Is Baby Aspirin Safe for Dogs?

No one likes to see their pet suffering or in pain and when your dog is in obvious pain, it can be tempting to reach for the medicine cabinet.

With vet visits being expensive and often inconvenient, reaching for an aspirin designed for children can be very tempting, especially if it’s the middle of the night.

In this article we are going to look at the use of over-the-counter medication designed for humans and whether or not it is safe to administer them to dogs and other animals.

Baby Aspirin for Dogs: Is it Safe?

The simple answer to this question is no. Baby aspirin is designed for babies, not for animals.

But, a quick look online and you can find charts telling you how much baby aspirin you should give to your dog depending on the size, age, and breed.

You really shouldn’t give medication that is designed for humans to your dog for aches and pains, but undeniably, there are times when nothing else is available.

Baby aspirin, when administered in small doses, should only be used as a solution when a vet’s visit is total out of the question, and only as a short-term solution.

If your dog is unwell for more than one day you should always visit your vet to have him or her checked out. So, let’s look at what is contained in aspirin and other over-the-counter medication, and why administering medication for humans to dogs can be dangerous.

The Different Types of Aspirin

You will find that there are two main groups of over-the-counter pain medicine.

The first of these are NSAIDs. NSAIDs are non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs; the other is acetaminophen. Unfortunately, neither of them is recommended for use with dogs.

NSAIDs

NSAIDs, or non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, are very common, over-the-counter aspirin falling into the category alongside ibuprofen, Motrin, naproxen, and Advil.

The average household will have at least one type of NSAID in its’ medicine cabinet.

They work by inhibiting COX enzymes (cyclooxygenase enzymes) COX enzymes produce lipids known as prostaglandins, creating pain and inflammation as a response to fever or injury.

This response is therefore inhibited by NSAIDs, the person, or in this case the pet, quickly becoming pain-free when they take a dose of aspirin or similar medication.

Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen is another type of over-the-counter medication that is very common, often been branded under the name Tylenol. Usually, in pill form, acetaminophen is also an ingredient in over-the-counter flu and cold medication. There is actually some uncertainty as regards to how acetaminophen stops pains, as unlike NSAIDs, the medication is not an anti-inflammatory. However, just like regular aspirins, you shouldn’t give this type of medication to your dog. Let’s take a look at why our furry friends should stay clear from medication that is meant only for human consumption.

The Dangers of Aspirin for Dogs

Aspirin and other types of NSAIDs, as well as acetaminophen, can sometimes be prescribed to canines for pain relief.

However, administering aspirin, even aspirin for babies to your dog, comes with risks. The danger here lies with the secondary effects of the medications.

There are three different ways that dogs can be harmed by painkillers like aspirin

  • The owner of the pet gives their dog aspirin that is designed for humans in order to provide pain relief. He has taken the weight of his animal as a guide, using the guide for humans.
  • So, if his dog weighs 10 KG, he administers the same amount of baby aspirin as you would to a 10KG baby. This is totally incorrect, and the amount of aspirin needed cannot be worked out in this way. The result of this is often that the dog is given a dose of aspirin that is far too high.
  • A dog finds its owners stash of medication such as aspirin or flu and cold remedy, managing to chew through the packets and ingest large quantities of the pain-relief medication. When this happens, you must not delay in taking your dog to the vet.
  • A dog may be prescribed pain medication by a vet in the correct dosage but experiences an adverse reaction to the medication as they are sensitive to NSAIDs

It should also be noted, that if your dog is already taking other medication, such as corticosteroids, the administration of NSAIDS becomes even riskier.

The same should be noted if your dog is suffering from underlying medical problems such as gastrointestinal problems or kidney disease.

Pain and Inflammation

There exists a link between inflammation and pain. In some diseases like arthritis, inflammation is found in both humans and animals.

This inflammation can be a result of the immune system malfunctioning which triggers an inflammatory response that causes pain when we move our joints.

This type of pain and inflammation is exactly the same in canine arthritis.

The diet our dogs have can play an important part in fighting inflammation in the same way that anti-inflammatory foods are important to humans.

There are some dog foods that are manufactured not just to optimize nutrition but also for their anti-inflammatory properties.

Wild Earth is a dog food that is packed full of superfoods with anti-inflammatory effects such as spinach, rosemary, cranberries, and blueberries.

When dogs, most especially senior dogs, with joint inflammation problems are fed superfoods like Wild Health, their mobility is seen to improve.

Many dog owners who are worried about joint health and inflammation in their pets are turning to plant-based superfoods as opposed to administering dangerous anti-inflammatory drugs.

How Will Baby Aspirin affects my Dog’s Body?

So, let’s take a look at what aspirin does to your pet’s body that makes it dangerous?

The answer to this question lies with prostaglandins. They do more to your dog’s body than just promote inflammation and pain.

The prostaglandins in your dog’s body have many other important functions, such as maintaining the layer of mucus that provides a lining for the gastrointestinal tract.

This ensures that stomach acid doesn’t eat away at the track, maintaining proper blood flow to the kidneys and making sure blood clots normally.

These normal functions start to fail when the normal production of prostaglandin is inhibited.

NSAIDs inhibit the normal production of prostaglandins, and in the long term, this can be associated with both dangerous side effects as well as NSAID poisoning.

When prostaglandin production is inhibited in a bid to relieve pain and inflammation, other essential functions are also stopped.

