When you're uncomfortable, it may be customary for you to reach out for aspirin in your medicine cabinet like many people. Is it possible to do the same with your dog when they're in pain? Can you give a dog aspirin to alleviate pain? Short answer: no.
You cannot give even baby aspirin to a dog. You may think that baby aspirin comes in safe doses, but it is still not suitable to treat a dog's pain. However, you can give low-dose aspirin when the vet has prescribed it. You need to follow the vet's prescription to the letter to avoid an improper aspirin dosage.
You should not give your dog the same other medications or forms of pain reliever you take, such as naproxen and ibuprofen when you feel pain — doing so can lead to all kinds of complications in your dog, namely kidney disease. Even in a small dose, naproxen and ibuprofen or other pain medications can be toxic to dogs. Always consult your veterinarian first before you give medications to your pet.
What Is Aspirin?
Aspirin is a pharmaceutical drug that relieves mild to moderate pain and reduces fever. It may reduce some swelling and pain as well. Again, this is true for most humans when you take aspirin, not the case for pets. It is always important to consult a vet first to know the right dosage to take.
Aspirin falls in the class of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It is the first drug that was discovered in this class. The active ingredient in aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid or salicylate, which is present in plants such as myrtle, willow (typically in leaves and bark), and poplar trees. The first recorded use of salicylate was around 4,000 years ago. Famed classical Greek Physician Hippocrates relied on willow bark to provide pain relief and ease the fever. Some people, who prefer a natural remedy, still use willow bark to treat minor pains and headaches.
NSAIDs are not steroids, which often provide similar benefits. However, steroids have unfavorable side effects, and they are not suitable for everyone. NSAIDs are excellent analgesics and are likely to be non-narcotic. It means they do not cause stupor or insensibility.
If you are apprehensive about giving aspirin to your dog due to its classification and choosing to give Tylenol, you are putting your dog in danger. Although Tylenol is not a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, it is still something dangerous for your pet. Keep in mind that you should not give anything to your dog to treat its illness if you have not consulted the vet.
What Can Aspirin Be Used For?
Aspirin is in the same category as carprofen, naproxen, ibuprofen, and other NSAIDs used to treat fever, inflammation, and pain. Aspirin can also serve as an anticoagulant or blood thinner. Anticoagulants may reduce or stop blood coagulation, prevent blood clotting, or prolong the time when the blood starts to clot.
More so, acetylsalicylic acid has antipyretic or temperature-lowering, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic or pain-relieving effects. Most people have no problem ingesting medicines or food that contain acetylsalicylic acid or salicylate. However, salicylate can cause discomfort to some individuals who have extreme sensitivity to it. Acetylsalicylic acid may cause gastrointestinal irritation and be toxic when taken in large quantities.
Do NSAIDS Work for Dogs?
Between steroids and NSAIDS, the latter generally have fewer side effects. Veterinarians usually prescribe aspirin to dogs with musculoskeletal inflammation or osteoarthritis. The aspirin's anti-inflammatory properties can help lessen the inflammation and pain associated with the said conditions.
Most vets may also prescribe aspirin to treat other conditions your dog may have. If you have questions or doubts, you can ask your vet for a further explanation until you are satisfied. Otherwise, you can always ask for a second opinion. You may also try to contact American Kennel Club for advice or assistance.
Aspirin comes with side effects. It doesn't matter whether the side effects are serious or not; you should check in with your veterinarian before administering a dosage of any medication to your pet. It is also important to pay close attention to your vet's instructions. You cannot afford to be careless when your pet's health is on the line.
How Does Aspirin Work?
Aspirin works by blocking the prostaglandins, the body's pain messengers, in delivering pain signals. It works in the same manner as when dogs ingest aspirin, which can alleviate the inflammation and pain in the body temporarily. Aspirin can effectively reduce pain in the body, but it can also decrease the ability of your pet to heal itself.
Can You Give a Dog Aspirin?
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications or NSAIDs can put your dog in danger or even cause death. You should not give your dog ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen, aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or other pain relievers unless your veterinarian prescribes the right dosage your pet.
It is vital to know the right dosage of aspirin that you need to give to your adult dogs. However, you should never give aspirin to your puppies no matter what happens. Their immune systems are still not capable of breaking aspirin down. Remember that you need to give aspirin with food to your dog to avoid giving it an upset stomach. You should also ask your veterinarian about the possible side effects that aspirin may have on your dog once ingested for pain relief. Knowing can help lessen your worries once the side effects manifest.
Do They Make Aspirin for Dogs?
When you try to look for dog aspirin on Amazon, you're sure to stumble upon some brands that claim that they have the best aspirin meant for dogs. Some brands even cause vomiting and other health risks. However, most of the reviews favor aspirin for dogs regardless of the brand name.
It is possible that some brands only work with certain dog breeds, age, gender, and/or weight. The problem is that no one can be certain that the brand they intend to buy will work wonders for their pets or if it'll even be safe. Consulting a vet before dosing is the best way to avoid this.
Whether there's an effective dog aspirin or not, the best thing you can do for your dog is let a veterinarian examine them first. The vet may prescribe aspirin and give instructions on the proper dosing for your dog. Never make your dog take any of the NSAIDs without their vet's advice.
What Happens if a Dog Ingests Aspirin?
