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.

Best,
Jon Geller, DVM

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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 skcheerbird1@yahoo.com

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Wayne   Elba, Alabama

12/23/2012 2:08:35 PM

Outside temp dropped into the high 20's to mid 30's and my chihuahua was immediatedly affected. She cannot jump into my recliner or climb doorsteps without assistance. She does not limp, just seems to be unable to use her hind legs enough. Any help would be appreciated. I'm taking her to the vet the day after Christmas but feel sympathy for her pain right now.

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landon   colorado, Armed Forces

11/26/2012 3:01:48 PM

yes tylenol can be fatal to dogs so i just got some valum online from here and i give it to my do the vet said it is fine what do you think http://www.adelphiepharmaceuticals.com/

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Gretchen   Montclair, New Jersey

11/17/2012 3:45:16 AM

Well. A vet that would mutilate your puppy for cosmetic reasons probably isn't the most stellar example of a competant nor compassionate practioner in his field anyway, is he. Vets who refuse to do unnecesary surgeries. If he's cutting your puppy's ears off for money, I doubt he cares that the dog's in pain.

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