The Use Of Aspirin For Dogs – The guide to Aspirin and your dog’s health

Can dog's take Aspirin

Can dogs take Aspirin

Warning: The following advice about  is given for informational purposes only. DO NOT give your dog any medication or treatment without first consulting a qualified vet.

I make NO warranties or guarantees about the following information and urge you to consult your veterinary doctor before changing any treatment or starting any treatment for your dog.

This information is only to be used for informational purposes and to offer you something that you might want to discuss with your vet. DO NOT follow any of the advice or recommendations below without consulting with your dog’s vet first.

Having a furry friend in the household is a wonderful thing. They are not only faithful companions but also members of the family that you learn to cherish as you share many wonderful memories together.

However, as is the case with many pets, they may get sick at one point. Seeing them in pain is never a happy event which is why you might turn to over the counter medications to ease their burden. The first choice that might pop in your head might be giving them aspirin.

It seems like a harmless medicine, which would not have any lasting marks on their bodies, however, that is a very wrong assumption.

Can dog's take AspirinYou should never give your dog medications without consulting a vet. A veterinarian is the only person licensed to tell you exactly what they are suffering from and how to treat these issues.

Never give your dog Advil, Tylenol, or aspirin, among other pain relievers just because you think that would help ease their pain.

In this article we are going to talk at length about aspirin, how it is used, if it can be ever given to dogs, what are the dosages and other possible side effects that your furry friend might have, one such example being arthritis.

If you are interested in getting a detailed overview of what this medication can do to your dog so that you are prepared before you go to the vet with your dog, feel free to read more.

Safety precautions

Most pain relievers that you can use and give to your dog are called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory, or NSAIDs for short. In order to kill the pain, they counteract an enzyme that is naturally produced by the body called cyclooxygenase.

This enzyme helps the production of a substance that is meant to promote pain, fever and inflammation, all common symptoms for dogs that are experiencing pain.

However, this substance, called prostaglandins, is responsible for a host of other things in the body. These include maintaining adequate blood flow to the kidneys and helping the production levels of mucus that lines the gastrointestinal tract.

This mucus protects the tract from the stomach acid. If this enzyme is present in smaller levels it can lead to diarrhea or even vomiting in dogs. Not only that, but dogs can also experience loss of appetite, kidney or liver failure or even intestinal problems.

Can dog's take AspirinIn a nutshell, this implies that giving your dog a high dose of aspirin without a vet’s approval can lead to worse symptoms. Even more, some dogs are allergic to some NSAID brands, making giving them this medication incredibly dangerous to them.

We cannot stress enough the fact that you must not give over the counter pain relievers to your dog without a doctor’s opinion.

Some dogs may be fine and experience little to no side effects but some can be allergic and develop bad side effects that will only worsen their condition.

This implies that there are specific dosages that dogs can ingest and be fine, without damaging the enzyme’s effects, dosage levels that we will soon talk about. Overall, it is mandatory to understand that human aspirin dosage levels are often too high for dogs.

Aspirin dosage for dogs

When deciding if you could or could not give your dog aspirin, the first thing that you need to take into consideration is the dosage level. As per usual, these levels vary due to the weight of the dog. A clear example of this would be that you cannot give to a small dog the same dosage that you would give to a bigger dog. Yes, that goes without saying, which is why we have decided to attach a table where we will give a detailed overview of the weight of the dog, how much aspirin you can give them, and how that translates into mg.

Before we go on, we will still like to stress the idea of going to the vet and finding out what dosage level is best for your dog. Nevertheless, looking at this table will give you a general idea of what and how much aspirin to give them, if need be.

How much does my dog weight? How much aspirin can I give them? What is the exact mg dosage?
8 pounds Half a baby aspirin 40 mg
16 pounds One baby aspirin 80 mg
32 pounds Two baby aspirins 160 mg
48 pounds Three baby aspirins 240 mg
64 pounds Four baby aspirins 320 mg
80 pounds Five baby aspirins 400 mg
96 pounds Six baby aspirins 480 mg

If your dog’s weight does not fall clearly within these lines, then calculate how much aspirin you can give them. Of course, you should not give them this aspirin all at once; the dosage should be spaced out during a set number of hours all throughout the day. If your dog is younger or smaller it is mandatory that you get the dosage just right.

