Can you give dogs aspirin, if yes what is the right dosage ?
Although our understanding of dogs has improved incredibly over the last couple of decades, it’s still impossible for us to have a full understanding of how a dog feels at any particular time. Science can do amazing things, but without the ability to see, and feel what a dog is feeling, it would be naive to think that we know what is going on inside their minds. With that being said, it doesn’t take a veterinary surgeon to tell you when your beloved dog is in some kind of pain or discomfort, whether it’s from a minor cut, a graze, arthritis, or a more serious chronic illness. One of the most common questions that worried dog owners ask, is “ Can you give dogs aspirin ?”, and the most honest answer is that it completely depends on the dog, and the circumstance.
Aspirin is a widely popular medication that is used to treat inflammation, pain and fever in humans all over the world. For canines, the most common pain relief medication administered by veterinary surgeons is Rimadyl, which carries similar properties to Aspirin, but without the unavoidable side effects. However, Rimadyl is only prescribed to dogs who have been thoroughly examined by a professional veterinarian, and without definitive symptoms to show that something is severely wrong with your dog, it can sometimes be difficult to obtain, so Aspirin is usually the next best option.
Can dogs take aspirin?
If your dog is feeling under the weather, or if you know they are suffering from arthritis or any other chronic illnesses, then Aspirin can be an effective short term solution, but there are a lot of things you need to take into consideration before you pop open a bottle.
First of all, it’s crucial that you understand that Aspirin is only effective as a pain-relief method for a short amount of time. Dogs are extremely sensitive to drugs, so feeding your canine friend Aspirin for prolonged periods of time can increase the chances of them developing any of the side effects we will discuss later.
So can you give dogs aspirin if they are in pain? Yes, but be careful with the dosage.The most important guideline to follow, if you want to ensure your dogs safety is the recommended dosage. Given in large amounts, Aspirin can be toxic to dogs, which can often lead to fatality. The correct dosage will depend on the size of the dog, but as a rule of thumb, the general guideline is to administer 5mg to 10mg of Aspirin per pound of bodyweight. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so we recommend that you start on the lower end of the spectrum and work your way up, if needs be. The dosage will need to be taken with food, and can be administered every 12 hours.
Smaller dogs will require a smaller dosage, as their systems are not as capable of breaking the medication down compared to larger dogs. Puppies should not be given Aspirin at all, so if you are curious about any sort of pain symptoms in your puppy, then seek medical advice immediately.
Never give your dog regular Aspirin for more than 5 days at a time. Although it can be an effective pain reliever for dogs, taking it for too long can often do more damage than good.
Just like with humans, it’s recommended that you speak to a medical professional (Veterinarian in this case) before you begin feeding any sort of medication to your dog. Your vet will recommend the correct dosage for your particular dog, and they will know exactly how much they have been taking, if anything does go wrong. They will also be able to understand the underlying problem that is causing the pain, and they can recommend a more suitable medication if applicable.
When Can’t A Dog Take Aspirin?
Aspirin for dogs can be an effective treatment in the correct dosages, and for the correct amount of time, but it can also be fatal if it’s not administered correctly. Knowing the correct dosage is important, but it’s even more crucial to know which dogs cannot take aspirin in the first place. Dogs with certain health condition’s can react to a new medication in a negative way, so if your dog currently suffers from any of the following health conditions, we recommend that you speak to your veterinarian first.
- Liver or kidney disease
- Puppies younger than 8 weeks old
- Ulcers or any bleeding issues
- Taking any other medication
- Recently undergone surgery
- Vitamin K deficiency
Common Side Effects:
For the majority of dogs, especially the older ones, there shouldn’t be any side effects if you stick to the recommended dosages, and if you don’t exceed the 5 day recommendation. However, certain side effects have been documented, so it’s always a good idea to understand what to look out for if you do decide to give your dog Aspirin. The most common side effects are generally harmless, but more severe side effects can be considerably more dangerous.
The most common side effects include:
- Upset stomach
- Decreased appetite
In the rare cases of Aspirin overdose, some of the more severe side effects can be a sign of internal bleeding, or kidney damage. Some things to watch out for include extreme vomiting and diarrhea which is a deep red color, hard dark stools, increased water consumption and blood filled diarrhea. Each of these symptoms are clear indicators of internal damage, so if you spot any of these, then seen medical attention immediately.
Giving your dog more than the recommended dosage, for more than the recommended 5 days can lead to an Aspirin overdose, which can be fatal if the problem isn’t dealt with quick enough. The side effects mentioned previously are all uncommon, so if you spot any of them, particularly the more severe ones, then we highly recommend that you take your dog to the nearest veterinary hospital as soon as possible. Death from an Aspirin overdose doesn’t necessarily come with any warnings, so it can happen at any time if toxic doses are administered.
Besides from the common side effects listed previously, there are a few more symptoms you need to watch out for, if you are worried about aspirin overdose:
- Heavy breathing or panting
- Fainting or loss of consciousness
- Failure to balance correctly
- Pale gums
- Increased anxiety or depression
- Inability to walk correctly
- Fever symptoms
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pains
Some of these symptoms can be difficult to spot, as they are not exclusively tied to an Aspirin overdose. However, it can be incredibly easy to feed your dog too much Aspirin by accident, because the line between enough, and too much is very fine. While your dog is medicated, it is important to keep a close eye on them for any oddities or obvious symptoms. If you spot anything out of the ordinary, then you need to take your dog to the veterinarian surgeons office, or an emergency animal hospital immediately.
Can You Cure Aspirin Overdose?
The relevant treatment for an Aspirin overdose will depend on how quickly you were able to spot the symptoms. Their is generally a 12 hour window for a veterinary surgeon to administer a treatment without any severe damage to your dog. Depending on the length of time since you last fed your dog Aspirin, the treatment could simply be a stomach pump to empty any of the Aspirin that has yet to be digested by the dog.
Any Aspirin which is currently in the blood stream cannot be removed from the system, so if any severe symptoms do occur, then surgical intervention will possibly be required.
To prevent the need for surgery, it’s crucial that you pay special attention to the dosage you are providing to your dog, and their behavior after they have taken it. The smallest symptom could be the difference between life and death, so it is not something to take lightly.
How To Safely Administer Aspirin For Dogs
Now that you have a full understanding of the benefits, as well as the risks involved with giving your dog aspirin, here are a few tips to help make feeding your dog the medication a little bit easier. Drugs are not a staple in a dogs diet, so it will come as no surprise that they aren’t too excited to swallow them down, but there are a few ways to make the process easier for you both. So can dogs take aspirin if the dosage is right? Yes they can! Some tips how to give them:
- Place the Aspirin pill inside one of your dogs favorite foods, such as hot dogs, bread or a piece of steak.
- You can purchase pill administration pockets made specifically for dogs, to help them swallow the medication without knowing what they are eating.
- If you don’t want to mess around with disguising the Aspirin pill, then simply place it as far back into your dogs mouth as you possibly can, then massage their throat to encourage swallowing.
Aspirin can be a cheap, effective pain relief for dogs, and it’s something that we all have lying around our homes already, so it certainly has it’s benefits. However, the potential complications that Aspirin can cause for your canine best friend is nothing to take lightly. Ensure that the dosage is correct, and make sure you keep a close eye on them at all times. Can you give dogs aspirin when they are young and still small? Remember, Aspirin toxicity can be fatal in larger dosages, and death can strike at any time, without warning, so please take this information on board, and don’t forget to connect with your local veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns.