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NSAID Toxicity in Dogs… Symptoms, expectations and costs!

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

“NSAID Toxicity”

You are probably here because you may have fed your furry friend aspirin or ibuprofen. After all, you wanted to help ease your pet’s pain, or maybe you left a jar of these sugar-coated pills on the counter and believe your 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 one of household pets’ most likely sources of accidental poisoning. They can be extremely deadly if not taken seriously!  This 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 their pays on a bottle of “Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs”!

But first before…

We get too far ahead of ourselves; let’s start our discussion by pointing out the obvious: if you believe that your dog may be suffering from NSAID toxicity, stop reading this article immediately and get your loved one to a veterinarian right away!  Now, withh that out of the way, let’sbeginn our discussion by 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.

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…

These pet variants of the human drugs have the same formulas and work the same in dogs and cats as humans, but the human drugs are very deadly if given to animals.  But don’t worry about your pet’s life when taking NSAIDs because if you give them the appropriate amounts of the correct pet NSAID, your animal will be magnificent.  These drugs help decrease swelling, pain, and inflammation and are beneficial if used correctly.

This is why…

Your vet probably prescribes different varieties of this medication to their patients daily, soy it’s essential not to try to “play” doctor with our pets!  This brings us to where we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians, or medical professionals.  We are all a bunch of folks passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

This is why…

If you feel your pet may have NSAID toxicity (or any other health issue), you’ll want to have them checked out by a vet ASAP!  And remember that poisoning by NSAIDs is entirely preventable, unlike many 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 beautiful to most animals.
  • Only use pet medicine to treat pain for your furry friends
    • And remember always to 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 usual,
  • 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 these symptoms, you must immediately get them to the veterinarian.  This condition only worsens with time, so you must 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 abdomen,
  • 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 due to the NSAID ingestion.

Since NSAID Toxicity is standard, most veterinarians should be familiar with the available clinical signs and treatment options, 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.  Typically, this only proves results if your pet has eaten the NSAID in the last hour.
  • If this doesn’t work, your pet will be placed in a supportive care unit where they must stay until they recover because there is no cure for NSAID Toxicity.
  • When your pet is there, they will likely be treated with
    • Medications called gastroprotectants 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, wThis is a horrible thing, which is only made even worse because many of these treatment methods do not come cheap!  Now, if all that is required is regurgitation, it could be as little as $300.  Although most pets with mild toxicity will be paying about $1000, in severe cases, it could be more than 1000 dollars daily 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.  In this case, it 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.  Especially 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 suitable 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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