Is aspirin safe for dogs? What are the alternatives to aspirin for dogs?

  • Aspirin is an over-the-counter or OTC medicine given to dogs that are suffering from osteoarthritis inflammation(1) and other health conditions.
  • The medicine is considered as ‘extra-label’ or ‘off-label’, and it is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration(2).
  • The side effects of aspirin use include gastrointestinal bleeding, nausea, vomiting, and decreased appetite. Severe bleeding can result in anemia or low blood protein in dogs(3). Aspirin poisoning in canines can also happen with incorrect dosing.
  • CBD oil offers therapeutic benefits that can alleviate pain and inflammation(4-5). However, as dogs metabolize drugs and supplements differently than people do, human data may not be the same in veterinary medicine.
  • Still, research studies show that CBD is safe for canines to consume, and they can also tolerate escalating doses of its oil formulations(6).

Natural Alternatives to Aspirin for Dogs

Best Overall

Spruce Dog CBD Oil 750mg

Dog-Friendly CBD Oil
Spruce Dog CBD Oil 750mg Bottle
  • Overall Clinical Score
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    Spruce’s dog-friendly CBD has been specially formulated for dogs. Instead of hemp seed oil for the carrier oil, the product contains coconut oil, which is generally easier on the digestion for dogs. The taste is also milder with no flavorings, making it more likely that dogs will eat it with their food.

    Using Spruce CBD for dogs is simple. All owners have to do is sprinkle the desired dose on the dog’s food at mealtime once or twice a day. Each dose should consist of about two to three drops per 20 pounds of dog weight.

    Pros
    Cons
    •  Same as human lab grade, full spectrum CBD oil
    •  Easier on Dog's digestion
    •  Made from 100% organic and natural ingredients
    •  No other flavors
  • Features
    Discount pricing available? 20% Off Coupon Code: CBDCLINICALS
    Source
    Source of Hemp
    Kentucky, USA & North Carolina, USA
    Form Oil
    Ingredients Full Spectrum Organic CBD Oil, Organic Coconut MCT Oil
    Type
    Type of CBD
    Full Spectrum
    Extraction
    Extraction Method
    Moonshine extraction method
    How to take it Squirt 2 to 3 drops per 20lbs. of dog weight on the dog food one to two times per day. Picky eaters may need it stirred in, or covered with some food Up to 25lbs./11kg – 2 drops one to two times per day on the dog food 25-50lbs./11-23kg – 4 drops one to two times per day on the dog food 50-75lbs./23-34kg – 6 drops one to two times per day on the dog food Over 75lbs./34kg – 8+ drops one to two times per day on the dog food
    Potency
    Potency - CBD Per Bottle
    750 mg per bottle
    Carrier Oil Organic Coconut MCT Oil
    Concentration
    CBD Concentration Per Serving
    25mg of CBD per dropper full (1ml)
    Drug Test Not applicable
    Flavours Natural
    Price Range $89 ($75.65 for subscriptions, 15% discount from regular price)
    $/mg CBD
    Price ($/mg)
    $0.11 ($0.10/mg with subscription)
    Shipping
    Shipping/Time to delivery
    2-4 business days (first class USPS)
    Lab Tests
    Lab Testing Transparency
    Third Party Lab Tested post formulation for safety and potency, available on website
    Contaminants Organic, Non-GMO, no pesticides, no herbicides, no solvents or chemical fertilizers, No preservatives or sweeteners
    Allergens Contains tree nuts (Coconut)
    Refund policy Within 30 days
    Recommended for All dog breeds
    Countries served USA only (all 50 states)
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Most Natural

HolistaPet Full Spectrum CBD Oil for Dogs & Cats

We believe that all pets also deserve only the best and the highest quality in healthy ingredients.
  • Overall Clinical Score
    99%
    Most Natural
  • Score breakdown
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    HolistaPet CBD Oil only use all-natural, non-GMO organic & vegan ingredients and never put any wheat, animal by-products, cornmeal, artificial flavors or colors in any of the products.

