Can I give my dog aspirin? Maybe

      12 Comments on Can I give my dog aspirin? Maybe

Bottle of AspirinCan I give my dog aspirin? That might be the first thing you ask yourself when she’s in pain. But, before you reach into the medicine cabinet and grab a “human” pain reliever, you must understand that what’s good for you might not be for your best friend.

What is aspirin?

Aspirin is an NSAID, a non steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug. Aspirin is in the same category as Ibuprofen, Naxproxen, Carprofen and other NSAIDS.

These treat pain, inflammation and fever. Aspirin, is an anti-coagulant and prevents blood from clotting. It also blocks your dog’s body from producing prostaglandins which are the source of pain and inflammation. In general, aspirin has fewer side effects than steroids. Still, its side effects can be serious or fatal for your dog.

Side effects and drawbacks of aspirin

As mentioned, aspirin keeps the body from producing prostaglandins. However, these play a major role in the health of your dog’s body, including maintaining adequate blood flow to the kidneys and producing a layer of mucus that protects the inner lining of the gastrointestinal tract from stomach acid and normal blood clotting.

When these functions are compromised, your dog can develop vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal problems, bleeding, kidney failure, liver failure and loss of appetite.

Keep in mind that even if a correct dose of aspirin is given, there are some dogs who are especially sensitive to it and may show side effects. You also must consider the risk of using aspirin in conjunction with other medications and in the presence of other health issues.

little dog getting medicationsAspirin should only be given with strict guidance from your veterinarian

Many factors are involved in the decision to give your dog aspirin so always make sure to talk with your veterinarian. Some important points to discuss are:

  • Age
  • Size
  • Underlying medical conditions
  • Other medications taken
  • Allergies

Once these items have been addressed, only then should you proceed with carefully monitored aspirin therapy. However, it may turn out that aspirin, even in small doses, is not appropriate for your dog.

Aspirin alternatives

Drug companies have developed specific pain medications for dogs that are safer and more effective than “human” medications such as aspirin. These include Gabapentin, Tramadol, Carpofen and Meloxicam.

Gabapentin treats pain from damaged nerves. It may cause sleepiness in your dog for the first few days but this usually goes away. Sometimes your vet will prescribe this along with other drugs.

Tramadol is a painkiller that works like mild opioid medications. Sometimes a vet will give this to aging dogs who experience discomfort. There are side effects such as upset stomach, vomiting and dizziness.

As mentioned above, Carpofen is an anti-inflammatory that belongs to the NSAID category. This is used by veterinarians for treating minor pain in dogs. They will commonly prescribe this for conditions like arthritis. Sometimes it is used for postoperative pain. Carpofen can cause mild side effects such as stomach upset and diarrhea. In severe cases, there may be bleeding,stomach ulcers, liver and urinary tract problems.

Meloxicam (Metacam) is another NSAID used for inflammation, stiffness and musculoskeletal system pain such as osteoarthritis. There are many side effects associated with this drug. These include tarry black stools, diarrhea, vomiting, ulcers, weight gain, appetite loss, weakness dizziness, loss of kidney function and skin irritation


As you can see, there are other pain relievers that may be more appropriate for your dog. Aspirin, and for that matter, all pain killers, should only be given under the strict guidance of your veterinarian.

We love comments so be sure to leave yours below.

12 comments on “Can I give my dog aspirin? Maybe

  1. Michel

    Interesting article and come to think of it, I have seen many people giving their dogs aspirin and thought nothing of it until today. 

    We have a fifteen year old staffie who has stiff back legs, so was wondering if a quarter aspirin may help, but now after reading this article I think I will ask my vet if we can try some Meloxicam on her rather. Pity about all the side effects though. 

    1. Christopher Mitchell Post author

      Hi Michel:

      It’s kind of amazing that there could be such severe side effects from something like aspirin. To we humans, it seems so useful and harmless!

  2. Paul

    Hi Christopher – thanks for your article.  We had this issue at home a few weeks back when our dog was running arond and knowed a shovel onto his front leg.  It wasn’t broken but obviously bruised and he was in pain.  It was a Sunday so no vet was open or around (we live in the courntry and know the vet – he was away).  We did call him and asked if we could crush up some paracetomol and give to him.  

    He was adamant that, in line with your post, that we should not give him panadol, asprin or any other human pain killer.  He git us to ice the wound and keep the dog still (yeah good luck) until he could see him on the Monday.  the ice did calm him down and we were able to nurse him through.

    Thaks again – this is priceless information for people who do not have access to a vet and are wondering.


    1. Christopher Mitchell Post author

      Hi Paul:

      Thanks for your comments.

      Yes, Many people are quick to reach for the aspirin and think that if they just give their pet a small dose it will help.

      But, like I said, even a small dose needs supervision by a veterinarian. I’m so glad you called them first!

  3. Fran

    Well, I learned something from you.  We’ve given baby aspirin at times to a dog with arthritis.  Fortunately, we’ve had no problems.  Asking the vet seems the best solution.  I was interested to notice meloxicam on your list of possible medications.  I take meloxicam every night for arthritis.  Interesting to know it might help a dog.  Thanks for the article!

    1. Christopher Mitchell Post author

      Hi Fran:

      Did the baby aspirin help your dog? That’s interesting that you take meloxicam for your arthritis. Thank you for your comments!

  4. Shy

    This is great information.  I would never just give my dog something for humans as I would not know the effect that it would have.  We would not want to make something worse while trying to help.  It is good that they have alternatives to aspirin for dogs.  It might be a good idea to have these on hand if you ever need them.  Always best to listen to the vet as they know what is best for your dog.

    1. Christopher Mitchell Post author

      Hi Shy:

      Thank you for your comments. Yes, it’s a good thing these alternatives are available. I think that too often people don’t understand that although dogs and humans have many things in common, they are also different.

  5. Bushra

    We should always consult our vet first when we feel that our dog is not well and needs medication. You can give aspirin to the dog but only when your veterinarian advises you to do that. Adverse reactions to aspirin are common in dogs so that’s why we need to be aware of the risks and the symptoms before giving your dog aspirin. Great article, thanks for sharing.

    1. Christopher Mitchell Post author

      Hi Bushra:

      Thank you for your comments. As you say, you must always involve your veterinarian when making these kinds of decisions.

  6. mark kabakov

    The article is necessary and informative. I will add a topic with comments about side effects. 

    General, side effects when using NSAIDs :

    • Lack of appetite• Vomiting and / or diarrhea• Flaccidity and depression.

    Serious. but less common side effects of NSAIDs :

    • Ulcers• Gastrointestinal bleeding or perforation• Liver and kidney damage.

    If your pet shows signs of any side effects, even minor, you should contact a specialist immediately.

    The topic is relevant for a huge number of readers and is fully disclosed. Thank. Mark

    1. Christopher Mitchell Post author

      Hi Mark:

      Great information. If someone gives aspirin to their dog, it’s very useful to know the side effects. Thank you for your contribution! 


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