Pain Medication for Dogs

There are many pain medication for dogs that address pain on different levels but can cause hurtful side effects. Aspirin has been widely used for dogs and is proven effective.

Common Dog Medications

Aspirin, Ibuprofen and Tylenol are common painkillers for dogs. Aspirin and ibuprofen are both NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) that can bring some pain relief, but have other effects that come with it. Of the two, aspirin is widely recommended over ibuprofen because it is less stressful on the stomach. Rimadyl is also widely accepted by vets as an anti-inflammatory and pain killer, and in most cases works more efficiently than aspirin.

Many pet owners and vets stay away from Tylenol for dogs. Since it is a non-aspirin compound designed and manufactured for humans, it can be lethal for dogs. Other NSAIDs such as aspirin are preferred. However, puppies cannot fully digest aspirin, as they lack the enzymes to break it down.

Administering Pain Medication

Dosage depends on what medication you choose. For aspirin, a recommended dose of 5 to 10mg per pound every 12 hours will be effective without risking overdose (A toxic dose of aspirin exceeds 30mg per pound). When beginning treatment, start with small doses.

When choosing aspirin, make sure it is not coated with enteric coating. Your dog will digest only half of the pill and it will end up passing through the stool whole. Instead, choose a non-coated aspirin tablet and administer along with some food. This will minimize the damage to the stomach lining and maximize the effectiveness and amount absorbed.

When using pain medications, consider the symptoms and whether or not the medication is really treating the problem. An aspirin might temporarily relieve the swelling, but swelling might be the symptom of a larger disease that needs more specialized medicine.

Side Effects of Aspirin for Dogs

Like any drug, pain medications can cause side effects. Reaction will depend on size and weight of your dog. Some common side effects of aspirin for dogs are diarrhea, tiredness, depression, appetite loss and vomiting. Other more serious side effects involve kidney damage, ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding and liver problems.

Some NSAIDs such as ibuprofen irritate the stomach lining and are hard to digest. Prolonged use may cause permanent stomach lining damage.

Giving pain medication sparingly will help prevent long term side effects and also help the body respond more quickly to the drug.