When humans have an ache or pain, we typically go to the medicine cabinet and take aspirin or ibuprofen as a way to obtain quick relief from our symptoms. Pet parents often give aspirin to their dogs as a form of pain aid, too. Doing so is not something to be taken lightly as too much of this helpful drug can be harmful to your pet.
You may ask how much aspirin can I give my dog? We’ll answer that question here, along with why we choose it as a pain reliever for canines and common side effects associated with the medication. Additionally, we will look at alternatives for pain relief.
Why Aspirin For My Dog?
Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, also called an NSAID. It is often given to dogs because of its quick acting properties when it comes to reducing swelling and relieving discomfort secondary to inflammatory disease.
“What can you give aspirin to dogs for?” This is an often asked question because pet parents, understandably so, are looking for economical ways to take care of their best canine buddies.
Dogs with osteoarthritis or musculoskeletal issues may be given aspirin. Dogs with blood clotting diseases may be prescribed the drug, and as well, it is used in fever reduction. Aspirin can be recommended after surgery or a serious injury and is sometimes given in the case of short-term palliative care.
Side Effects and Contraindications of Aspirin in Dogs
Despite the alleviation of discomfort that may result after the administration of aspirin, it comes with risks and is not intended for long term use. Giving your furry pal aspirin is something you should discuss with your veterinarian.
Pet owners should be aware that aspirin poisoning is one of the most common types of poisoning in dogs. Whether a dog ingests pills left lying around or the improper dosage is given for pain relief, toxicity is a real concern.
There are symptoms that indicate your dog may be experiencing side effects. Stomach issues, like nausea, diarrhea, and blood in the stool indicate a problem. The kidneys may have a reduced blood supply and the blood may not be clotting properly; these are two side effects that may not be obvious until the things are serious.
An overdose situation will see your dog vomiting and suffering from abdominal pain. There may be black stools and lethargy, indicating internal bleeding or stomach perforation.
Aspirin can contraindicate with medications prescribed for underlying illnesses and disease. Phenobarbitol, for example, can cause a faster action of the aspirin and therefore, the relieving of pain will not last as long. Furosemide, in combination with aspirin, may cause an increase in activity, making the medication more toxic. Using aspirin alongside prednisone can increase ulcerations to the stomach. Pepto Bismol, a product often given to a dog with an upset stomach, contains salicylate which is chemically related to aspirin. If you give your dog the medication at the same time as the antacid, you are increasing the dose of salicylate in your dog.
The Dosage Of Aspirin For Dogs
“Based on weight, how much aspirin can I give my dog?” This is an important question. The weight of your dog is a crucial component of the dosage, as is age (puppies cannot metabolize aspirin and will suffer toxicity if given it), concurrent disease and already prescribed medication.
It is important to note that studies on dosages of aspirin in dogs have not yet been done because aspirin is not an officially approved drug for veterinary use. It is still used, however, and veterinarians have established guidelines for how much aspirin you can give your dog. We’ll repeat though, that you should never give your four-legged buddy aspirin without a vet’s approval.
Generally, dogs are given 5mg/lb., to be administered no more than twice per day. Your veterinarian may increase the dosage, depending on the reason for prescribing the medication, and they will also take into account your dog’s current health status. Talk to the vet about whether baby or adult-sized aspirin should be used.
Aspirin must only be dispensed as prescribed. If you give your dog the drug more often than the vet recommends or if you hand out a larger quantity than you should, organ damage can occur. For example, two regular sized aspirin, if consumed by a dog that weighs thirty pounds, can have lethal effects. Or, internal bleeding can result if a canine is given aspirin for an extended period.
The vet will discuss the type of aspirin to use. Coated aspirin is not prescribed for dogs because they have trouble digesting the coating, resulting in a loss of efficacy of the drug. The coating can also adhere to the stomach and cause irritation. Plain, or uncoated aspirin, can be harmful as well; ulcerations can occur. Usually, the type used is called buffered, and is supposed to balance the acidic effects in the stomach.
Alternatives to Aspirin For Dogs
If your vet does not want to prescribe aspirin for your canine companion, there is a reason for the decision. Follow their instructions and instead, use the alternative drug they have prescribed.
Carprofen is another NSAID that is often prescribed as an aid against joint pain or as a form of relief in post-surgery recovery. Meloxicam reduces stiffness and pain and is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, too. Deracoxib and Firocoxib are other alternatives in the NSAID family.
Sometimes supplements like omega-3 fatty acids, chondroitin sulfate, and glucosamine can help minimize pain and aid in mobility in the case of an older dog, for instance. Avocado soybean unsaponifiables can help with osteoarthritis. Eggshell membrane and green lipped mussels are two products, though there are no supporting studies, that may show positive results as supplements for joints. There are supplements making their way to the marketplace every day; ask your veterinarian about any product you hear about at the dog park or through perusing dog health sites on the internet.
Canine acupuncture can help with nerve stimulation and reduce painful muscle spasms to the point of eliminating the need for medication. Targeted Pulsed Electromagnetic Field technology is another alternative to ask about. The procedure is said to help both short term and long term pain.
While aspirin is a drug that humans often use for quick and easy relief of pain, it is not always the best solution for dogs. Before considering the use of aspirin, consult your veterinarian to discuss the best way to make your furry buddy feel better when pain strikes.