Aspirin can be used to treat dogs that are in pain. However, it's important to understand the correct dosage for your individual dog, as well as the possible side-effects it can have on your pet, before you give it to him.
Correct Aspirin Dosage
The following dosage guidelines are provided for informational purposes only, and are not meant to replace professional veterinary consultation and care. Consult your vet directly to determine if administering aspirin is the right treatment for your pet and confirm the correct dosage based on your dog's exact weight.
According to VetInfo.com, while aspirin should never be given to puppies because their systems can't break it down, you can give your adult dog aspirin to relieve pain and/or inflammation, and you should always give it with food. The recommended dosage is 5 mg to 10 mg of aspirin per pound of a dog's weight, as recommended by your veterinarian, and it can be given once every 12 hours. Let your vet know how many milligrams are in the type of aspirin tablet you intend to use, as found on the container label, and your vet will recommend how to cut the tablet down to reach the proper dosage as necessary.
Side Effects of Aspirin Usage
While aspirin can be effective and is readily available, there are possible adverse side effects, as well as reasons aspirin use is not advisable in some circumstances.
- Stomach upset - Aspirin can upset a dog's stomach, which can interfere with the ultimate goal of relieving your dog's pain if he throws up the medication. Buffered aspirin is usually easier on a dog's stomach than non-buffered aspirin, especially if your vet advises you to give repeated doses.
- Stomach ulcers - Long-term usage could lead to stomach ulcers. Watch for dark, tar-like blood in your dog's stools since this is usually a strong indication his stomach has been bleeding.
- Blood thinning - Aspirin does thin the blood, which can lead to excessive bleeding if your dog is injured or undergoes surgery while on the medication. It should never be administered to a dog with Von Willebrand's Disease or pregnant or nursing dogs.
- Kidney damage - Aspirin should never be given to a dog that already has kidney disease. In otherwise healthy dogs, watch for signs such as increased or decreased thirst, and well as changes in appetite and onset of vomiting, since these signs are often associated with kidney problems.
Overdose Is Possible
Giving your dog too much aspirin can produce serious complications that require emergency care. According to PetMD.com and VetInfo.com, signs of an overdose can include:
- Anxious or depressed behavior
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of coordination
- Vomiting (Usually blood)
- Pale gums (Sign of possible shock)
- Intestinal hemorrhage
- Rapid breathing/panting
- Loss of consciousness
Dogs can also die quite suddenly if they receive a toxic dose of aspirin.
Tips for Giving Aspirin
If your vet advises you to use this medication for your dog, the next step is administering the dose your vet has advised. There are several ways to do this.
- Place the pill on the back of your dog's tongue and stroke his throat to encourage him to swallow.
- Place the pill inside a special, digestible "pill pocket" routinely used to give dogs medication.
- Insert the pill inside a tempting food like a piece of hot dog, or wrap it in a piece of bread and feed it to your dog.
A Final Caution
To avoid drug interactions that could cause harm, aspirin should not be given to a dog that is on any other medications unless it is done so under the direct supervision of a veterinarian. Ask your vet about alternative pain medications so you can make an informed decision about the best treatment for your pet.