We hate to see our dogs in pain. If your dog is suffering with pain from an injury or disease, it can be tempting to treat him the way we treat ourselves—with a painkiller like aspirin. Before you reach into your medicine cabinet, talk to your vet. Vets do prescribe aspirin for dogs, but aspirin has some serious side effects that dog owners need to be aware of.
Aspirin is an NSAID, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. This puts it in the same category as ibuprofen, naproxen, carprofen, and a long list of other NSAIDs geared toward humans and animals.
NSAIDs are used to treat pain, inflammation, and fever. Aspirin also acts as an anti-coagulant, preventing blood from clotting. In general, NSAIDs have fewer side effects than steroids, although certain NSAIDs like Rimadyl are better suited for long-term use than others. But all of them can cause side effects, so talk to your vet about the best painkiller for your dog’s condition.
Why Do Vets Prescribe Aspirin for Dogs?
Vets usually prescribe aspirin for dogs with osteoarthritis or musculoskeletal inflammation. The anti-inflammatory properties of aspirin help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with these conditions and can offer your dog relief from symptoms.
Veterinarians also use aspirin to treat a variety of other conditions. If you have a question about why your vet recommended administering aspirin, call the office. Thanks to some of the more serious side effects associated with the drug, aspirin is not a medication that owners should give their dogs without veterinary approval, so be sure to pay close attention to your veterinarian’s instructions.
When to call your vet. If you notice your dog is in pain, your first step should be to make an appointment with your vet. Don’t try to medicate him using aspirin in your cabinet, even if you have baby aspirin on hand. Dogs are good at masking their discomfort, but signs to watch for include:
Benefits and risks of aspirin for dogs. Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). In people, it works by blocking pain messengers in the body called prostaglandins. It does the same in dogs. It can help to temporarily alleviate pain and inflammation in the body.
It’s hard to see your canine companion in pain. While you might want to do something right away to ease their discomfort, you should not give them the same type of aspirin or other pain medications that you and your family use for headaches or sore muscles. Your dog needs a pain-reliever made for dogs.
When you’re in pain, you might reach into your medicine cabinet and take a couple of aspirin to help you manage your symptoms. If your dog is in pain, you might be wondering if you can do the same for them. The short answer is no.
Aspirin dosage for dogs. The amount of aspirin to give your dog varies based on size. In general, smaller dogs require a smaller dose, and larger dogs need more. Your vet will calculate your dog’s dose, so be sure to follow their recommendations. Again, keep an eye out for side effects, as some dogs are more sensitive to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs than others.
Low-dose baby aspirin can help your dog with short-term pain, but it is not a safe heart health supplement.
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