What Are the Uses of Naproxen for Dogs?

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  • Written By: Debra Barnhart
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2019
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Naproxen, also known by the brand name Aleve®, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that works best on dogs with chronic pain caused by inflammation. Chronic pain is defined as continuing pain due to an injury or deterioration in the body such as arthritis. Veterinarians may prescribe naproxen for dogs with joint pain, arthritis, and canine hip dysplasia — an inherited condition in which the hip ball and socket are loose. This drug may also be prescribed to dogs for its fever reducing properties. The proper dosage of naproxen for dogs can be determined by a veterinarian based on the animal's weight and other factors.

Side effects of naproxen for dogs have been noted by both pet owners and veterinarians. Stomach irritation, stomach bleeding gastric ulcers and vomiting are some of the negative effects. It is not recommended to use naproxen for dogs that have a history of kidney, liver or blood disorders or for dogs that seem hypersensitive or allergic to the drug. Most experts say that naproxen should never be prescribed for cats.


Owners should never administer naproxen to a dog without veterinarian supervision due to the possible side effects. A veterinarian will know the proper dosage of naproxen based on the size and age of the dog as well as the cause of the pain. In addition, a veterinarian will consider the full array of analgesics available to alleviate pain in dogs, and may prescribe another analgesic better suited based on certain factors.

There are many options for pain relief in dogs. For example, the pain medication Tramadol®, which is an NSAID but behaves like a narcotic, is sometimes prescribed. According to some experts, anti-depressants can also have an impact in lessening chronic pain. Corticosteroids are sometimes used as well. Although these drugs do not reduce pain, their anti-inflammatory benefits may help to ease the source of the pain.

For a dog with joint pain or arthritis, many experts recommend weight loss if the dog is too heavy. Reduced weight lightens the pressure on a dog’s spine and joints. Of course, weight loss benefits the dog’s cardiovascular system as well.

Signs of pain in dogs are not always obvious, but owners should try to be aware of behavior that indicates discomfort. These include loss of appetite, limping, restlessness, trembling and aggressiveness. A behavioral change like hiding may be another indicator. Dog owners should consult a veterinarian when signs of pain persist.


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Post 4

Naproxen has a very small window of safety and can lead to gastric ulcerations rapidly. There are much safer anti-inflammatories your veterinarian can prescribe that do not carry the risk of death. Please discuss all medications (over the counter supplements included) with your veterinarian. Never give any anti-inflammatory without consulting with your veterinarian first.

Post 3

My dog takes naproxen for arthritis. It helps him move around. If he doesn't take it, he lies down all day from the pain.

Post 2

@alisha-- Naproxen can cause upset stomach, cramps and nausea in dogs. Your dog is probably not eating because her stomach hurts. I would call the vet to let him know and definitely try to get her to eat something before her next dose (if the vet says to continue the treatment of course).

If she shows signs of pain, whines and cries or starts having diarrhea, you need to take her to the hospital. She can develop stomach ulcers if she keeps taking the medication on a empty stomach.

I'm not a vet, but I personally wouldn't keep giving pain relievers to a dog that's not eating anything.

Post 1

My dog fell yesterday and strained her leg. The vet gave naproxen for the pain and inflammation. I gave her the first does yesterday and the second dose today. But ever since she started the medication, she has not been eating. She just drinks water.

I'm worried, I don't want her to become more sick and tired. Does naproxen usually reduce appetite in dogs?

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