A veterinarian holding a small white dog.

Just like humans, dogs can experience pain. In some cases, dogs with pain symptoms may need to start treatment with medication, such as aspirin. Though many veterinarians can prescribe aspirin to animals, it is not always safe or the best treatment option, so it’s important to always talk openly about potential risk factors before ever giving your dog an aspirin.

What is aspirin?

Aspirin is a pain reliever and a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) most frequently used by humans. Aspirin works to reduce pain and fevers.

Is aspirin safe for dogs?

In some cases, veterinarians may prescribe aspirin to dogs to treat the following:

  • Inflammation
  • Blood clotting
  • Fevers
  • Pain

You should NEVER administer aspirin to your pet without first consulting with a veterinarian. The FDA states that aspirin safety, absorption and dosing are different for dogs and cats, which is another reason why it’s so important to talk to a veterinarian first.

Aspirin may not be safe for all pets, including those who already take supplements, medication or other NSAIDs, as well as those with various health conditions. The list of possible interactions is long, so it is critical that you discuss risk factors with your veterinarian before administering aspirin to your furry friend. The FDA outlines the following as just some of the potential interactions that could occur:

  • A history of digestive issues
  • Previous surgery on the stomach or intestines
  • Any current medication(s) they take
  • Any problems or unhealthy factors in their blood (found via blood tests
  • Age

Please note this list is not exhaustive.

Dosage

Dosing will differ for all dogs, so it’s critical to ask their vet for the best dosing advice. Follow the veterinarian’s advice and dosing instructions and make sure to keep in communication with them, especially if your pet experiences side effects.

Side Effects

Dogs who consume aspirin may experience side effects. Just like in humans, if dogs take too much aspirin or take it in an unsafe way (i.e. in conjunction with certain other medications, etc.), they may experience internal bleeding. Be aware of the following side effects:

  • Bloody or black stool
  • Gastrointestinal issues, including vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Change in mood or behavior
  • Appetite changes

Always contact your pet’s veterinarian if you notice any side effects occurring.

Final Thoughts

Never administer aspirin to an animal without consulting with a veterinarian. Please keep in mind the following:

  • Contact your veterinarian if you suspect your pet is in pain
  • Follow up annually with your veterinarian for check-ups
  • Communicate with your veterinarian about your pet’s current and past health and any medication(s) they take, as their health history will impact their current treatment plan
  • Always inform your veterinarian of any side effects that occur with any medication, supplement, food and so forth to ensure your pet’s safety and health remain a priority

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute professional medical advice, nor can it replace the advice of a licensed professional.

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