For dog owners, there’s nothing worse than seeing their dog suffering from chronic pain that’s persistent and continuous. As such, we want to do everything possible to help improve our dog’s condition — we might even consider the use of aspirin but these human medications may not be the best for your pooch. In this article, we explain the proper aspirin dosage for dogs to provide relief from pain along with other details about these human drugs.
What is Dog Aspirin?
When humans are looking for pain medication, we can use Aspirin, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to give us quick and effective pain relief. Also called “acetylsalicylic acid”, this medication belongs in the same category as carprofen and ibuprofen. However, not all are made equal; some will be safe for dogs while others may be too strong.
But how will we know if it’s the right medication to use on our dog? Below we’ll discuss the right dosage, uses, and the potential side effects of this drug.
What is Baby Aspirin?
This low-dose aspirin contains the same active ingredient found in adult aspirin but only has a quarter of the original formula which makes it a better option for a small dog. It comes in small doses — it’s only 81 milligrams while adult aspirin comes in 325 milligrams, and is suitable for pups with 20 lbs body weight. Toy breeds that weigh no more than 5 pounds should only be given half the normal daily amount.
What is Buffered Aspirin?
This medication is a combination of an antacid (such as aluminum hydroxide and calcium carbonate) and aspirin which can correct stomach irritation or acidity in the stomach. As such, you can use this on your furry friend in place of regular aspirin since it can reduce instances of stomach upset or heartburn. The recommended dosage for this option will be similar to the original product but it’s still best to ask your veterinarian for instructions to avoid giving your dog too much.
How Does Aspirin Work on Dogs?
When dogs are in pain, damaged tissues around the body release chemicals called prostaglandins, which cause the tissue to swell. The nerves then sense the pain and shoot out signals to the brain — when dogs take this drug, it blocks off enzymes known as cyclooxygenases, which create the prostaglandins. When their production is reduced, it also reduces the swelling and pain felt throughout your pup’s body.
Human aspirin may also reduce blood clots, heart problems, and the risk of stroke.
When Should Aspirin Be Given to Dogs?
It can be given to dogs with health conditions such as musculoskeletal inflammation, joint pain, post-surgical pain, or a limp. While it can provide pain relief in dogs, Aspirin isn’t often prescribed, unlike other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as carprofen. If your dog suffers an injury of any kind, be sure to speak to your vet for veterinary-specific NSAIDs and other treatment options.
What is the Aspirin Dosage for Dogs?
If you’re wondering about the correct dosage for dogs, contact your vet to ensure that you administer the right amount for your specific dog. You should never give new medication to your pooch without your veterinarian’s approval. In general, however, 1 dose of aspirin can be given once or twice a day on a regular basis.
Below is a chart for the average dosage based on a dog’s weight which you can follow to ensure that your pup doesn’t consume too much aspirin.
Dogs Dosage Chart
|0 to 5 pounds||25 to 50 mg|
|5 to 10 pounds||50 to 100 mg|
|10 to 20 pounds||100 to 200 mg|
|20 to 40 pounds||200 to 400 mg|
|40 to 60 pounds||300 to 600 mg|
|60 to 80 pounds||400 to 800 mg|
|80 to 100+ pounds||500 to 1,000 mg|
As mentioned, 1 dose of adult aspirin is measured at 325 milligrams, so a dog that’s 20 to 40 pounds should only be given 1 pill at any time. For smaller dogs, a low dose aspirin will be ideal, and large dogs may need more than 1 pill to bring down pain to tolerable levels.
Side Effects of Aspirin for Dogs
Generally, this medication can be a great way to give pain relief to your pup but sometimes, it may have negative effects. Luckily, there aren’t many serious side effects to giving a dose to your dog, but you will still need to look out for strange behavior that your pooch may exhibit such as:
- Loss of appetite
- Mucosal erosion
- Skin irritation
- Black stool
If your furbaby experiences any of these symptoms after giving them a pill, be sure to speak to your vet right away. Refrain from giving your dog any more medication until your vet has finished running tests to find out the source of the problem.
Symptoms of Aspirin Overdose
In case of accidental overdose or an allergic reaction, your dog may display similar symptoms. However, be sure to pay close attention to your dog and look out for the following symptoms since they can be serious and even life-threatening:
- High acidity
- Tarry stools
- Loss of appetite
Whenever your pup takes new medication, you should always inspect how it behaves. If you think your dog is suffering from aspirin poisoning or is experiencing severe side effects, talk to your vet before it experiences worse symptoms and stop administration immediately. Finally, always follow your vet’s prescription to avoid overdose.
Risks of Aspirin for Dogs
Most of the time, aspirin is a great resource when dogs are in pain and will get the job done to help soothe their pain. But like with any kind of medication, there are also risks involved especially when used incorrectly. So, is it okay for your dog to take aspirin?
The short answer is yes, in most cases. However, some dogs may have adverse reactions to aspirin that’s listed below.
Aspirin may Result in Slow Recovery
As discussed above, prostaglandins are chemicals released when your dog gets hurt which causes fever, pain, and inflammation. However, the pain isn’t all bad — it’s actually part of the natural recovery process. Moreover, long-term use of aspirin can cause your pup’s cartilage to become fragile and could worsen joint problems.
Aspirin may Cause Ulcers
Prostaglandins are also responsible for protecting your pooch’s intestine and stomach lining. Without it, ulcers can form which is the reason why aspirin use may lead to ulceration — continued use can further damage the organs, causing internal bleeding. The digestive tract will often be the source of bleeding and can go on unnoticed for a long time which makes stomach ulcers even more dangerous if it does happen.
Aspirin may Cause Kidney Impairment
Regular use of dogs aspirin may lead to various problems such as kidney damage and liver damage. The liver will absorb toxins from the medication and while it can detoxify aspirin, too much could cause the liver to fail. Moreover, prostaglandins also help to transport blood to the kidneys; because aspirin can reduce blood flow, taking aspirin may lead to impaired kidney function.
Prolonged use of aspirin may also result in black stools, kidney disease, and organ damage. In many cases, your canine companion will be okay after taking aspirin — the risks listed here only support the importance of giving your dog the right dosage.
Alternatives to Aspirin
If you’re looking for other ways to relieve pain from your dog, there are alternatives to aspirin that you can look into, which include natural options.
These can be a great alternative if your dog has pain related to its joints — when our dogs get older, their mobility decreases, and may not move as much as they used to. Ingredients such as chondroitin, glucosamine, MSM, and turmeric may soothe your pup’s joints by strengthening cartilage, reducing inflammation, and improving flexibility.
This natural solution is popular for dogs looking to improve their joint health. Hemp in all forms, including treats and oil contains anti-inflammatory properties and stimulates the immune system to quickly reduce inflammation. It can also change the way dogs perceive pain, due to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our dogs’ nervous system and brain.
While aspirin can be a good choice to give pain relief to your furry friend, it’s not always the safest option, especially if you’re dealing with prolonged pain. Before giving it new medication, be sure to consider your pup’s needs and speak to your veterinarian first. Doing this will help to determine if aspirin is the best choice for your dog — don’t wait to see if your dog will be able to handle it.