Aspirin For Dogs – Side Effects & Safe Alternatives to Aspirin

Medical review by K9 Healthcare Council of America (K9HCA). Intended for educational purposes only. Always seek medical advice from your veterinarian.

Aspirin For Dogs

For compassionate pet parents, seeing your dog in pain can be emotionally distressing! The first thing you want to do is take away their pain and make them more comfortable–but how?

Dogs can suffer from many different ailments including arthritis and hip dysplasia that may cause noticeable pain in their limbs and joints. 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 human Aspirin.

But over the counter (OTC) medications like Aspirin can potentially cause serious adverse side effects in your pet!dosage of aspirin for dogs

NSAIDS like Aspirin pose a risk to dogs so it’s important to know the side effects and proper dosage.

Is Aspirin OK For Dogs?

A veterinarian will usually recommend Aspirin (Acetylsalicylic Acid) for its anti-inflammatory properties to offer your dog relief from symptoms associated with pain from osteoarthritis or canine musculoskeletal inflammation.

While Aspirin can be prescribed to dogs, and often is, it’s not safe to simply give your dog the same pills that you and your family members take for headaches, muscle soreness, and other minor aches and pains.

Aspirin is a medication developed for humans, and not intended for our canine companions.

At the proper doses, however, aspirin can provide temporary relief for minor injuries, such as sprains or muscle strains, or for mild pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. However, Aspirin is not designed for long-term use and should not be administered on a daily basis without consulting your veterinarian first.

WARNING: Aspirin is not recommended for long term use in dogs!

Aspirin is rarely a veterinarian’s first choice to treat painful conditions due to its potential adverse side effects and the fact that there are better, more appropriate drugs available for our pets.

Many drugs are commonly prescribed for “off label” use in veterinary medicine and veterinarians will occasionally prescribe very low dose aspirin for serious kidney or heart disease, or sometimes for fever and blood clotting disorders as ‘extra-label’ applications.

aspirin for dogs arthritis
You should always talk with your veterinarian before starting your dog on any drug like aspirin as overdoses of aspirin can be fatal for your dog.

Most often, aspirin will be prescribed for short-term pain relief for your dog. It’s unlikely that your vet will prescribe aspirin for a long time period or to manage chronic pain, since the long-term effects can be serious.

Is Aspirin Bad for Dogs? 

This is a common question all animal lovers ask at some point. Is it okay to give aspirin to your pets? Baby aspirin can be relatively safe for dogs provided you adhere closely with the correct dosage, and you don’t use it for long-term treatment.

Human aspirin can be given to dogs but should not be used for over a maximum of 5 days.

Dog aspirin also has a recommended duration of use. Be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle of the brand you choose to use and confer with your veterinarian. Even though Aspirin may be considered an option for immediate pain relief and swelling in dogs, nevertheless, paying close attention to any side effects and symptoms that may occur afterwards is imperative.

Dogs cannot tell you verbally if they are having complications, therefore it’s your job to keep an eye on how they feel after taking it. (FYI, it is never okay to give aspirin to cats; it is considered toxic for them).

Is Aspirin Safe for Dogs?

As long as you are careful to use the recommended dosage consistently, the likelihood of negative side effects can be reduced. Minor side effects such as lethargy, loose stools and loss of appetite are common with aspirin use in dogs.

Although these aren’t serious, life-threatening effects, they may signal the beginning of more serious problems.

aspirin dosage for dogs
The most common side effects are gastrointestinal effects, such as nausea, decreased appetite, vomiting, or intestinal irritation.

Aspirin for dogs is known to irritate the stomach and cause bleeding and ulcers may occur with longer term use. If too much aspirin is given, or dosages are given too close together there is risk of irritation and internal organ damage.

Aspirin For Dogs Side Effects

What Are the Potential Side Effects of Aspirin?

Although aspirin and other NSAIDs, as well as acetaminophen, can all be prescribed to dogs to help relieve pain and inflammation, they come with risks. The danger lies in the side effects that the medications can cause.

The most common side effects are gastrointestinal effects, such as nausea, decreased appetite, vomiting, or intestinal irritation. Bleeding of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract may also occur, even at smaller therapeutic doses.

Signs of bleeding in the GI tract include black/tarry stools, blood or ’coffee grounds’ in the vomit, or frank blood in the stools. In severe bleeding cases, anemia or low blood protein can occur.

List of potential side effects of aspirin for dogs include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (possibly bloody) or black, tarry stools
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Dehydration
  • Panting
  • Weakness
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Kidney damage or kidney failure
  • Liver damage or liver failure
  • Collapse
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Even at therapeutic dosages of 25 mg/kg, plain Aspirin may induce mucosal erosion and ulceration in dogs.

