Aspirin For Dogs: Is It Safe Or A Headache?

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
A common over-the-counter pain medication, is Aspirin for dogs safe, or will it leave you and your dog with a headache that requires emergency treatment?

When your dog is in pain, you want to do everything you can to soothe him. Unfortunately, the same treatments that can be used for your own pain may be dangerous for your dog. So what can you give your dog to ease his pain? Aspirin for dogs is a popular go-to remedy, but there are limits, you MUST follow the proper dosage and it’s not a long-term treatment – otherwise, it will do way more harm than good.

Dosage for Aspirin in Dogs

Before you give Aspirin to your dog there are a few things you need to check – the dosage and the type of tablet it is. To avoid irritating your dog’s stomach, use Aspirin tablets that are “enteric-coated” or “buffered”. When it comes to proper dosage for aspirin in dogs, you should aim for about 5mg to 10mg per pound of your dog’s body weight, given twice a day (every 12 hours). To calculate the right dosage, simply take your dog’s body weight in pounds and multiply it by 5 or 10 – that is the number of milligrams aspirin you should use. For example, if your dog weighs 45 pounds, the dosage recommendation would be 225 mg.

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Most standard Aspirin tablets are 320mg and baby Aspirin is 80mg. Depending which tablets you have on hand, you may need to give your dog part of a tablet or several. Just make sure that you do not exceed two doses in a 24-hour period – that is, one dose every 12 hours. You should also keep in mind that anything over 30mg per pound is considered toxic, so make your calculations carefully. Proper dosage is important for all dogs, but especially for small dogs because even a minor miscalculation could lead to an overdose.

Possible Side Effects

When it comes to possible side effects for Aspirin, keep in mind that puppies are more likely to experience them than older dogs. Before your puppy is fully grown, his liver and kidneys will not be fully developed so his body won’t be able to completely metabolize pain medication the way an adult dog’s body can. For this reason, you should treat puppies with a lower dosage (per their body weight). Small dogs are also at a higher risk for side effects than large dogs.

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Some of the most common side effects of Aspirin in dogs include lethargy, loose stools, and loss of appetite. If your dog vomits a dark substance that looks like coffee grounds or if his stools look abnormally dark, it could be a sign of internal bleeding and you need to seek veterinary attention immediately. If you give your dog too much Aspirin at one time or if you do not space the doses far enough apart, you risk organ damage. To prevent serious problems like this, do not treat your dog with Aspirin for more than FIVE days in a row.

Other Tips for Using Aspirin in Dogs

Not only can continued use of Aspirin potentially lead to organ damage, but it can cause another serious problem as well. Aspirin thins the blood so it is dangerous for pregnant dogs and those due for surgery. Aspirin can also destroy your dog’s cartilage if used for long term treatment – this can make joint problems like arthritis (which the Aspirin was likely a treatment for) much worse. It is also dangerous to give your dog Aspirin if he is currently being treated with corticosteroids. Always check with your vet before giving your dog Aspirin.

Aspirin can be an acceptable and temporary solution for pain in dogs, but you need to be careful when giving it to your pet. Be sure to follow the dosage instructions provided above and do not use it for more than five days. And as always, be sure to check in with your vet if you notice that your dog is suffering from any kind of pain and before you give him Aspirin.

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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