Why would you give aspirin to your dog?

Can dog's take AspirinYou may want to give your dog aspirin if they are ill or have recently gone through some traumatic event, be it a surgery or a car crash. It is only natural to want to ease your pet’s pain since hearing their cries can make you feel bad for them.

Another reason why you might want to give your furry friend aspirin is if they have arthritis since it is a non-inflammatory drug.

Aspirin is often times used as a common medication to treat arthritis. However, using it as a pain reliever without consulting your veterinarian is not advised. If you do not know what exactly might be causing the problem, whether you are suspecting arthritis to be the issue or not, giving them aspirin without knowing the exact dosage might do more harm than good and worsen the inflammation in your pet’s joints.

Side effects of giving your dog aspirin

We already mentioned the fact that aspirin is part of the class of drugs called NSAIDs. Some dogs may have very serious side effects to aspirin, such as ulceration, bleeding, gastrointestinal pain and other effects. Once you have received the green light from your veterinarian about giving your pet aspirin, there are still some symptoms that you need to watch out for.

If you are not careful enough, the worst side effect that your dog can have to this pain reliever is called overdose.

There are multiple ways that overdose can show its signs in your dog’s behavior. Here are some things that you may want to look for if you administer aspirin on a regular basis. Your dog may start to have watery stools, no appetite, start to throw up, have a seizure, experience hemorrhaging, go in a coma, or in a very dangerous situation they may die from it.

If you think that remembering all of these side effects may turn out to be difficult for you, here is an easy acronym that you need to keep in mind. The word is BEST and it stands for Behavior changes, Eating less, Skin redness, and Tarry stool.

This sounds funny to some people, but sometimes irony is the best way for us to remember some of the most important things in our lives, even if they are health related.

Arthritis in dogs

Arthritis is known as inflammatory pain. It can easily be seen in humans and the same disease can set in when it comes to pets as well, including cats and dogs. Arthritis sets in the joints and makes them stiff, making it difficult to move, and at certain points this even becomes painful.

You can easily spot arthritis in dogs, when they start to walk and seem to experience pain or, in milder cases, slight discomfort. Dog bones are normally covered with a very thin layer of smooth cartilage that allows the bones to move.

These cartilages are lubricated with joint fluid, the two joint surfaces being able to move freely, without discomfort. When arthritis sets in, the cartilage inside the joint start to become stiff, eliminating that minimum level of friction. This not only makes dogs feel discomfort when trying to move but, if left untreated, it can lead to more damage taking place over time.

The increased level of friction caused by stiff joints makes the bones develop more mass around this surface, which would sometimes lead to degenerative joint disease. If you feel that your dog is starting to walk stiffly and shows signs of experiencing discomfort then it is advised that you go check in with your veterinarian to find out if this is early arthritis or something else. Always look for an expert’s opinion before trying to diagnose things for yourself.

When do dogs get arthritis?

Can dog's take AspirinWhen humans get arthritis, they are usually older, their bodies not being able to maintain the smooth joint layer as they were able to before. Of course, something similar happens to dogs as well, which is why we get to see arthritis set in once they get older.

It is super rare to find a younger dog experiencing early arthritis, although not impossible in the slightest. It all depends on their bodies’ abilities to maintain their selves.

Early bone and joint development diseases can set in at a much younger age. Arthritis as a whole does not affect all joints, it can start to manifest just in one joint or in a couple of places. When there is a large amount of abnormal rubbing within the joints this often translates to joint instability. Joint instability will then, if left untreated, result in arthritis.  

It can be difficult to be certain over whether or not your furry friend might suffer from arthritis. Watch them closely and see if they have trouble moving some of their joints.

Some dogs are more vocal when they experience pain and their little winces may immediately notify you that something may be wrong.

However, with other dogs spotting this may take more time, which is why we advise that you look carefully on any new changes in their behavior.

Preventing arthritis from developing at a faster rate is the best course of action, helping both you and your furry friend in the long run.

How is arthritis in dogs diagnosed?

Usually, you can easily spot the symptoms of arthritis. As we have previously mentioned, if you spot your dog starting to feel discomfort when walking or moving certain joints, that may be a sign that they are experiencing arthritis.

