Is Naproxen a safe anti-inflammatory to use on dogs?

Original Question: What is your opinion on giving a dog Naproxen for a front swollen leg until she’s seen by a vet? The German Shepherd is 10 years old, the leg is swollen from the shoulder to toes, she’s licking the side of her leg and it’s now seeping. - Linda

Is Naproxen a safe anti-inflammatory to use on dogs? Oct 25, 2017

Hi Linda,

Naproxen is an anti-inflammatory drug that is used with some regularity when treating horses. It is rarely used in dogs because there are other products that are more effective and safer. Naproxen is not approved for use in dogs which means there have not been appropriate studies performed to assess the ideal use and safety of Naproxen in dogs. Being an anti-inflammatory, it would likely work to reduce inflammation, but there could be a greater risk of harmful side effects.

There are times where I will judiciously use a drug that is not approved in dogs, but I get quite concerned with this category of drug. The side effects of anti-inflammatories are vast and can be quite serious. They range from stomach upset to gastric ulceration to kidney damage. I have seen cases where an anti-inflammatory has irreparably damaged the kidneys of a dog and so I would greatly caution you against its use. I would recommend that you speak to your veterinarian about a safer alternative.

Thanks for your question and good luck.

 Dr. Clayton Greenway

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