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📷 by James Yarema

The essentials

  • Don’t give your dog aspirin — Aspirin isn’t recommended by vets to manage pain in dogs because it can be toxic.
  • Monitor your dog — If your dog has taken aspirin, monitor for signs of aspirin toxicity and call your vet if you notice any symptoms.
  • Consult your vet — Ask your vet about safe ways to help your pup if they’re in pain. They may recommend another NSAID or natural pain remedy.

While aspirin can be prescribed to dogs, it should only be done so by a vet. Even if you might be tempted to reach into the medicine cabinet for some aspirin to soothe your dog’s pain, leave it to the professionals.

🚨 Aspirin and other medications classified as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be toxic in many situations regardless of how small the dose is.

What is aspirin and what’s it used for? 

Aspirin is an NSAID. It’s in the same class of drugs as things like naproxen (Aleve) and ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin)  used by people for temporary relief of pain and for reduction of fever.

The use of aspirin as a pain reliever for your dog can have benefits when done properly and with vet supervision. It can alleviate pain and inflammation in the body, making it easier for your pooch to walk, play, or eat depending on their condition. 

However, aspirin is lethal to some dogs because of how it works. As temporary pain relief, aspirin blocks inflammatory and non-inflammatory chemical processes in a dog’s body. This medication doesn’t have the capability of inhibiting only the inflammatory chemical processes.

By not being selective, aspirin can have a negative impact on your dog’s gastrointestinal system, kidney, liver, and ability to form blood clots.

What are the signs of aspirin poisoning in dogs?

You’ll want to monitor for negative side effects of aspirin and signs of aspirin poisoning if your pup accidentally consumed or was given it. These include the following symptoms:

Stop administration and immediately consult with a vet if you notice any of these symptoms.

Dog owners may be surprised to learn that aspirin is also found in other products including acne medication and analgesics (topical pain relievers) like Icy-hot and Bengay. This is why you need to keep your medicines (both oral and topical) locked in a cabinet to keep away from your dog.

If you suspect your dog has eaten aspirin

If your dog has eaten aspirin or is experiencing an aspirin overdose, you need to act quickly because aspirin poisoning can cause permanent liver damage, kidney failure, or nervous system dysfunction.

🚨 If you can’t get a hold of your vet’s office, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

Alternatives to aspirin for dogs

Veterinarians are no longer recommending aspirin for dogs due to the severe side effects that this pain medication can cause. Instead, opt for one of these alternatives:

  • NSAIDS. There are much safer anti-inflammatories like Carprofen, Meloxicam, Previcox, Dermaxx, or Galliprant.
  • Therapy. Some forms of therapy can help to soothe the pain of an injury or condition like massage therapy , laser therapy , chiropractic therapy , physical therapy, or water therapy .
  • Supplements. Sometimes, added nutrients and acids can help alleviate pain like Arnica, CBD oil, joint supplements, and omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
  • Prescription medication. Depending on the severity, your vet may give your pup a prescription for meds like gabapentin, amantadine, tramadol or buprenorphine.

👉 Consult with your vet before giving your dog any herbal supplements and never mix different NSAIDs or steroids.

Owners, if your pup’s in pain, communicate with your vet and let them know of any symptoms or changes in behavior. We understand wanting to help your canine companion as soon as possible but together with your vet, you can create a treatment plan that safely addresses your pet’s needs.

Frequently asked questions

How much aspirin can you give a dog?

Dosages prescribed by vets depend on multiple factors. What condition are you treating? What size is your dog? Puppies and cats should be monitored extremely closely if given aspirin and pregnant animals should only receive it as a last resort. With all the variations and possibilities, it’s best to leave treatment plans to the professionals.

What will human aspirin do to a dog?

While canine aspirin is an option, humans should never give dogs the aspirin from their medicine cabinet even if it’s a low-dose aspirin as this can cause serious side effects. 

It can cause potential gastric irritation, a risk of gastrointestinal upset, general discomfort or worse like internal bleeding, seizures, and permanent liver damage.

What can I give my dog for pain relief?

If you think that your dog is in pain, consult with a veterinarian. Depending on their diagnosis, and where the pain is coming from, they may recommend doggy aspirin or other treatments like supplements, therapy, and even other types of prescription medications to help ease their pain. 

Can I give my dog aspirin or Tylenol?

Not if it’s from your own cabinet. Instead, work with your vet on a safe use, chronic pain treatment plan to avoid any adverse reactions, risks, or possible side effects. This can include supplements (they have liver-flavored ones that dogs love), therapy, and, if prescribed, dog-specific chewable aspirin tablets. 

Should I give my dog baby aspirin?

Baby aspirin is also not suitable for dogs, so treat this the same as regular adult aspirin and clear it with your vet before giving it to your pup.

Can my dog have other over-the-counter medicines?

When used properly, some over-the-counter medicines are safe for dogs, like Benadryl, which can be used to reduce your dog’s allergy symptoms. These come in chewable tablet or pill form and are fast-acting. Use caution and follow your vet’s instructions.

Does my dog have an aspirin allergy?

Allergic reactions in dogs have varying symptoms and those symptoms can present over the span of minutes, hours, or even days. Itchy skin, coughing, fur loss, and even anaphylaxis are all signs that your dog has consumed, been bitten by, or been exposed to an allergen. Seek veterinary treatment immediately.