Nevertheless, this does not mean that other health problems are to be excluded from the equation. This is why you should take your pet to a vet for it to be examined by a doctor.

When you take your pet to the veterinarian, they have a set of tests that they perform in order to find out if your pet is really suffering from arthritis or not. They can perform some joint flexion and extension tests. These, depending on your dog’s reaction, pinpoint the exact location of the issue and if there are multiple joints involved. However, this test is not usually conclusive.

The vet may ask to take some x-rays of your dog’s joints to find out what is going on or they can even ask you to allow them to extract a small sample of joint fluid for it to be tested. Usually, out of these three methods, the most conclusive one is the joint fluid test.

Does arthritis in dogs ever fully go away?

When it comes to this subject there are good news and bad news. The bad news is that once a joint cartilage has been affected by arthritis it will never fully heal itself back. With proper treatment, the disease can start to recede but the joint will never be new as it once was. However, the good news is that you can treat this issue and make it so that your dog is pain-free and can live a long, happy and healthy life with this joint-related disease.

It can evolve in many ways from dog to dog which means that there is never a clear treatment that will work for every breed. This implies that while some dogs will only need a couple of lifestyle changes and some medications to live a healthy life, other might need to undergo surgery in order to fix more serious cases of arthritis.

A veterinarian’s opinion in this matter is important since they can easily pinpoint the stage of the joints and advise the owner if they ever need to get surgery for their pets. Remember, preventing this disease from spreading and getting worse early on can have a host of benefits later on in your pet’s life.

Reasons why dogs would need aspirin

Most dogs benefit from some form of anti-inflammatory therapy that usually goes on for a couple of weeks or even some months at a time. This mid to long-term treatment has been proven to work very well on most dogs. Usually, there are three drug families that vets prescribe when a dog suffers from this disease. They are common painkillers that fall under the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that we have previously talked about.

One of these families is called cartilage protectors. They are meant to lessen the cartilage damage and in some cases, they promote joint repair. The added benefit is that they reduce the painful inflammation that causes dogs discomfort.

There are also feed supplements available. They are called nutraceuticals, meant to support the healthy bodily functions of dogs. These are commonly known as joint supplements.

So, what do they contain? They contain chondroitin and glucosamine, components that appear naturally in the joint cartilage. There are a host of other substances inside of these joint supplements.

In a nutshell, they are the natural alternative to heavier drugs available on the market.

The third category is made up of NSAIDs. These medications treat arthritis very well but they have a large number of side effects, which makes giving the wrong dosage more of a problem than with other anti-inflammatory drugs that we have talked about.

Under this category, we can find what is commonly known as aspirin. You can give it to your dog but you must check in with your vet to find out the right dosage and become informed of the possible side effects that your dog might experience.

As with many other diseases, there are constantly new drugs being developed in laboratories. However, at the moment, these three drug categories are the common ones. Once a new drug gets developed and tested to ensure that it is safe for dogs and other pets, it will be available for vets to prescribe as well.

Overall, we hope that this article has helped you have a better understanding of what arthritis is and how can aspirin be used in order to treat it. Most importantly, the question is not how aspirin can be used but if it should be used at all on dogs without a vet’s opinion.

The clear answer is that you can try to inform yourself on what aspirin can be used for as a pain reliever but you should go to vet before giving it to your dog so that you do not end up endangering their lives.

Aspirins and Problems on the Stomach

Aspirin can cause a nasty side effect on the stomach. It can cause ulcers just like in humans so you have to be careful in giving your animals such medication.

When you have been treating your dog with aspirin you should be on the look out for any signs that it is having some problems with its stomach.

When you see blood in your dog’s vomit then you should stop the aspirin medication immediately and take him or her to the vet.

Other Pain Relievers

Some people say that they are using other pain relievers to treat their dogs. Non-aspirin pain relievers can prove to be fatal to your dogs so it is best to avoid them.

The Use Of Aspirin For Dogs – The guide to Aspirin and your dog’s health
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About Samantha graves 53 Articles
Dog Lover enthusiast, Dog Sitter and Dog trainer residing in Sydney, Australia

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