While Aspirin is commonly used as an effective over the counter pain reliever for humans, not many dog owners are aware of the fact that their four legged, furry friends may benefit from Acetylsalicylic Acid (the chemical name for Aspirin) as well.
Because of its theraupetic effects and availability, dog owners should always make sure that they have Aspirin in their dog’s first aid kit as it may come handy in many different circumstances. Aspirin after all, is basically the only over the counter safe pain killer for dogs.
Uses of Aspirin in Dogs
Below are listed some conditions where dogs benefit from Aspirin use:
- Joint pain
- Chronic arthritis
- Chronic pain
- Excessive blood clotting
- Hyperthrophic cardiomyopathy
While relatively safe when prescriped under a veterinarian’s supervision, side effects and reactions do and may occur. Any owner giving Aspirin to their dog must keep a watchful eye on their pet when administering Aspirin. Below are some common side effects to watch for, please monitor your pet carefully!
Loss of appetite
Black tarry stools (suggesting digested blood)
Presence of blood in the vomit (suggesting a bleeding ulcer
Anemia (suggesting stomach bleeding)
Pale gums (suggesting anemia due to stomach bleeding)
Unexplained bleeding (suggesting a blood clotting issue)
How to Minimize Side Effects When Using Aspirin for Dogs
-The most common side effect is usually stomach upset. This is why the buffered type of Aspirin is preferable and is best given with along with a meal. Again, watch carefully for signs of ulcers and gastro-intestinal bleeding as described above.
-Keep in mind that aspirin may interact with other medications, therefore, do not give Aspirin if your dog is currently taking Furosemide, Phenobarbital, Corticosteroids and other NSAID’s (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs such as Rimadyl).
Consult with the vet about other possible interactions if you pet is on any other medicatiions.
-Because Aspirin thins the blood avoid giving Aspirin if your dog has an upcoming surgery or post surgery. You want your dog’s blood to clot properly during surgery and recovery from the incision site!
-Avoid giving Asprin to very young dogs as they may not tolerate it and metabolize it properly. Consult with a vet if you own a young puppy.
-Pregnant dogs should avoid Aspirin as well since it may cause birth defects. Consult with your vet as well.
-Do not overdo it by giving aspirin for more often than every 12 hours and for more than a couple of days without consulting with your vet first. The longer the aspirin is given the higher the chances of developing ulcers due to irritation of the stomach’s lining. If your dog has a chronic condition, do not feel tempted to give Aspirin for more than a few days, but rather, consult with your vet. He/she may prescribe safer and more effective drugs with fewer side effects.
-Only buy strictly Aspirin. Never give products that contain a combination of Acetylsalicylic Acid and other medications. Also, please do not feel tempted to use Tylenol or Ibuprofen or basically any other over the counter medicines for human pain relief as they can be potentially toxic.
-If you own cats, please never be tempted to use Aspirin for them. Cats do not tolerate Aspirin as dogs do and it is potentially toxic, even deadly! Be aware of other products containing Aspirin such as Pepto Bismol.
-The standard Aspirin for dogs dose is 5 to 10mg/lb. It is always advisable to start with a low dosage to play it safe and watch how your pet reacts to it. Many times a small dosage can be sufficient, so an 8 pound dog may get 40 mg(basically half of an 81 mg buffered baby Aspirin), and a 16 pound dog may get 80 mg (basically an 81 mg baby aspirin) and so forth.
-Never try to guess a dosage; while mostly safe when administered correctly, if given too much Aspirin has the potential to cause Aspirin toxicity. It may take only 1 adult aspirin to cause major organ failure and even death in a pretty small dog. Always consult with your vet and have your dog weighed to calculate the proper dosage. If your dog just ingested aspirin accidentally, consult with your vet or emergency center promptly. The toxic dose of aspirin is usually around 30 mg/lb.
As you have seen, Apirin can prove helpful in many cases for you dog, however just as any other medications it comes with it’s packet of potential side effects. Please consult with your vet first as he/she only can prescribe the correct amount and/or suggest alternative medications as needed.
*Disclaimer: The above article is not intended to replace veterinary advice. As with any medication there is potential for side effects, complications and overdose. Always consult with a vet first and follow his/her recommendations accordingly.