Written by Dr. Sam Parker, DVM
No one likes to see their beloved pup in pain. Whether it’s a slight limp or a sore paw, sometimes a dog’s pain level does not seem like it may warrant a visit to the veterinarian. However, while popping aspirin for us seems like no big deal, it is a big deal for your dog.
Dr. Parker, a vet from Hello Ralphie, takes us through the dos and don’ts of giving aspirin to your dog.
Giving a Dog Aspirin Can Delay Pain Management
The short answer to if 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 will delay the time your dog has to wait to start one of these dog-specific NSAIDs 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.
Giving a Dog Aspirin Can Cause 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 and can be lethal.
It is important to always remember our pets are not fuzzy humans and have different ways they metabolize medications. 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.