Use Pain Medication Carefully for Dogs

Human medications often work for dogs, but dose carefully with your veterinarian's help.

By | Posted: Mon Dec 27 00:00:00 PST 2004

Q. Our 4-year-old, 60-pound Labrador Retriever just underwent a root canal. Once his current pain medication runs out (six doses at two per day), are there doggie aspirin equivalents?  

Dr. Jon GellerA. There are several over-the-counter pain medications that work well in dogs, but dog owners must be very careful in giving them, because some can be toxic and even fatal. Here are some guidelines:

  • Never give ibuprofen.  If your dog ever gets ibuprofen by accident, take him or her immediately to your vet or an emergency clinic.
  • Aspirin can be given at a dose of up to 10 mg. per pound twice a day, but should only be given for 3 to 5 days. Aspirin can be hard on dogs' stomachs, and in some dogs will cause stomach ulcers and bleeding. Signs of stomach bleeding include vomit that looks like coffee grounds and stool that is a black color from digested blood. If you see either of these signs, discontinue aspirin immediately and seek medical help for your dog. Aspirin can also cause bleeding due a decrease in clotting ability of the blood, but this is usually associated with longer term treatment. Coated aspirin, such as Ascriptin, may be easier on your dog's stomach, so start with it. Never go over the 10 mg. per pound dose, and remember not to use it more than 3 to 5 days. For a 60-pound dog, I would recommend no more than one extra-strength aspirin (500 mg.) twice a day.

  • Tylenol has been effective in some dogs (but it is fatal to cats). The maximum dose is 5 mg. per pound, three times a day. Pediatric liquid formulations can be used in smaller dogs, but must be dosed carefully. There is the potential for side effects including kidney and liver damage, so I would limit its use to a few doses.

In cases of more severe pain, your veterinarian might be able to
prescribe a medication such as Tylenol 3 or Tylenol 4, where Tylenol is combined with codeine to provide powerful pain relief. This type of prescription can be filled at any human pharmacy.

Once again, use over-the-counter medications with caution in dogs, and try to minimize the number of doses given.

Jon Geller, DVM

                             - Get More Advice From Dr. Geller -


4 of 34 Comments View All 34 Comments

Give us your opinion Give us your opinion on Use Pain Medication Carefully for Dogs

User Avatar

Veronica   Waco, Texas

5/24/2016 5:08:44 PM

I have a 6lb terrier mix Yorkie who has fever . What can I give him ? Pls help

User Avatar

William   Fresno, California

10/24/2015 7:32:24 PM

My 13 lb. Dachshund seems to have sprained her left front leg. She will squeal at times if I pick her up or she walks crooked on it. Is there any medication I can give her for the pain?

User Avatar

Denise   Point pleasant, New Jersey

8/9/2014 12:48:34 PM

My dog was just I fight with another took her to the vet they said they gave her pain medicine injection and antibiotics when they brought her out to me I said she isn't right and then just fell over...she would not stand had a blank look and did not responde to me,they told me it looks like she is having a seizure something she never had before. She is a six year old boston and is so healthy. They told me she might be in shock from the trauma, but it was twos hours before I brought her in to the vet. Could this be from the pain medicine or antibiotic ? They said they are going to keep her over night to watch her, I'm scared to leave her there.

User Avatar

shannon   ft.thomas, Kentucky

5/28/2013 8:39:57 PM

Our German Shepard has a foot that was stepped on by accident when he was little and he is now 8months old. We really can't afford a vet but is there something we can give him for pain because he is limping and I know it hurts him. Thanks

Login to get points for commenting or write your comment below

First Name : Email :
International :
City : State :

Captcha Image

Get New Captcha

Top Products