Q: Is Aleve (Naproxen) dangerous for dogs?
A: When a dog is experiencing pain, worried owners are usually very eager to give medication to ease that pain, but giving human medications can compound the problems. Of all the over the counter medicines for pain available, aspirin is usually the safest to give. With regards to arthritis, aspirin is sometimes used for dogs, but only with caution and under veterinary supervision. If your dog has an issue with blood clotting or has any underlying kidney or stomach problems, it could be harmful. I almost always suggest a vet visit if a dog has had muscle pain for more than 24-48 hours. Drugs containing acetaminophen (e.g. Tyelenol) are very toxic, and potentially fatal to both dogs and cats.
Aspirin is in a class of drugs called NSAIDs: Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, and dogs are particularly sensitive to the gastrointestinal effects of these drugs. Ibuprofen (brand names such as Advil, Motrin, Nuprin) and Naproxen (brand names such as Aleve, Naprosyn, Anaprox, Naprelan), also fall under the NSAID category but are not safe to use with dogs.
Naproxen is a popular and effective over-the-counter ibuprofen medication available to treat pain and inflammation in people. For dogs, naproxen can easily exceed toxic levels. The most common cause of naproxen toxicity is a well-meaning owner trying to alleviate pain in his dog who gives the medication without knowing the toxic dose. The initial toxic effect is bleeding stomach ulcers. In addition to ulcers, increasing doses of naproxen eventually leads to kidney failure and, if left untreated, can be fatal.
All NSAIDs decrease the body’s production of prostaglandins, one of the main drivers of inflammation, by blocking enzymes involved in prostaglandin formation (COX enzymes) The earlier ones, like aspirin and ibuprofen, are not very selective in which of the COX enzymes they block, so they produce greater side effects. The more modern NSAIDs block a specific COX enzyme (COX-2) that is mainly involved in the production of inflammatory prostaglandins. These are the NSAIDs you see advertised for dogs. These include Metacam, Deramaxx and Previcox, all great alternatives to aspirin for dogs.
Hope this answers your question,