Side Effects of Aspirin for Dogs

There are many different side effects of baby aspirin for dogs, some being short-term and others long-term. When you give your dog aspirin, he/she may experience:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody, black, or tarry stools
  • Kidney damage, leading to kidney failure
  • Stomach Ulcers
  • Seizures
  • Liver damage or liver failure
  • Coma

Aspirin poisoning in dogs is extremely dangerous, and when not treated in time, it can prove fatal.

Damage from acetaminophen is very similar to the damage from NSAID poisoning and includes irreversible damage to your dogs’ kidneys and liver.

Acetaminophen poisoning also causes hemoglobin in the blood to convert to methemoglobin, hemoglobin carrying oxygen to the body’s cells.

Other symptoms of poisoning from acetaminophen include swelling of the face, limbs, and neck, respiratory problems, jaundice, and vomiting.

Giving Your Dog Baby Aspirin Safely

As we have discussed above, there are many dangers associated with the use of aspirin in dogs. Both NSAIDs and acetaminophen can be very dangerous for our canine companions.

However, when carried out under close supervision of your vet, and administered in the correct dose for your animal, aspirin can be used for short-term, effective pain relief.

Aspirin Prescribed by Your Veterinarian

Aspirin should never be used as a long-term solution for your pet, any prescription you being given by your vet being for short-term pain-management only.

The long-term side effects of taking pain medication for your dog have been discussed above, so if your vet prescribes aspirin for a long-term solution, you would be well within your right to question his judgment.

When aspirin is prescribed by a qualified vet for your animal, he will provide you with strict instructions on dosage as well as giving you only the exact number of pills that you will need.

You may be instructed by your vet to purchase baby aspirin for your animal, as this is a much lower dosage than normal aspirin.

Aspirin, even for babies, is an NSAID, so it still poses risks and side effects, and should only be used under strict supervision and for short periods of time.

Alternatives to Aspirin and Baby Aspirin for your Dog

On the majority of occasions, your dog will be prescribed pain relief that has been specifically manufactured for pets.

These types of medications are undoubtedly much safer than pain medication and aspirin that is designed for human adults and babies.

You may find your vet prescribes pain medication with brand names like meloxicam, carprofen, firocoxib, etodolac, or deracoxib. All of these medications are still NSAIDS and can have potentially harmful side effects for your pet.

The difference here is that these medications have been designed specifically for dogs and are much safer than human equivalents. If you are against administering your pet with any type of NSIAD you may like to consider:

  • Modifying your animal’s diet
  • Diet supplements that contain omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Other dietary supplements
  • Physical therapy
  • Regular exercise
  • Acupuncture
  • Cold laser therapy

Things to Keep in Mind when Giving a Dog Aspirin

As we have discussed above, there are risks associated with giving your dog NSAIDS, even if they are manufactured specifically for animals.

On some occasions, your vet may prescribe human aspirin for your pet, so it is easy to see where there confusion as regards to the safety of aspirin for dogs.

As a rule of thumb, never give your dog aspirin from your bathroom cabinet, no matter how desperate you are to provide pain relief.

Aspirin should only be given to your dog under strict instructions from your vet. Never give your dog any type of NSAID, acetaminophen, or any other kind of medication that is not manufactured for animals.

Aspirin should never, under any circumstances, be given to puppies.

Their systems simply can’t break it down. In the event that you have been prescribed aspirin for your adult canine, where possible, it should always be given with food.

Always be aware of the possible side effects of aspirin and monitor your pet closely. Below is a table that provides guidelines for the correct dosage of aspirin and baby aspirin for dogs.

Remember that the table below is only for reference, and you should always consult your vet before administering aspirin to your pet. Not only is aspirin dangerous for dogs.

It may also be completely the wrong medication for your animal. Aspirin for dogs should be given once or a maximum of twice a day.

 

 

Weight

 

 

Amount of Aspirin

 

 

Common Dog Breeds

 

 

Less than 5 lbs

 

 

25 to 50 mg or half a baby aspirin

 

 

Pomeranian, Chihuahua

 

 

5 to 10 lbs

 

 

50 to 100 mg or 1 baby aspirin

 

 

Miniature fox terrier, Boston terrier

 

 

10 to 20 lbs

 

 

100 to 200 mg or half an adult aspirin

 

 

Miniature poodle, West Highland Terrier

 

 

20 to 30 lbs

 

 

150 to 300 mg or half to one adult aspirin

 

 

Beagle, Border Collie

 

 

30 to 40 lbs

 

 

200 to 400 mg or one adult aspirin

 

 

Samoyed

 

 

40 to 50 lbs

 

 

250 to 500 mg or 1 to 1 and a half adult aspirins

 

 

Irish Setter

 

 

50 to 60 lbs

 

 

300 to 600 mg or 1 to 2 adult aspirins

 

 

Staffordshire Terrier, Golden Retriever

 

 

60 to 70 lbs

 

 

350 to 700 mg or 1 to 2 adult aspirins

 

 

Dalmatian

 

 

70 to 80 lbs

 

 

400 to 800 mg or 2 adult aspirins

 

 

Rottweiler

 

 

80 to 90 lbs

 

 

450 to 900 mg or 1 and a half to 2 and a half adult aspirins

 

 

German Shepherd

 

 

More than 90 lbs

 

 

500 to 1000 mg or 2 to 3 adult aspirin

 

 

Great Dane

 

 

 

 

 

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