OTC (Over the Counter) Pain Relief for Dogs

Pain relief for dogs doesn't have to come from medications prescribed by your vet. OTC medications, just like the ones you use to relieve your own pain, can be safely administered to dogs as well, but you need to be careful. Not all OTC pain relievers are safe for use in dogs, and, of course, the dosages for dogs will be much different from those recommended for humans.

Relieving Your Dog's Pain

Dogs might need pain relief for a number of reasons. Some dogs just need temporary pain relief, for instance during their recovery from a surgical or dental procedure. Your vet will probably prescribe some strong pain relievers to help manage your dog's pain during the initial recovery process. Your dog may continue to need mild pain relievers after these initial prescriptions run out.

Dogs with chronic pain conditions like arthritis can benefit the most from OTC pain relievers. These pain relievers can help manage your dog's mild to moderate chronic pain without the use of prescription drugs. Using OTC pain relievers to manage your dog's chronic pain can save you money and spare your dog some of the often serious side effects of prescription pain relievers.

Administering Aspirin to Your Dog

Aspirin, the common headache medicine and pain reliever, can be safely administered to dogs. Dogs can safely receive doses of 5 to 10 milligrams of aspirin per pound of body weight. Minimize the risk of side effects by starting your dog on the lowest dose of 5 milligrams per pound of body weight, and work your way up from there until your dog's pain symptoms seem adequately managed. Do not exceed 10 milligrams per pound of body weight.

Aspirin, like any other drug, can have side effects in dogs. These include stomach ulcers and bleeding. Dogs with bleeding or ulcers in the stomach may produce black, gritty vomit or black, tarry stool. If the bleeding is severe, stool and vomit may even be red in color. 

If you are administering aspirin to your dog and notice these side effects, stop giving aspirin and call the vet right away. Minimize the risk of these side effects by administering aspirin no more often than twice a day. If you think your dog might need to receive daily doses for longer than five consecutive days, talk to your vet first. Do not administer aspirin to a dog that has recently undergone surgery, has an open wound or suffers from bleeding problems, since aspirin thins the blood and can cause excessive bleeding.

Tylenol and Ibuprofen for Dogs

Tylenol and ibuprofen are both considered dangerous for use in dogs. Do not administer ibuprofen to your dog. Sometimes, vets may prescribe Tylenol for use as a pain reliever in dogs, but this carries risks. Tylenol can cause liver and kidney damage in dogs, and should not be administered without the supervision of a qualified vet.