Aspirin is a common pain reliever, fever reducer and anti-inflammatory medication derived from salicylic acid. The most common form of aspirin is a tablet. Buffered aspirin is coated with a substance, such as calcium carbonate, in order to neutralise acid and reduce stomach upset in the dog. Buffered aspirin is the recommended form of aspirin to use when treating a dog.
Although there are medications intended specifically for use in dogs, some human medications also can prove useful. Buffered aspirin intended for arthritis in humans also can be effective in pain management and as an anti-inflammatory for dogs.
The reason buffered aspirin is recommended is because the coating on the outside of the aspirin can reduce irritation while still providing the benefits of aspirin.
There are several different brand names of buffered aspirin, which share the same generic name of acetylsalicylic acid. Buffered aspirin intended for human consumption include Aftercare, Ascription, Arthricare, Bufferin and Palaprin. Some buffered aspirin products are intended specifically for use in dogs, such as Drs. Foster and Smith Buffered Canine Aspirin.
The recommended dosage of buffered aspirin for a dog is 5 to 15 milligrams per pound of body weight. You can give a smaller-than-recommended dose, but should not exceed this dosage. Administer buffered aspirin every eight to 12 hours as needed unless advised otherwise by a licensed veterinarian.
The most serious side effects of aspirin are stomach ulcer or kidney damage. The side effects of ulcers include vomiting, lack of appetite or blood in the stool. Kidney damage is typically indicated by an increase or a decrease in water consumption.
Other possible side effects of buffered aspirin in dogs are low protein levels from blood loss, anaemia and allergic reactions.
Do not administer buffered arthritis aspirin to dogs that may be hypersensitive or allergic to it, and only administer it on the recommendation of a veterinarian. Do not use any aspirin products that contain additional ingredients, such as acetaminophen, caffeine and codeine, as these can cause serious harm to dogs.
Because aspirin has blood-thinning capabilities, do not administer it to dogs with bleeding problems or stomach ulcers, or who will be undergoing surgery within one week of usage.
- Caroline Tanaka, DVM; Veterinarian; Austin, Texas
- "Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"; Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson and James M. Giffin; 2007