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Can dogs be given aspirin?

Updated on June 28, 2010

Aspirin…the wonder drug that works wonders! A bottle of aspirin is a permanent medicine cabinet resident. Almost all people have headaches once in a while and when this happens, people would customarily reach for the ever reliable bottle of aspirin. Dogs are not too different from their human friends. Dogs too need pain relief. The dog may not have human’s most common malady…headache, but dogs suffer pain from an injury or from a medical procedure. Dogs advanced in age commonly suffer from arthritic pains. Dogs are noted to have low pain thresholds. A dog in pain will be all tensed up and have the tendency to tremble. Can aspirin be given to a dog for pain relief? Yes. However, this wonder drug must be given with caution.

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What is canine aspirin?

Aspirin for humans works for dogs too but there are aspirins specially formulated for canines. Aspirin for dogs is a non-steroidal anti inflammatory drug that comes in liver or beef flavored chewable tablets. A dog first aid kit has to have this temporary pain relief medication.

Uses for Aspirin

Aspirin is commonly administered to give the dog relief from pain. Dogs would be overwhelmed with pain caused by injuries or pain relative to a medical procedure. Dogs suffering from arthritis would have chronic pain from swollen joints. This formulation was designed to reduce fever. The anti-inflammatory agent of aspirin reduces swelling thereby providing relief from pain. 

Side effects of aspirin

Canine aspirin is an effective temporary pain relief. As with any other medication, aspirin too must be administered with caution because of the possibility of side effects. We love our pets. It would be heart rending to see a dog suffering from pain. However, it would never be a good idea to give the pet aspirin every time it is noticed that the dog is off color. Needless to say, dogs are not like humans that would down aspirin for minor pains. This pain relief can have adverse effects on the health of the dog when not administered in proper dosage. Long term use of aspirin can irritate the stomach and cause ulcers, can aggravate an existing gastro intestinal problem and can cause kidney and liver failures. Aspirin may be given to a dog with chronic arthritis pain increasing the possibility of side effects. To decrease stomach upset, some dog owners use buffered aspirin as it is noted to have antacids that neutralize the gastric acids in the dog’s stomach.

Recommended dosage

Aspirin is an over the counter medication. Nevertheless, a vet consult would be necessary for the right dosage. A vet would recommend 5 to 10 mg per pound of body weight for every 8 to 12 hours. Aspirin is usually given with food to lessen the risk of stomach irritation. Aspirin given to the pet as temporary pain relief may not need a vet’s dosage recommendation. The rule of thumb is to start small. If pain relief is achieved even with a small dosage, good! If not, the dosage can always be increased up to the maximum.

Is Aspirin Safe for Dogs?

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