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You Can Give Your Dog Aspirin For Pain Relief

Updated on November 8, 2010

You've Got To Be Kidding, Right?

A reader pulled me aside the other day and asked why I hadn't written an article on aspiring for dogs. My reply was 'Are you kidding me? Aspirin would kill a dog!'. As much as I stood my ground, that's how much my reader insisted it was a common practice to give dogs aspirin, so I looked it up - and he was RIGHT!

As much as I hate being proven wrong, I am willing to see the light when someone offers proof, and as I like to share new knowledge as I receive it, I am now sharing what I have learned.

Yes, Fido can have some aspirin too, but before you go opening up that medicine cabinet, we need to talk a bit about it to make certain we are causing more harm than good, okay?

Aspirin For Dogs

Aspirin ... we take it for all of the pains that ail us ... so why can't we give it to Fido? As it turns out, we can, but we need to know how to do it and we need to do it properly. 

First off aspirin should not be given to a dog that is already on other meds before consulting your vet - EVER! Many drugs can interact with one another so your vet needs to be 100% knowledgeable of every med your dog is receiving in order for him to offer proper care. Don't ever do anything behind the back of your vet or you will risk the health of your beloved pet.

With that said, we will now dive deeper into this interesting cure ... and I assure you that cure is the wrong word as the aspirin cures nothing, it only relieves pain.

When Can You Give Your Dog Aspirin?

It's appropriate to give your dog aspirin for arthritis and joint pain. For anything else you should already be talking to your vet. Also, you should consult your vet before giving your dog aspirin to insure you are providing the right dosage.

Your vet will probably recommend 10Mg/lb every 12 hours. This equates out to 250Mg for a 25lb dog. DO NOT overdose. More aspirin might make Fido feel better in the short run, but it could do more harm than good!

As for puppies ... you should NEVER give them aspirin. Only give older dogs aspirin and only when needed to relieve pain and as prescribed.

Should I Use A Certain Type Of Aspirin?

Avoid any aspiring with an enteric coating as the coating makes it more difficult to digest and often winds up in your dog's stool, providing no pain relief. Buffered aspirin is fine and is preferred over regular aspirin. 

Are There Any Risks Involved?

There are risks with ANY medication you give a dog. With aspirin, the risks are as follows:

  • blood-tinged vomit
  • depression
  • lack of appetite
If you see any of these symptoms, stop the usage of aspirin IMMEDIATELY and consult your vet. Otherwise, if your dog's condition appears to be improving continue the dosage and consult with your vet regularly so he can advise you on how the treatment is going.

Is Aspirin Safe For Cats?

Sorry Fluffy, aspirin isn't for you! Like some other dog meds, this one isn't for cats. Don't even experiment with it - there's enough research on the internet to tell you it's a bad idea, so if your cat is experiencing pain go to the vet and find a safer alternative.

Anything Else I Need To Know?

As I say in every article regarding pet meds, always consult your vet and keep them in the loop. You might think they are money hungry doctor wannabes who couldn't graduate from med school, but I'm here to tell you that a vet studies for many years to get where they are and they are every bit as smart as a regular doctor. Also, most (if not all) go into the profession because they love animals - which is more than I can say for most doctors.

As such, they have your pets best interests in mind and want to see Fido lead a healthy and happy life just as much as you do. And should you happen to find that rare vet who just doesn't seem to care there's always another vet nearby to take your business to.

Never risk the health of your pets. Insure their good health as you know they would insure yours if they could.

That's all I have for now. May your pet live a long and healthy life!

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    • yoshi97 profile image

      yoshi97 8 years ago from a land called 'what if?'

      Now if we could only give ADHD meds to hyper young dogs ...

      My shepherd Rex just bounces off the walls until he finally exhausts himself ... but he's too lovable to get mad at. :)

      And it's not that we don't exercise him ... he's just than much full of life. :)

    • Deborah Mazon profile image

      Deborah Mazon 8 years ago

      Thanks! My doggie is getting older and that's a good thing to know.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      I gave it to a horse once and saved him from sleeping sickness. Good hub, Yosh!

    • yoshi97 profile image

      yoshi97 8 years ago from a land called 'what if?'

      An excellent question Bingskee :)

      If you notice your dog is less active and moving slower than usual it's a possible chance that your dog has an arthritic condition.

      If you suspect this to be the case, then I recommend a vet visit to confirm the diagnosis, as other issues could cause the same symptoms.

    • bingskee profile image

      bingskee 8 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

      how do i know if a dog has arthritis?

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      I have a 13 year old black lab who was given 500 mg. of aspirin per day for around a year. This was per the vet's advice since this dog weighs around 80 lbs.

      My dog doc is extremely careful and prefers a medication called Previcox for her arthritis. It's done wonders.