Facts and Myths About Canine Aspirin Toxicity

Canine aspirin can be given to help alleviate pain and inflammation in dogs, but as with all drugs and medication, it must be given with caution. Some side effects are possible, especially with large doses or long-term administration. If your dog is experiencing pain, there are usually several options. Using aspirin may or may not be the best choice, depending upon several factors, and the misuse of this medication can be toxic or even fatal to your dog.


Before choosing canine aspirin as a solution to your dog's pain, it's important to have your pet properly examined. Many infections or diseases that cause pain and inflammation have specific treatment plans that vary in success rates. If a short-term or long-term dosage of aspirin is recommended, there are many different forms of this drug and important points to consider for each.

Canine Aspirin

There is a type of canine aspirin that is formulated in a way that works well for dogs, as long as the administration is under supervision and approached with caution. One form of this drug is called Ascriptin, but the brands Bayer and Bufferin are acceptable for use in dogs as well. If this type of aspirin is available to you, it will be the best choice when considering this method of treatment. Buffered aspirin is preferred over enteric-coated aspirin, as the coating does not often digest well, and this can significantly decrease the efficacy of the drug. When giving any type of aspirin to your dog, you must keep a close watch on his behavior and keep up with regular examinations, in case any problems arise.

Facts and Myths

There is some misinformation regarding the use of canine aspirin. The use of this drug can be safe and effective, but it can also produce some serious health problems and side effects. Following are some tips regarding aspirin for dogs:

  • Myth: Aspirin is an NSAID and therefore just as effective as more expensive prescription drugs, such as Rimadyl and Previcox.
  • Fact: NSAIDs have been reformulated over the years to offer much more effective treatment against pain and inflammation. Though more expensive, these drugs may provide a much better rate of success with fewer complicated side effects, due to new technology and research.
  • Myth: Buffered aspirin has minimal side effects for dogs.
  • Fact: Aspirin can cause stomach ulceration and bleeding, possibly due to an increase in stomach acidity and decrease in things like the stomach's protective layer and blood flow to the area. This is especially true in doses that are too high for the size of a particular dog. A state of toxicity can be reached at around 30mg per pound of dog.
  • Myth: Aspirin and other over-the-counter pain relief medications are basically the same.
  • Fact: Aspirin and other drugs, such as Tylenol or Advil, are very different in formulation. While aspirin can be effective when used properly, ibuprofen and acetaminophen have many more potential side effects. These medications should always be avoided for use in dogs.