Since it’s found in most medicine cabinets, you may have wondered if it’s safe give your dog Aspirin. In this article, we will talk about Aspirin for dogs.
Aspirin is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, and although FDA-approved for humans, it can be used in dogs off-label. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know before giving your dog an Asprin tablet.
Can I Give My Dog Aspirin?
Yes, you can give your dog Aspirin. However, first, you need to talk to your vet in terms of suitability, dosage, and administration frequency. This is because Aspirin is a human pain-reliever, and its use in veterinary medicine is off-label.
Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug with accented fever-reducing, pain control, and anti-clotting properties. It belongs to the group of NSAIDs together with Ibuprofen (Advil) and Acetaminophen (Tylenol).
When to Use Aspirin for Dogs
Aspirin (also known as acetylsalicylic acid) is a salicylic acid metabolite popularly used to relieve pain and discomfort, decrease fever, and reduce the likelihood of blood clot formation.
Aspirin works by inhibiting an enzyme called cyclooxygenase. The cyclooxygenase is responsible for the production of prostaglandins. These hormone-like chemicals have several beneficial roles in the body (blood flow regulation, protective mucus formation).
However, in addition to the beneficial roles, prostaglandins also support pain, fever, and inflammation. Therefore, in simple words, Aspirin prevents these processes by inhibiting their support mechanisms.
Benefits and Uses of Aspirin for Dogs
Managing pain, inflammation, and blood clots are the main roles of Aspirin. However, this popular tablet comes with several benefits. Let’s take a closer look at the different Aspirin uses for adult dogs.
Aspirin for Pain Relief. The most popular Aspirin use is for pain control. In dogs, common causes of pain and discomfort are osteoarthritis, leg injuries, and dental issues.
Aspirin for Inflammation and Fever. As a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, Aspirin can control inflammation and decrease fever. This feature can also be used in dogs with arthritis.
Aspirin for Blood Clotting Prevention. Aspirin affects platelet function. Its blood-thinning or anticoagulant effect prevents the formation of blood clots and decreases the risk of strokes in dogs.
Aspirin for Cancer Management. A groundbreaking study showed that Aspirin may prevent cancer spreads in dogs by stopping the malignant cells from hijacking the platelets.
Aspirin for Eye Problems. Another exciting study suggests that Aspirin use helps decrease the incidence of retinopathies (eye problems) in diabetic dogs.
Potential Side Effects and Risks of Aspirin for Dogs
Like any other medication, Aspirin can sometimes cause side effects in extra sensitive dogs or of used for extended periods. Here are some of the more frequently reported Aspirin side effects in dogs:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Mucosal erosion
- Stomach ulceration
- Black and tarry stool
If your dog is sensitive to Aspirin or has additional health issues, before administration, it is advisable to talk to your trusted vet. Aspirin should not be used in dogs:
- Allergic or sensitive to the active ingredient
- Receiving medications with known drug interactions
- Diagnosed with bleeding ulcers or bleeding disorders
- With asthma, kidney disease, and liver damage
- Pregnant dogs and very young puppies
Finally, if a dog is receiving Aspirin, the use must be discontinued at least one week before surgical procedures because of the increased bleeding risk.
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Aspirin Dosage for Dogs
Lacking FDA approval for canine use, not many studies look into the exact Aspirin dosage for dogs. Based on the guidelines provided by the Merck Veterinary Manual, dogs can be given between 10 and 40 mg of Aspirin per kg (2.2 lbs) of body weight.
However, which dosage is best for your dog depends on its underlying condition and is something you should discuss with your veterinarian. Aspirin is given by mouth every 12 hours and needs between 1 and 2 hours to start working.
Aspirin is available in two forms – regular (contains 325 mg of acetylsalicylic acid) and Baby Asprin (contains 1/4 of the active ingredient or 81 mg). If you have a Chihuahua, Baby Aspirin would be a more practical choice. On the other hand, a Great Dane needs regular Aspirin. If you plan on giving your dog aspirin, always consult with your veterinarian first for specific dosage guidelines.
Regardless of the Aspirin potency form you choose, sticking to the recommended dosage is vital. This is because an Aspirin overdose can be fatal. Aspirin toxicity in dogs manifests with the following signs and symptoms:
- Rapid breathing
- Increased body temperature
- Wobbly gait and weakness
- Tremors and seizures
- Liver and kidney damage
A dog with Aspirin toxicity needs immediate veterinary attention and should be taken to the vet’s office as soon as possible.
Aspirin for Dogs Usage Guidelines
Human Aspirin tablets are enteric-coated to be extra gentle on human stomachs. Enteric-coated medications dissolve slowly in the dog’s stomach and are often ineffective. Therefore, it might be better suited to look into chewable tablets featuring acetylsalicylic acid and a dog-friendly flavor.
Before using Aspirin for your dog, you should know that the active ingredient may interact with other medications such as:
- ACE inhibitors
- Heparin and oral anticoagulants
- SSRI antidepressants
- Blood glucose-lowering agents
- Calcium channel blockers
- Steroid anti-inflammatory drugs
- Spironolactone and furosemide
If your dog is prone to low-dose Aspirin side effects or you prefer a more natural approach, do not worry. Here are some natural Aspirin alternatives:
- Dog CBD Products – when it comes to joint pain and inflammation, CBD is amazing. We recommend using the Honest Paws CBD oils and edibles because they contain organic, human-grade, and hemp-derived CBD. Additionally, they are condition-specific, dog-friendly flavored, and made in the USA.
- Organic Turmeric – the active ingredient in Turmeric, curcumin has strong anti-inflammatory properties, and studies show it is more efficient than regular pain medications. Plus, it is easy to use – just sprinkle organic turmeric powder on top of your dog’s food (between 1/8 to 1/4 tsp per 10 pounds of body weight).
- Boswellia serrata – also known as Frankincense, Boswellia serrata is a highly praised herb because of its ability to control pain and inflammation. According to a study, Boswellia serrata supplements can relieve joint pain and decrease the intensity of other osteoarthritis symptoms in 71% of dogs.
Finally, just because your dog has adverse reactions to Aspirin does not mean it is sensitive to all NSAIDs. Talk to your vet about other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like carprofen, naproxen, and meloxicam.
Our Final Thoughts on Aspirin for Dogs
The most popular drug in the medicine cabinet, human Aspirin, is relatively safe and can be beneficial to dogs as long as it is used in accordance with the vet’s instructions, careful monitoring, and for a limited timeframe.
However, if your dog’s condition could benefit from long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, it is best advised to look into NSAIDs formulated for dogs as these are safer and less likely to cause side effects.