What OTC Pain Medicine Can You Give Dogs?

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Aspirin may cause an upset stomach in dogs.

Most over the counter (OTC) pain medicine made for humans is poisonous for dogs. The only one that has been known to help dogs is aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid). A vet should be contacted first before giving aspirin to a dog.


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Aspirin comes in many types. According to Mike Richards, DVM, enteric-coated aspirin should not be given to dogs because they cannot digest the coating.


"Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook" (Debra M. Eldredge, DVM, et al.; 2007) recommends an aspirin dosage of 4 to 10 milligrams for every pound the dog weighs, given once or twice a day.



"The Pill Book Guide to Medication for Your Dog and Cat" (Kate A.W. Roby, VMD, et al.; 1998) recommends giving food with OTC aspirin to dogs because dogs taking it on an empty stomach often vomit it right back up.


Aspirin can cause a dog's blood to thin. Dogs undergoing surgery in one week or less should never be given aspirin.



Other OTC pain medicines like ibuprofen, naxoproxen or acetaminophen can kill a dog. If a dog eats these OTC drugs, contact a vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.