Aleve is an over-the-counter medication for people, which is usually used to relieve pain or reduce inflammation. While safe when used as directed in people, never give Aleve to kitties. Aleve contains the active ingredient naproxen, a chemical which is very toxic to our feline friends.
Aleve is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that comes in many forms, including caplets, tablets, gelcaps and liquigels, according to the medication's manufacturer Bayer Healthcare. All of these forms each contain 200 mg of naproxen, the active ingredient in the medication, along with 20 mg of sodium. Both of these ingredients, especially naproxen, are poisonous to cats and can be fatal if your furry buddy ingests them, warns the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Because kitties are very sensitive to naproxen, if they ingest any amount of this medication, even a small amount, it can be toxic.
A kitty who ingests all or part of any type of Aleve may experience vomiting or diarrhea, both of which could contain blood, according to the Pet Poison Helpline. He may also experience lethargy, weakness, seizures, loss of appetite, dehydration and pale gums. These effects can show up within an hour or a couple of days after your kitty eats the medication. Naproxen can damage the stomach and kidneys of your furry friend, leading to stomach ulcers, perforation of the stomach and kidney failure resulting in death, according to Vetstreet. This is why getting to a vet as quickly as possible is so important after your kitty ingests Aleve or a similar medication containing naproxen.
What To Do
If you think that your feline friend has gotten his paws on an Aleve tablet and eaten it, visit your vet immediately because this is a true medical emergency. While there is no antidote to naproxen in kitties, your vet can induce vomiting to rid your furry friend of the medication from his system if you get to the vet right after ingestion. She may also administer activated charcoal to your little one to prevent absorption of the medication and fluids to clear it out of his system as well, according to "The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health." To properly diagnose any damage the Aleve could have already done to your kitty's system, your vet will likely perform some blood tests. She can also provide supportive care for your little one to treat any of the serious side effects of naproxen ingestion, such as stomach or intestinal ulcers or kidney damage.
Keep your medications, including Aleve, away from the reach of your kitty and in a secure medicine cabinet. Never leave any pills lying around your home where your furry friend can get his little paws on them. If you believe that your kitty is in pain or discomfort, consult with your vet about what medications would be safe to give to him. While you might want to soothe his pain with a human medication like Aleve, doing so will only lead to possibly fatal consequences. If you think that your furry friend has somehow ingested any Aleve, always see your vet immediately because there is no way to treat this condition at home. Your furry friend will need vet care and possibly hospitalization to deal with the effects of this medication on his system.
- PetPlace: Naproxen Toxicity in Cats
- Pet Poison Helpline: Naproxen
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Top 10 Human Medications That Poison Our Pets
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Professional: VLPP Newsletter, Fall 2007
- Vetstreet: Ibuprofen and Naproxen Toxicity
- The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health: The Complete Health Resource for Your Dog, Cat, Horse or Other Pets -- in Everyday Language; Scott Line and Cynthia M. Kahn
- PubMed Health: Naproxen
- Bayer Healthcare -- Aleve: Frequently Asked Questions
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.