Aspirin for Dogs

Aspirin for dogs can be used in low doses as a pain killer and to reduce swelling. The medication is particularly effective in cases of joint and muscular pain. An alternative to aspirin would be steroids, but aspirin has the advantage of not having as many side effects.

Aspirin Usage

Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that also has analgesic effects, and can be used for several purposes in canines:

  • Joint inflammation
  • Arthritis
  • Tendonitis
  • Muscular pain
  • Fever


Aspirin should be given only in low doses to dogs, otherwise it can be toxic. A dog needs approximately 5 to 10 mg per pound of body weight, once every 12 hours. Always consult your vet prior to administering aspirin to your pet.

When giving your dog aspirin, make sure you give it after he has eaten, to avoid stomach problems or ulcers. Dogs often reject aspirin due to the unusual taste, so you may have to hide the tablet in chunks of food or inside a treat.


It's recommended that aspirin not be administered in conjunction with steroids. For instance, if your dog has allergies and gets corticosteroids, he shouldn’t get aspirin for arthritis. Aspirin also shouldn’t be administered to dogs with ulcers or stomach lining problems.

Side Effects

A lengthy administration of aspirin can cause ulcers, gastrointestinal problems, diarrhea, vomiting, delayed blood clotting and possibly kidney and liver issues.

The dog may also lack appetite. If the side effects are upsetting, discontinue it immediately and see a vet.

Which Aspirin is Best for Dogs?

Aspirin can come with an enteric coating or buffered. The buffered aspirin is recommended for dogs, because aspirin with enteric coating can't be properly assimilated, and can cause poisoning or liver damage.

Aspirin Poisoning Symptoms

Poisoning can result from an overdose of aspirin. Beware of symptoms such as:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Blood in the vomit
  • Restlessness
  • Lethargy
  • Black stools or diarrhea
  • Pale gums
  • Bleeding

If these symptoms are present, try to make your dog vomit. Put a few drops of 3% hydroxide peroxide in your dog’s water bowl and make sure he drinks the water. Alternatively, you can give your dog the water using a syringe. Aspirin takes longer to be absorbed in the system, so vomiting it out can prevent poisoning.

Take your dog to the vet immediately. The vet will administer an antidote or activated charcoal that will absorb the poisonous substances from the dog's stomach.

Aspirin should be used only as a short-term solution for pain and inflammation relief, due to the possible health problems that it can cause. Talk to your vet about long term solutions that cause fewer side effects.

Other pain relievers that are used for humans, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, are toxic for dogs. Only aspirin can be administered to dogs in low doses.

Aspirin is toxic for cats.