Over the Counter Pain Medication for Dogs

Pain medication for dogs doesn't need to be acquired by prescription from a vet. Some over-the-counter pain medications, intended for use in humans, can be safely administered to dogs. Read on to learn more about treating your dog's pain with over-the-counter medication.

Safe Over-the-Counter Pain Medication in Dogs

Some pain medications, like aspirin, are safe for use in dogs, if administered in the proper dosages. Others, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can cause liver damage in dogs and should not be administered. Speak to your vet prior to administering any over-the-counter pain medications to your dog. Your dog's particular medical condition may make the use of over-the-counter pain medications dangerous for him.

Deciding When to Treat Your Dog's Pain with Over-the-Counter Drugs

Aspirin can provide temporary or long-term relief of pain and inflammation for dogs suffering from injury, or from more chronic conditions like arthritis. While even over-the-counter drugs like aspirin can have side effects, prescription drugs for pain relief often have more serious side effects, especially when used in the long term. Over-the-counter drugs like aspirin can also be cheaper to administer.

If you and your vet agree that your dog's pain is mild to moderate, aspirin may well be sufficient to relief it. Dogs in the early stages of arthritis often benefit most from the use of aspirin as a pain medication, but dogs suffering from minor muscle injury, joint sprains or other similar conditions may also benefit from the pain relief aspirin can provide. Aspirin can allow you to manage your dog's pain and keep him comfortable, while delaying the need for prescription pain medications, and the onset of their often serious side effects.

Over-the-Counter Pain Medication for Dogs Dosages and Precautions

Aspirin can be safely administered to dogs in doses of five to ten milligrams per pound of body weight. Start your dog on the lowest dose, and, if it effectively relieves his pain symptoms, stick with that dose until such time as his pain worsens and he requires a higher dose. If the lowest dose doesn't relieve your dog's pain right away, continue raising the dose slightly until you reach a dose that can provide the pain relief he needs. Don't go over 10 mg per pound of body weight, however, since this could be dangerous; if 10 mg per pound isn't enough to relieve your dog's pain, then he will need a prescription-strength drug.

Always administer aspirin to your dog at mealtimes. Aspirin can give your dog a stomachache, and can even make him vomit. Giving the aspirin with food can prevent this unpleasant side effect.

Some dogs shouldn't use aspirin as a pain medication, including dogs who have just had surgery. Dogs who are experiencing excessive bleeding or bruising shouldn't take aspirin, either. Dogs with bleeding disorders will need another pain medication to manage their symptoms.

Side effects of aspirin in dogs can include:

  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • lowered appetite
  • stomach ulcers
  • damage to the liver and kidneys