    Pros
    Cons
    •  100% natural
    •  Formulated specifically for Pets
    •  Organic Superfoods +CBD
    •  A little bit pricey compared to other brands
  • Features
    Discount pricing available? 20% Off Coupon Code: CBDCLINICALS
    Source
    Source of Hemp
    Colorado, USA
    Form Oil Tincture
    Ingredients Hempseed Oil and CBD Oil (Cannabidiol)
    Type
    Type of CBD
    Full Spectrum
    Extraction
    Extraction Method
    CO2 Extraction
    How to take it Easily drop directly into mouth or in water/food
    Potency
    Potency - CBD Per Bottle
    150mg - 3000mg
    Carrier Oil Hempseed Oil
    Concentration
    CBD Concentration Per Serving
    5mg - 50mg
    Drug Test Not Applicable
    Flavours None
    Price Range $25.95 – $144.95
    $/mg CBD
    Price ($/mg)
    $0.04 - $0.17
    Shipping
    Shipping/Time to delivery
    Free Economy Shipping - 1 to 5 days; Priority Mail Shipping - 2 to 3 days
    Lab Tests
    Lab Testing Transparency
    Third Party Lab Tested post formulation for safety and potency, available on website
    Contaminants Pesticide-free
    Allergens Non-dairy, Non GMO and gluten free
    Refund policy Within 30 days
    Recommended for All cats/dogs sizes and breeds
    Countries served USA only (all 50 states)
Check Latest Prices

Best Organic

NuLeaf Naturals Full Spectrum Hemp CBD Pet Oil

Perfectly formulated CBD for Dogs, Cats, and other four-legged animals
NuLeaf Naturals Full Spectrum Hemp CBD Pet Oil
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    99%
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    CBD for dogs, cats and other four-legged friends! Our product is concentrated to approximately 60mg cannabinoids per milliliter of oil. While this product is designed for pets, it’s great for humans, too.

    Pros
    Cons
    •  Pure CBD hemp
    •  All natural
    •  No other flavors
  • Features
    Discount pricing available? CBDCLINICALS20
    Source
    Source of Hemp
    Colorado, USA
    Form Oil Tincture
    Ingredients USDA Certified Organic Hemp Oil, Full Spectrum Hemp Extract
    Type
    Type of CBD
    Full Spectrum CBD
    Extraction
    Extraction Method
    CO2 Method
    How to take it 2-3 drops per 20lbs
    Potency
    Potency - CBD Per Bottle
    300mg - 900mg
    Carrier Oil Organic Hemp Oil
    Concentration
    CBD Concentration Per Serving
    60ml per dropper full (1ml)
    Drug Test Not applicable
    Flavours Natural
    Price Range $38.50 - $179.50
    $/mg CBD
    Price ($/mg)
    $0.12 - $0.19
    Shipping
    Shipping/Time to delivery
    2-3 Days via USPS
    Lab Tests
    Lab Testing Transparency
    Third Party Lab Tested post formulation for safety and potency, available on website
    Contaminants No additives or preservatives, Non-GMO, NO herbicides, pesticides, or chemical fertilizers
    Allergens Not specified
    Refund policy Within 30 days
    Recommended for All four-legged animals of any size and breed
    Countries served USA (all 50 states) and over 40 countries including Australia, Azerbaijan, Beliza, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Macao, Malaysia, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and many more.
Check Latest Prices

Best Range

cbdMD Pet CBD Oil Tincture for Dogs

Powerful CBD oil for your canine friends
cbdMD Pet CBD Oil Tincture for Dogs
  • Overall Clinical Score
    99%
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  • Summary

    With nothing but MCT oil combined with CBD oil sourced from U.S. hemp that is grown using organic farming methods, these CBD Oil Tinctures for Dogs can be added to their favorite foods while still providing the same effects that you enjoy. We have two flavors to choose from: Natural and Peanut Butter.

