Aspirin for Dogs

Dog owners frequently wonder if they can treat their dog’s aches and pains with aspirin. Human drugs often work differently on animals than on their masters. However, aspirin can be given to dogs. Certain rules should be followed in order to determine when your dog needs aspirin, when it’s safe and how much they should be given.

What To Treat

Dogs shouldn’t be given aspirin just because they seem to feel bad. The problem could be something as simple as an upset stomach. Treating the wrong symptoms can prove disastrous for your dog.

Dogs are most often given aspirin to treat arthritis. If you notice your dog having trouble jumping on furniture or getting into their beds, they more than likely have arthritis. This is most common in older dogs starting around ten years of age. However, dogs that have had any type of bone, muscle or joint injuries may develop arthritis at an earlier age.

If your dog has been injured, a veterinarian may prescribe aspirin to help treat the pain until the dog recovers. Watch your dog carefully for signs of pain. This can include trouble walking or moving, unusual whimpering or whining and cringing when you try to pet them. Note that depending on the injury, your dog may be skittish temporarily.

Visit your veterinarian before you treat your dog with aspirin. They will be able to diagnose the problem. Even if you’re certain you know what’s wrong with your dog, it’s in you and your dog’s best interests to double check.

How Much To Give

Aspirin is best given to dogs through their food. Either place an aspirin in wet food or crush the aspirin. Aspirins may also be given within treats. Aspirins can be given once or twice daily. Once again, consult your veterinarian for the best dosage for your dog.

Smaller dogs should start with only a half an aspirin each day. Large dogs can start with a whole aspirin. Coated aspirins are recommended to prevent some possible side effects.

If your dog is on any other medication, dosage instructions may vary greatly. Aspirin may react with other medications. Please consult your veterinarian before combining medications.

Possible Side Effects

As with any medication, side effects may occur. Dogs are extremely sensitive to the gastrointestinal side effects of aspirin. Aspirins are categorized as NSAIDs. Many humans suffer from the same side effects. In this case, your dog may actually suffer more pain. Pay close attention to your dog’s actions when you begin an aspirin regime Bleeding, additional pain, trouble digesting food, strange eating habits and ulcerations are all possible side effects. If you notice any of these, cease giving your dog aspirin.

Pregnant dogs should never be given aspirin. This can cause birth defects in the puppies. Also, there are several known drugs that react with aspirin when given to dogs. Furosemide, cortisones, Phenobarbital, digoxin and certain antibiotics are known to interact negatively with aspirin.


If for any reason your dog can’t take aspirin or you feel it’s unsafe, there are alternatives. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are available. These are known to help ease arthritis in dogs. These supplements are available at most pet stores in the form of dry food, wet food, treats, vitamins and gravy mixes.

Aspirin can be given to dogs to treat certain problems such as arthritis and pain from accidents. However, aspirin can be extremely dangerous. Use caution when treating your dog with aspirin and consult your veterinarian for the best dosage instructions.


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