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Can I Give My Dog Aspirin?

dog looking up

No one likes to see their dog in pain. Sometimes a dog’s pain level may not seem like it warrants a visit to the vet. Popping a quick aspirin for us seems like no big deal, it can be a big deal for a dog.

Read on for expert advice from Dr. Parker, a Hello Ralphie online veterinarian.

Is Aspirin Safe for Dogs?

The short answer to whether dogs can take aspirin is yes, the long answer is: please do not give aspirin to your dog on your own. 

Veterinarians have pain medications specifically formulated for dogs that are much safer and more effective than aspirin. Some of those pain relievers are NSAIDs which are formulated and tested for dogs. Other types of pain medications are opiates and non-opiate types.

A drawback to administering aspirin is it can delay the time your dog must wait to start a dog-specific NSAID mentioned previously. That means if your dog experiences an emergency, a veterinarian will not be able to administer the proper pain medications to relieve your dog’s pain right away.

dog sitting next to owner who is on computer

Giving a Dog Aspirin Can Lead to Other Serious Issues

When aspirin is given with an NSAID it increases the chances of your dog developing gastric ulcers or bleeding which have their whole own set of painful complications. To prevent these stomach issues, veterinarians have what is called a “washout period.” A washout period is a period of time between when aspirin was given and when it is safe to administer the NSAID a veterinarian recommends.

Please note, it is never safe to administer aspirin to cats- it can be lethal.

It is important to always remember our pets are not fuzzy humans and that they have different ways they metabolize medication. It is always best to contact a vet if you think your dog or cat is in pain, instead of taking to your medicine cabinet.

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