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Lots of people take baby aspirin as part of a preventative health regimen.
Does such a strategy make sense for dogs too?
That’s a great question! Here’s what you should know:
Low-dose baby aspirin can help your dog with short-term pain, but it is not a safe heart health supplement.
Dogs Can Take Baby Aspirin For Temporary Pain
There are good reasons to avoid using it on a routine basis.
Despite being low-dose, baby aspirin sometimes causes complications including gastrointestinal tract bleeding — this can also occur in the brain.
Besides, dogs do not typically suffer from coronary artery diseases.
Baby Aspirin For Pain
You can give low-dose aspirin to reduce pain. This means baby aspirin is useful for when your buddy has bruises and/or swelling.
Do you have an older dog with pain as a result of arthritis?
OTC baby aspirin can help them through the day!
However, it’s a bad idea to provide this medication frequently. Other drugs should be considered when a dog has chronic or lingering pain (keep reading for a few recommendations).
Warning: For puppies, be super careful with baby aspirin. Their kidneys and livers are not fully matured, nor do they have the required enzymes to properly process the drug. Aspirin is also not safe for pregnant pups.
Regular vs Low Dose
These popular enteric pills (made by Bayer) are only 81 milligrams. This compares to what is normally a 325mg dose.
So you can see why baby aspirin is more conservative and relatively safer.
With that being said, this type of aspirin is not a statin for dogs.
Lifespan is a Factor
Again, canines don’t live nearly as long as people which means the heart typically isn’t a factor as they get older.
In other words, at least for dogs, baby aspirin is not needed to prolong life.
On the contrary, there are real risks associated with regular use!
Too much could eventually harm your pet’s cartilage. And there is also the previously mentioned bleeding concern.
3 Aspirin Alternatives
For a more sustainable treatment, instead of baby aspirin, it is worth looking into Carprofen as well as Tramadol.
There are also quality chewable pain tablets (designed specifically for dogs).
Whatever you decide, make it a priority to avoid potentially harmful medications.
Be sure to read up on NSAIDs in general.
Safe Dosing For Dogs
Still set on baby aspirin for pet pain?
Acceptable dosing is 1 baby aspirin (taken twice daily) for each 10 pounds of your dog’s body weight.
Break pills in half if necessary. For example, a 25 pound dog could be given 2.5 (or 2 ½) two times per day.
Speak with a professional before you do anything!
Other Relevant Drugs
It’s often the case that a pet dog will need to take a steroid for stubborn pain.
With that in mind, we asked Sara Redding Ochoa (DVM) her opinion regarding this topic. She told us the following:
“If your dog is taking a steroid do not give them aspirin as this can cause an ulceration and perforation of the GI tract.
Alternatively, you can give Pepcid if you are worried about GI side effects linked to baby aspirin. Pepcid AC will help protect the lining of the intestines.”
The Bottom Line
Dogs can take baby aspirin for short-term pain.
It’s true that the drug has a decent track record (though is not recommended for daily use).
Do not overly depend on baby aspirin. Get your dog a proper diagnosis, and perhaps an appropriate prescription, from a trusted veterinarian.