Aspirin for Dogs – Top Things to Keep in Mind
Giving your puppy some aspirin for dogs for when she’s in pain can be a really easy decision…I mean, how can you stand her discomfort, right?
“What can I give my dog for her pain??” is probably all that’s going through your mind in situations like that. And that’s totally understandable.
But really when you think about it…It shouldn’t be so easy. Pain meds for dogs shouldn’t be handled without thinking things through very carefully. There are a number of things to consider there before you pop that pill in her mouth.
For one, using pain meds on dogs – especially over-the-counter meds like aspirin (Advil), ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc. – can be extremely dangerous – even fatal – to your pup. You need to be absolutely sure that the medication you’re giving is suitable for your dog, know the precise dosage that’s safe, and importantly, have your vet’s go-ahead that what you’re doing is ok.
In fact, medicating your puppy without proper instructions and/or supervision from your vet is a really bad and dangerous idea. And that goes for any kind of meds – be it a seemingly simple thing like aspirin for dogs or other pills.
Before we get into all that, however, it’s always good to know what it is you’re dealing with when it comes to medication…
Aspirin for Dogs – What Exactly is It?
Pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen come under a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs for short. There are a variety of medications, both for humans and animals that fall in this category.
NSAIDs essentially act on pain, inflammation, and fever in the body. They do this y inhibiting an enzyme called cyclooxygenase, which produces prostaglandins that cause those conditions. But the risk of taking NSAIDs also stems from this very same reason.
Prostaglandins also perform a number of other critical functions in the body, including:
Normal blood clotting
In the maintenance of the health of the protective mucus layer in the stomach
Maintaining adequate blood flow to the kidneys
So you can see how suppressing of prostaglandins would also affect these key functions within one’s body. That goes for your puppy, too, when you make her take aspirin or any other NSAIDs.
And that’s why the proper kind and dosage of NSAID is really important. Critically so in case, your puppy has any pre-existing medical conditions, which might cause some complicated and dangerous side-effects.
Basically, the risks you as an owner take when medicating your pup on your own without proper veterinary consultation are that:
- You might give your puppy a dangerously high dose of the NSAID
- If your pup suffers some pre-existing medical condition, which might even be unknown to you, it can make the condition worse.
- If your puppy is already being medicated for any other medical condition, the mixing of those medications with the NSAIDs could lead to dangerous complications.
- Your puppy’s breed might be particularly sensitive to the NSAID and susceptible to severe side-effects
When Your Pup Shouldn’t be Taking Aspirin for Dogs or Other NSAIDs
Particularly, dogs that have any of the following conditions should really not be taking NSAIDs without a proper veterinary consult:
- Any health condition which causes them to bleed easily – since NSAIDs are basically “blood thinners”
- Internal ulcers or bleeding issues
- Kidney Disease
- Pregnant or nursing dams
- Liver disease
- Von Willebrands’ Disease
- Vitamin K deficiency
- Young puppies
- Dogs who are taking corticosteroids, or any other medication
- Dogs who have recently had surgery or a serious injury
Possible Side Effects of Aspirin for Dogs
Side effects from aspirin are fairly common and can be benign in a lot of cases. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that you messed up your vet’s dosage.
However, it’s important to keep a sharp eye out for any of them when your pup is taking medication. You want to be prepared to act swiftly in case the vet is needed or you need to take her to the hospital.
The common side effects of taking aspirin or similar NSAIDs could be:
- A loss of appetite
- Lethargy or weakness
- Rapid breathing
- Vomiting, where the vomit may look like coffee grounds
- Severe diarrhea or black, tarry stools
- Abdominal pain or a distended belly
- Blood loss – including from the rectum
- Pale gums
- Dizziness, loss of balance or fainting
What You Should Do
As you can gather, administering NSAIDs to your pup at home isn’t all that simple. So don’t try to estimate doses on the fly or try over-the-counter pills for people or things of the sort.
If you and your pup are unfortunate enough, your pup’s pain may just increase from the complications instead of going away. So don’t risk it.
Instead, always speak with your vet whenever you feel like your puppy needs some medication. And especially if she’s suffering from pre-existing conditions and/or taking other medication. You may follow this guide on how to administer medication to your dog, if the need arises.
We hope this post helped you make informed choices for your puppy. If you have any comments or inputs of your own, do mention them in the section below.