Aspirin can be absorbed into the bloodstream fast. A pill of aspirin with a low dosage may cause grave side effects or complications for your dog. It is relatively common for dogs to have adverse reactions to aspirin. You need to know the symptoms and risks of aspirin overdose or adverse reaction before you give the drug to your dog. That way, you will be prepared in case you see an adverse reaction or signs of overdose. Your prompt action can save the life of your pet.
Giving too much aspirin to your dog may result in aspirin toxicity. This usually occurs when your pet takes too much aspirin at once. Your pet may also suffer from aspirin toxicity if they ingest it every day, and the aspirin begins to accumulate in their system. If you see any of these symptoms in your dog (especially after ingesting aspirin), you need to take it to a vet for a checkup. Don't delay because every second counts.
Dog Aspirin Poisoning Symptoms
If you suspect that your dog has ingested aspirin without your knowledge (whether it's accidental ingestion or someone gave it to them), you should monitor their condition and behavior.
To prevent possible tragedy, you need to take your dog to a vet when you see any of the following signs of aspirin poisoning:
- Presence of Black, Tar-colored Stool
If your dog has black-colored feces, there's a presence of blood in your pet's digestive tract. Aspirin's most common side effects are ulceration or bleeding in the intestines or stomach and gastrointestinal irritation.
- Bloody Vomit
Even if your dog only vomits a small amount of blood and still looks fine, you should not take chances. They could've been poisoned already, and it is prudent to consult the vet right away.
- Change in the Amount of Water Intake or Urination
Your dog is unusually thirsty and must drink lots of water to quench his thirst and recover the lost body fluid. There are many possible reasons why your dog is so thirsty, and one of them is aspirin poisoning.
- Sudden Collapse/Exhaustion
There are various reasons behind your dog's sudden collapse; one of them could be aspirin poisoning. You need to take your pet to the veterinarian to check whether it is due to blood disease, heart disease, respiratory disease, other health issues, or aspirin poisoning.
Since aspirin's most common side effects on dogs are ulceration and gastrointestinal irritation, expect your dog to have diarrhea, abdominal pain, and/or other stomach issues. It may also vomit due to gastrointestinal irritation.
- Loss or Lack of Appetite
Due to gastrointestinal irritation that aspirin may give to your dog, it is no longer surprising for your dog to also lose appetite. The stomach pain may intensify over time.
- Respiratory Changes
High doses of aspirin can give your dog damaged organs. Once their blood becomes too acidic, expect that there will be an increase in their respiratory rate. Your dog may also have decreased blood clotting, wobbly gait, high temperatures, and/or other health issues.
Before a seizure, your dog may appear dazed, confused, unsteady, or give a blank stare. Shortly after, your dog may become temporarily blind, wobbly, or disoriented and may even drool a lot. Dog seizures usually last between 30 and 60 seconds.
Unlike seizures, dogs are generally fully aware of their surroundings, responsive, mobile, alert, and conscious during tremors. They shake or tremble, and it may seem there's nothing to be alarmed about. But, tremors may be telling you that your dog has been poisoned by aspirin.
Your dog may feel weak and become unconscious but can be awakened using a strong external stimulus, unlike when it is comatose. Don't delay and take your dog to a vet when you see any of the given symptoms or signs of aspirin poisoning.
What Should I Do if My Dog Eats Aspirin?
If you suspect that your dog ingested aspirin, you need to contact your vet right away or the animal poison control center. Aspirin takes about 7 hours to get out of your pet's system with normal consumption. However, your dog may need to stay in the hospital for a couple or more days if it is acute toxicity. The hospital needs to monitor the recovery of your dog.
Are There Safe Aspirin Alternatives for Dogs?
There are safe alternatives to aspirin that you can give to your dog. But, you will still need the veterinarian's approval when giving other NSAIDs that are safer than aspirin.
This is one of the most commonly used NSAIDs for dogs. However, some dogs have an adverse reaction to Rimadyl. This drug usually causes gastrointestinal irritation, including ulcers, diarrhea, and vomiting. Kidney and liver side effects are rare but could be serious in some cases when they occur.
This is another NSAID that is safer than aspirin. The most common side effects are diarrhea and nausea. It is advisable to only give your dog one NSAID.
Etodolac is a better choice when treating dogs that weigh over 11 pounds and are more than 12 months old. It is good for treating pain, fever, and inflammation in dogs. Etodolac may cause damage to the intestines and stomach, especially when used for a long time. Side effects include skin itching, dizziness, constipation, and diarrhea.
Studies show positive results in utilizing CBD (cannabidiol) as a holistic alternative to aspirin in treating discomfort in dogs, including inflammation, joint, and mobility issues.
Some dogs may experience drowsiness, lowered blood pressure, or dry mouth when using CBD. However, these issues can be reversed when the dosage of CBD is reduced or stopped. Other suggestions for aspirin substitutes include turmeric, glucosamine, phytoplankton, and fish oil. It is important to consult your vet first before trying the listed alternatives.
Final Thoughts — Can You Give a Dog Aspirin?
Every decent owner will look far and wide to alleviate their dog's life stresses. That's why reaching for ole reliable aspirin for dogs makes sense, but hold off for now, pet parents. You may give aspirin to your dog but only under your vet's supervision. You may try CBD as an alternative, but it is still recommended you consult your vet first before trying any medication for your dog.
Again, anyone wondering if they should give their dog aspirin should consult their veterinarian prior. Doing so ensures the safety of your pet! And with so many alternatives to aspirin for dogs out there (like CBD), you shouldn't ever feel pigeon-holed when finding the right medication to help your dog feel their best.