Can dogs be given aspirin?

April 13, 2012

Aspirin is a wonder drug… a miracle cure! How many times have you reached for a bottle when little critters would seem to be incessantly hammering your head? Aspirin is a reliable pain relief. But would aspirin be safe to a dog? Dogs too in one time or another are weighed down with pain. The dog may not have human’s headache caused by hangover but dogs certainly suffer from pain caused by injuries or pain due to a medical procedure. Dogs with inflamed joints because of arthritis are beleaguered with pain. Aspirin is not recommended for puppies as their system still don’t have the enzyme necessary to process this medication. The right dosage of aspirin though can be given to mature dogs as a temporary pain relief.

Aspirin is an over the counter drug. Giving this medication to the pet would not be that hard given that specially manufactured canine aspirin are liver of beef flavored. This medication is not FDA approved to be used as veterinary medication. In fact aspirin should not be given to cats without veterinary supervision as it is slowly metabolized and can cause the cat to expire. However, aspirin is commonly given to dogs. Aspirin reduces fever in dogs. This medication is given to dogs suffering from arthritic pains as it reduces swelling of the joints thereby providing the dog relief from pain. Dogs with hip dysplasia are given aspirin as well. Veterinary medicines must be given with the supervision of a veterinarian. Being an over the counter medicine it is a common practice of dog owners to give aspirin to the pet even without a vet’s close supervision. The usual dosage of aspirin is 5 to 15 mg per pound of body weight. This dosage is usually administered by mouth every 8 to 12 hours. Aspirin is a common medicine but the wrong dosage can have toxic effects on the dog. A 320 mg adult aspirin would have dangerous effects on a 10 pound dog. With regards to aspirin, less would be better than more.

Aspirin, as mentioned is a temporary relief for pain. Prolonged used would give rise to side effects. Arthritic dogs are constantly in pain. Yes, aspirin will give the dog relief from pain but this medication is not kind to the stomach of the dog. The medication can cause stomach upset, develop gastrointestinal disease or aggravate an existing gastrointestinal disease resulting to ulcers or holes in the stomach. Much worse prolonged use can result to liver and kidney failure. Aspirin must not be given to dogs under Prednisone and Prednisolone medication. Because aspirin slows down blood clotting, the treatment must be stopped one week before and one week after surgery.

The side effects can be minimized if aspirin is given with the food of the dog. Another option is to use buffered aspirin as the antacid in the formulation will reduce the effects of gastric acids. Enteric coated aspirin is said to pass through the stomach and will only be dissolved and absorbed in the intestines thereby reducing the irritation in the stomach. This idea however, is not supported by some vets as there are instances when the undissolved aspirin will be excreted with the stool. Aspirin will make a world of difference to the life of a dog in constant pain. A dog owner will certainly be pleased to see the pet acting its usual self. However, when the dog shuns food, when the dog is lethargic, weak and depressed, when it is passing black or bloodied stool, giving the dog aspirin must be stopped. These are signs of toxicity that can lead to the death of the dog.

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