Vomiting and ‘melena’ (the discharge of black, tarry, bloody stools, resulting from a hemorrhage in the alimentary tract) can occur with dogs that have a lower tolerance for NSAIDS. Aspirin overdoses can result in ‘salicylate poisoning’, characterized by severe Acid-Base pH abnormalities leading to hemorrhage, seizures, coma and death.

Aspirin Dosage for Dogs

Aspirin is not a medicine to mess around with. Since Aspirin is not currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there is a lack of definitive studies evaluating the proper dosages of aspirin for dogs.

The Merck Veterinary Manual recommends administering a dosage of 10-40 mgs per kg of body weight. However, this dose range can vary depending on your dog’s medical condition.

aspirin for dogs dose
Alternatives to aspirin for dogs. Not all dog parents feel comfortable giving their dog drugs for pain. Instead, many look for more natural options. So, what can you give a dog for pain relief? Canine Support Formula is a viable natural pain management option.

You should always talk with your veterinarian before starting your dog on any drug like aspirin as overdoses of aspirin can be fatal for your dog.

How Much Aspirin Can I Give My Dog?

If you decide to give your dog Aspirin (and have confirmed the appropriate dosage with your vet), here are a few guidelines to follow to purchase the right kind of aspirin:

  • Always read the bottle carefully for dosage – Aspirin comes in a variety of tablet sizes. Most people are familiar with “baby aspirin”, which is 81 milligrams (mg) per tablet. The larger or “adult” form size is usually 325 mg, though there are some varieties that come in 165 and 500 mg tablet sizes.
  • Always use “buffered” aspirin / never use coated or “extended release” tablets – Aspirin that is buffered means that an antacid such as calcium carbonate is added to the medication. Buffering a medication means that you are bringing the pH of a medication as close to neutral as possible.

Enteric-coated aspirin tablets are designed to protect human stomachs from potential irritation, but they are NOT recommended for use with dogs. In about half the time, the enteric (intestinal) coating isn’t digested, and the aspirin is excreted whole in the dog’s stool.

Aspirin For Dogs Dosage

The proper dose of Aspirin for dogs is roughly: 4 milligrams per 1 pound of body weight, (or 4 mg/lb.).

Aspirin can be given every 12 hours (twice a day), not to exceed 2-3 days duration unless directed by a veterinarian. The recommended dosage for dogs taking human aspirin is between 5 mg’s and 10 mgs per pound of body weight, given twice a day (once every 12 hours).

It’s helpful to know that a standard adult size aspirin is 320 mgs, and a baby size is 80 mgs per tablet. If your dog weighs 40 lbs., the recommended dosage for him would be 200 mg [40 lbs. x 5 mg’s] or, 2.25 baby aspirin.

Important Note: Any aspirin dose over 30 mgs per pound is considered toxic!

A large breed puppy may need less medicine than a full grown mid-sized adult dog of the same weight. But using a ‘baby aspirin’ size tablet can still pose less risk of toxic overdose.

Baby Aspirin for Dogs

We’ve seen how aspirin and NSAIDs in general, as well as acetaminophen, can be very dangerous for our furry friends. Getting the aspirin dosage correct is imperative, especially when treating small dogs.

Young puppies aren’t able to metabolize pain medication as well as adult dogs, and their liver and kidneys are immature, meaning they often need a lower dosage per lb of body weight than an adult dog.

Baby Aspirin for Dogs Pain

A dog can suffer pain or injury at any age and Aspirin can be administered for effective pain relief as long as it’s done under the close supervision and guidance of your veterinarian.

aspirin to dogs
Even though human aspirin is sometimes prescribed for dogs, and dogs can be given NSAIDs designed specifically for pets, these drugs come with risks.

Aspirin for dogs with arthritis should not be used to treat ongoing joint problems because it contains acetylsalicylic acid which can destroy cartilage when used for extended periods of time.

Aspirin is also contra-indicated for any dogs that have a blood clotting disorder or condition that causes them to bleed easily because aspirin is a blood thinner.

How Much Baby Aspirin for Dogs?

Examples for using baby aspirin for different size dogs are as follow:

  • 5 lb. dog = 1/4 of a ‘baby aspirin’ (81 mg tablet) *
  • 10 lb. dog = 1/2 of a ‘baby aspirin’ (81 mg tablet) *
  • 20 lb. dog = one ‘baby aspirin’ (81 mg tablet) *
  • 30 lb. dog = 1 and 1/2 tablets of ‘baby aspirin’ (81 mg tablets)
  • 75 lb. dog = 3/4 of a 325 mg ‘adult’ tablet
  • 100 lb. dog = one ‘adult’ 325 mg ‘adult’ tablet

*The recommended dose is low for safety – the few extra milligrams in these doses will not hurt your dog!

