Ask Seth: "Is it safe to give my dog an aspirin a day?"

My extra large and somewhat overweight dogs are 11 and 8 years old.  Like older adults, I was wondering if giving dogs aspirin a day was safe for them, as well as healthy?

A daily low dose aspirin regimen in humans is usually prescribed for adults by a doctor to help prevent heart attacks, strokes, and to improve blood flow to the heart. Dogs do not develop the hardening of arteries like middle aged men and women do. Canines also metabolize fats differently than people; hence the reason there are very few documented cases of coronary artery disease in dogs. In the few cases that have been reported, there was also an underlying condition that lead to the disease; therefore, a daily aspirin would not be useful.

You can give a dog aspirin on a short term basis if recommended by your veterinarian. Aspirin is a NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) and can be given to relieve inflammation and pain. Please contact your veterinarian prior to starting aspirin. A buffered aspirin (Bufferin) is easier on the stomach than a regular aspirin and should always be given with food.  Continual use of aspirin can be dangerous for some animals. The risks include, but are not limited to: abdominal upset, ulcers, bloody stools, uncontrollable bleeding and intestinal bleeding. Your veterinarian has pain relief medications that are safer alternatives for your pet.

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