoms, dogs are much more sensitive to the effects caused by blocking the enzyme COX-1. This is why Motrin and other Ibuprofen drugs are not recommended for dogs. Even in small doses, Motrin can cause life-threatening side effects.


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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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