Although Aspirin hasn't been formally approved for veterinary use, it is sometimes suggested by veterinarians for dogs who are suffering from minor aches/pains, or who have an injury causing discomfort.
However, you should NEVER give your dog aspirin without first consulting with a veterinarian.
Puppies, pregnant dogs and dogs with certain health conditions should not take aspirin. Even if your vet gives you the go-ahead to give aspirin to your dog, it's vitally important to get the dosage correct, and to only use it as a short-term treatment.
If you want to give Fido some aspirin for pain or discomfort, there are a lot of things you need to know before you pop that first pill in his mouth.
Aspirin can have side effects which range from mild to severe (even life-threatening), and it's important to understand how this drug works and what safety precautions you need to follow.
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Aspirin is primarily a pain-killer.
It is also a blood-thinner which means it reduces bloods' ability to clot.
Aspirin can relieve pain effectively, and relatively safely, for some dogs, in some situations when specifically recommended by a veterinarian and used for SHORT PERIODS.
There are two main dangers associated with using aspirin for dogs on a long-term basis:
There are some health conditions which can interact with aspirin in a dangerous, even fatal, way.
If your dog has any of these issues, please do not give him aspirin without consulting your veterinarian first.
Regular 'people' aspirin formulas shouldn't be given to a dog for more than 5 days maximum.
Because Aspirin thins the blood, it's not a good choice for dogs/pups who have had surgery or an injury as it could cause more (or internal) bleeding, which could be very serious.
Aspirin that has been specifically formulated for dogs is the recommended choice, but remember that these also have a recommended duration of use.
To avoid the common side-effect of stomach or digestive system irritation, choose 'buffered' Aspirin tablets.
Opinions vary on whether or not dogs are able to absorb the full dosage of medication from enteric-coated tablets.
This is because it takes a long time for Fidos' stomach acids to break down the coating.
It's then a double-edged sword really... the coating may prevent stomach irritation, but if it isn't properly digested the medication won't be fully effective.
To avoid this dilemma buffered aspirin is the best option in my opinion because it contains ingredients which help to minimize the inflammation or irritation but still allows the drug to be absorbed properly.
The absolute best choice when considering aspirin for dogs is to choose a buffered aspirin which has been specifically formulated for canines.
Giving your dog the correct dose of aspirin is critically important because an overdose, even a small one, could have disastrous consequences.
It might help to know that a standard adult Aspirin tablet is 320mg and a baby aspirin tablet is usually 80mg.
Aspirin formulated for dogs is available in different dosages.
For small breeds you often see 60mg tablets. For larger breeds 300mg tablets are common.
It's very important to make sure that you get the dose right, especially when you're treating small/tiny dogs, and using low-dose tablets makes this easier to do.
Do not give Aspirin to puppies.
The chart below will help you find the recommended dosage of aspirin for your dog.
The blue line is the minimum dosage (always start with this) and the red line shows the maximum dosage.
For example, using the chart you can see that for a 40lb dog
Remember that these doses can be given twice per day if necessary.
For most dogs there shouldn't be any appreciable side effects of giving them aspirin for a few days as long as you keep within the recommended daily dosage above.
Small or tiny dogs, and young puppies are at the biggest risk of problems and you need to be especially careful about measuring out the correct dosage (this of course applies to ALL medications) for your dog in these situations.
Aspirin has the side-effect of interfering with the blood-clotting process and is irritating to a dogs' stomach.
The side effects of giving aspirin to dogs are usually seen in the digestive system, but it can also affect the kidneys and liver which are involved in breaking-down and excreting the drug.
The mildest and most common ones can include:
The more dangerous side effects of using aspirin for dogs occur when the lining of the stomach, intestines or bowel is irritated or damaged.
This can cause pain and internal bleeding.
Organ damage is also a possibility, especially with long-term use, maximum dosage or overdose.
The most worrying of these aspirin side effects include:
These symptoms are very serious, so please get your dog to a vet right away if you notice any of them!
You can help minimize the digestive irritation caused by aspirin by making sure that you never give it to your dog when he has an empty tummy.
It's frighteningly easy to give your pet too much aspirin by mistake - either by miscalculating the dose or giving it too often.
Even a little too much can cause serious problems, especially in young puppies, small breeds or senior dogs.
If you realize that this has happened, you need to get veterinary help immediately or your dog could die.
If your regular vet clinic is closed, get him to an emergency pet hospital or 24 hour clinic.
Prompt vet attention and the right treatment could save his life.
Some of the signs of an aspirin overdose are so mild that you may not realize anything is wrong until there's serious trouble,
Several of the signs of aspirin poisoning can also be normal side-effects which are short-lived and not dangerous, but if you're in any doubt always get vet help. Better safe than sorry.
Because of this, it's crucial to monitor and double-check dosage at all times.
Here are some of the symptoms you might see in a dog who has received an overdose of aspirin....
Blood tests can be used to determine the level of aspirin toxicity in your dogs' body.
This knowledge is then used to decide what treatments are needed.
There is an approximately 12 hour 'window' to get veterinary treatment started after an aspirin overdose before symptoms become severe, and potentially irreversible.
This is why it's important to be vigilant about monitoring Fidos' intake of aspirin and any side-effects he may experience.
Your vet may induce vomiting and/or pump your dogs' stomach to remove as much of the aspirin from his system as possible.
But of course, anything absorbed into his bloodstream can't be removed in this way, which is why you need to get help for your dog asap.
If any organ damage, stomach ulcers or damage to the intestines has taken place then surgery or other options may be needed.
Blood transfusions, IV fluids and other treatments might also be used.
If your dog needs pain relief and you want to try a more natural product before jumping right into medication, FlexPet might be the perfect fit.
FlexPet is not a pain-killer, but is a nutritional supplement packed full of all-natural, non-GMO ingredients designed to improve your dog's joint health.
These chewable tablets lubricate joints, reduces inflammation, boost flexibility and help rebuild healthy cartilage and connective tissue.
Clinical trials have shown that the active ingredient in Flexpet, CM8, reduces pain and inflammation in dogs with arthritis. In addition, reviews from dog owners are almost unanimously positive, making this a very viable Aspirin alternative for pain relief in dogs.
Alternatively, a product which contains Turmeric (the natural source of the chemical compound Circumin) can help reduce, or even eliminate, joint pain and stiffness.
Bacon and Beef Liver flavored chewable supplements made in the USA in a GMP certified organic facility. Hypoallergenic formula.
Also benefits your dogs heart, brain, immune system and liver, and promotes healthy skin and coat condition.
Powerful, natural antioxidant.