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NSAID Toxicity in Dogs… Symptoms, expectations and costs!

Since very few people are going to naturally find themselves Googling:

“NSAID Toxicity”

You are probably here because you may have fed your furry friend aspirin r ibuprofen because you wanted to help ease the pain of your pet, or maybe you left a jar of these sugar-coated pills on the counter and believe that you pet may have gotten into them.

In either case…

You’re not probably wondering if you have something to worry about.  And there lies the problem.  You see, while these pills may seem as harmless in your pets as they seem in humans, they are actually one of the most likely sources of accidental poisonings of household pets and can be extremely deadly if not taken seriously!

Which is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet wanted to take a moment and discuss NSAID toxicity and hopefully provide you with some insight on what you should do if your dog ever does get his or her pays on a bottle of “Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs”!

But first before…

We get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s start off our discussion by pointing out the obvious which is if you believe that your dog by be suffering from NSAID toxicity, stop reading this article right away and get your loved on to a veterinarian right away!

Now then…

With that out of the way, let’s being our discussion with hopefully defining exactly “What NSAID Toxicity is?”

Well, NSAID stands for “Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug” which may sound very foreign to you, but NSAIDs are extremely common and come in forms like:

  • Advil,
  • Aleve,
  • Tylenol,
  • And Motrin among others.

And NSAID Toxicity is simply an “overdose” of these drugs or their pet counterparts which are called:

  • Deramaxx,
  • Rimadyl,
  • Etogesic,
  • Metacam,
  • And others.

Now you may think…

That these pet variants of the human drugs are the same formulas and work the same in dogs and cats as humans, but the human drugs are very deadly if given to animals.


Don’t be worried for your pet’s life when taking NSAIDs because if you give them the appropriate amounts of the correct pet NSAID then your animal will be completely fine.  These drugs are actually very useful in decreasing swelling, pain and inflammation, and are very beneficial if used correctly.

This is why…

Your vet probably prescribes different varieties of these medication to their patients every day and why it’s important not to try and “play” doctor with our own pets!

Which brings us to…

Were we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who just happen to be passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

This is why…

If you feel like your pet may have NSAID toxicity (or any other health issue for that matter) the first thing that you’re going to want to do is have him or her check out by a vet ASAP!

And remember…

Poisoning by NSAIDs are completely preventable, unlike many of the other diseases your four-legged family can have.  Here are some tips for prevention of this deadly poisoning:

  • Do not leave opened bottles of drugs on any surface in your household
    • The sugary coating that covers these pills is very attractive to most animals.
  • Only use pet medicine to treat pain for your furry friends
    • And remember to always follow the correct doses given to you by a professional veterinarian.


If you already suspect your animal may have eaten the human versions of an NSAID, here are some of the effects and symptoms so you can get them to the veterinarian as soon as possible:

  • Gums are a lighter color than normal,
  • Loss of appetite,
  • Pain near their stomach,
  • Vomiting,
    • Which might contain blood in it (or not),
  • Seizures,
  • Unsteadiness of the limbs while walking,
  • Blood in the poop,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Falling to the ground,
  • Lethargy or change in attitude.


If your four-legged family member exhibits any of these symptoms it is extremely important that you folks get him or her to the veterinarian as soon as possible.  This condition only gets worse with time, so you need to act quickly.


Once at the vet’s office, your vet will likely want to perform any of the following tests on your loved one to diagnose the issue:

  • A count of the blood in your animal (CBC) to see if they have lost any blood,
  • Analyze the urine,
  • Take an x-ray of your pet’s stomach,
  • Take an ultrasound of your pet’s stomach,
  • Do an endoscopy
    • This is when the vet would stick a camera into your pet’s stomach through their mouth
  • Physical examination,
  • Worst case scenario the vet might have to perform an exploratory surgery
    • This may be the best option if the veterinarian thinks the stomach has been permeated as a result of the NSAID ingestion.

Now since…

NSAID Toxicity is fairly common, most veterinarians should be very familiar with the clinical signs and treatment options available such as veterinary medications and surgery.


If your pet has been diagnosed with NSAID Toxicity, the NSAID therapy and treatment will most likely follow in this order:

  • First the veterinarian will make your pet throw up to try and get the NSAIDs out of your animal’s stomach.  Although, typically this only proves results if your pet has eaten the NSAID in the last hour.
  • If this doesn’t work then your pet will be placed in a supportive care unit where they will have to stay until the recover, because there is not cure for NSAID Toxicity.
  • When your pet is there they will likely be treated with
    • Medications called gastroprotectants that help strengthen the gastrointestinal tract.
    • Blood transfusions to supply the body of your pet with the blood they may have lost
    • Organ transplants if needed
  • The last-ditch solution is surgery, but that is not always the recommended treatment for your animal depending on the situation

The sad news is…

Although there is a thorough treatment for NSAID Toxicity, many of the pets who have been poisoned will not survive despite the expensive treatment.

Which is a…

Horrible thing, which is only made even worse by the fact that many of these treatment methods do not come cheap!  Now if all that is required is regurgitation, then it could be as little as $300 dollars.  Although most pets with mild toxicity will be in the situation of paying about $1000, and in severe cases it could be more than $1000 dollars every day they are in the supportive care unit.

So, needless to say…

If your furry buddy does turn out to have NSAID Toxicity or any other medical issues, the treatments can become very expensive very quickly.  And in this case can be thousands and thousands of dollars.  This is why here at IndulgeYourPet we always recommend checking out Pet Insurance to see if it is right for you.


If you are considering adding a new furry member to your family, this way if any unexpected vet bills do “pop-up” you won’t necessarily be on the hook for 100% of those costs on your own!

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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