Natural Alternatives to Aspirin for Dogs

Drug Development from Nature

It is a curious fact that we owe a great deal of our insight into the pharmacological treatment of pain to the natural world.

Willow bark from Salix spp. led to development of Aspirin and eventual elucidation of the analgesic effects of prostaglandins and their role in inflammation.

Similarly, the study of the pharmacological properties of hemp and cannabis (Cannabis sativa) plants prompted the breakthrough discovery of the body’s own Endocannabinoid system (ECS), which modulates pain under certain physiological conditions.

CBDA From Hemp Oil as Natural Alternative to Aspirin

Canine Support Formula
Canine Support Formula is a safe, effective alternative to NSAIDS like aspirin for dogs with pain.

How CBDa Works To Relieve Pain (and why you should consider it before NSAIDS)

Both CBD and CBDa are compounds known as cannabinoids. Scientists believe the cannabis plant contains at least 110 cannabinoids, of which the best known are CBD and its intoxicating counterpart THC. While these two cannabinoids work by interacting with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), CBDa (Cannabdiolic Acid) works a little differently.

Put simply, CBDa’s analgesic powers derive from its ability to inhibit a certain type of enzyme known as COX-2. Similar to how NSAIDs (including aspirin) function, CBDA blocks pain messengers called prostaglandins in the body by inhibiting COX1 and COX2 enzymes that produce pro-inflammatory prostaglandins.

By doing so, scientists believe CBDa may be able to serve similar purposes as a natural pain relief for dogs but without the adverse side effects of NSAID medications.

Is CBDA a More Effective Substitute for NSAIDS Like Aspirin?

The efficacy of using CBDA as a substitute analgesic for non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) shows immense promise for dogs with chronic pain.

While there have been no human or animal studies that examine CBDA as a treatment for arthritis & inflammatory conditions, laboratory research in cell cultures has discovered that CBDA seems to work in a remarkably similar way to common non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory-drugs like Aspirin, Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen–but without the increased risks of peptic ulceration or kidney damage associated with the use of NSAIDS.

Studies suggest that CBDA may NOT interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS); but rather, CBDA affects other non-endocannabinoid receptors and enzymes.

Researchers speculate that the analgesic, anti-inflammatory effects of CBDA are based on the way it interacts with an enzyme called COX-2.

CBD oil for dogs
Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA) in Canine Support Formula is a selective inhibitor for COX-2 and a potential natural treatment alternative for pain management where the use of NSAIDS may not be well tolerated in dogs.

While NSAIDs block the COX-2 enzymes and reduce production of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins, CBDA can also perform this chemical interference but do so without the negative side-effects associated with prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications (OTC) like Aspirin.

Clearly, CBDa from natural hemp oil is a safer, more clinically effective choice to address chronic canine pain.

FAQ’s About Aspirin for Dogs with Pain

Is There a Natural Pain Relief for Dogs?

It’s clear pet parents want to make the lives of their dogs more comfortable and fulfilling, so properly caring for their pets is the #1 priority. You can realize that honorable intention through knowing the signs and symptoms of your dog’s pain and treating it accordingly.

Utilizing natural CBD plus CBDA in Canine Support Formula is a safe & effective plant-based alternative for management of pain in your canine companion. Try the safer, natural joint pain supplement with CBDA in Canine Support Formula to relieve your dog’s pain without harming him! Natural CBDA for alleviating pain in dogs is a subject that may benefit from consultation with a veterinarian to determine its appropriateness and effectiveness for your specific pet.

Can Aspirin Cause Ulcers, Bleeding, and Digestive Tract Issues?

Aspirin may lead to ulcers and bleeding, as it hampers prostaglandins that protect the stomach lining. Continued use post-ulceration can trigger bleeding, often originating from ulcers in the digestive tract.

How Does Aspirin Affect Liver and Kidney Health in Dogs?

Regular aspirin use in dogs poses risks of liver and kidney problems. The liver, responsible for detoxification, may struggle with frequent aspirin use, potentially leading to failure. Additionally, aspirin could diminish blood flow to the kidneys, impacting their function. Proper aspirin dosing is crucial to mitigate these risks.

Can I Give My Dog Baby Aspirin?

We’ve seen how aspirin and NSAIDs in general can be very dangerous for our furry friends. Getting the aspirin dosage correct is imperative, especially when treating small dogs. Young puppies aren’t able to metabolize pain medication as well as adult dogs, and their liver and kidneys are immature, meaning they often need a lower dosage per lb. of body weight than an adult dog.

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