    Pros
    Cons
    •  Same CBD Oil benefits as for humans
    •  No THC Animal-specific products (dogs, cats, horses)
    •  Made from premium CBD from non-GMO USA hemp
    •  Low terpene and cannabinoid profile
  • Features
    Discount pricing available? 15% Off Coupon Code: cbdMD15
    Source
    Source of Hemp
    Kentucky, USA
    Form Oil Tincture
    Ingredients Cannabidiol (CBD) and MCT Oil (from palm kernel oil)
    Type
    Type of CBD
    Broad Spectrum
    Extraction
    Extraction Method
    CO2 extraction method
    How to take it Every dog is unique, so you need to experiment a bit to work out the optimum measurement. Start by giving your pet a small amount every day and watch for improvement. If need be, gradually increase.
    Potency
    Potency - CBD Per Bottle
    150 mg - 3000 mg
    Carrier Oil MCT Oil (from palm kernel oil)
    Concentration
    CBD Concentration Per Serving
    150 mg - 5 mg per dropper (1ml), 300 mg - 10 mg per dropper (1ml), 750 mg - 25 mg per dropper (1ml), 1500 mg - 50 mg per dropper (1ml), 3000 mg - 100 mg per dropper (1ml)
    Drug Test Not applicable
    Flavours Natural and Peanut Butter
    Price Range $19.99 - $149.99
    $/mg CBD
    Price ($/mg)
    $0.05 - $0.13
    Shipping
    Shipping/Time to delivery
    2-5 Business days (via Fedex)
    Lab Tests
    Lab Testing Transparency
    Third Party Lab Tested post formulation for safety and potency, available on website
    Contaminants 100% organic, non-GMO, and vegan-certified
    Allergens Vegan, Gluten free
    Refund policy Within 30 days
    Recommended for All dog breeds and sizes
    Countries served USA only (all 50 states)
Check Latest Prices

Best Value For Full Spectrum CBD

CBDistillery CBD Pet Tincture

Pets can enjoy the same full CBD benefits as humans.
CBDistillery CBD Pet Tincture
  • Overall Clinical Score
    99%
    Best Value For Full Spectrum CBD
  • Score breakdown
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  • Summary

    CBDistillery’s Full Spectrum CBD Oil Pet Tinctures were made with your pets in mind. Formulated with cold-pressed hemp seed oil, your pets can now enjoy all of the same benefits of CBD that you do.

    Pros
    Cons
    •  60-Day Satisfaction Guarantee
    •  Hemp seed oil is safe for pets and aids in easy digestion
    •  Oil extracted from aerial plant parts of US grown industrial hemp
    •  Sourced from non-GMO industrial hemp grown in the USA through natural farming practices
    •  Dropper is a bit shaky
  • Features
    Discount pricing available? Save an extra 15% sitewide with code CBDCLINICALS15
    Source
    Source of Hemp
    Colorado, USA
    Form Oil Tincture
    Ingredients Hemp Seed Oil, CO2 Hemp Extract (Aerial Parts)
    Type
    Type of CBD
    Oil Tincture
    Extraction
    Extraction Method
    CO2 extraction
    How to take it Shake well. Give suggested dose at each meal at least twice per day. Suggested serving by weight: Under 25 lbs: 0.5 mL (10mg), 25-75 lbs: 0.5 – 1mL (10-20mg), Over 75 lbs: 1 – 2mL (20-40mg)
    Potency
    Potency - CBD Per Bottle
    150mg - 600mg
    Carrier Oil Hemp Seed Oil
    Concentration
    CBD Concentration Per Serving
    5mg - 20mg per full serving (1ml)
    Drug Test Not applicable
    Flavours None
    Price Range $20 - $38
    $/mg CBD
    Price ($/mg)
    $0.06 - $0.13
    Shipping
    Shipping/Time to delivery
    Standard UPS Shipping ships up to 5 business days
    Lab Tests
    Lab Testing Transparency
    Third Party Lab Tested post formulation for safety and potency, available on website
    Contaminants Contaminant-free
    Allergens Allergen-free
    Refund policy Within 60 days
    Recommended for All dogs and cats breeds and sizes
    Countries served USA only (all 50 states)
Check Latest Prices

What is Aspirin?

Aspirin is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) veterinarians seldom prescribe to dogs that are suffering from musculoskeletal or osteoarthritis inflammation. It works as a fever-reducing, anti-clotting, and pain reliever medicine in pets(7)

Past studies showed aspirin as a potential treatment for dogs infected with heartworm (8-9). However, the latest accepted therapies for heartworm disease are indicated by the American Heartworm Society, and steroid is preferred over aspirin.

The use of aspirin on dogs and small animals is considered as ‘extra-label’ or ‘off-label’, which means that it is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)(10). Pet owners should consult their veterinarians first to know about the proper aspirin dosage and use of this medication.

Veterinarians recommend oral ingestion of the aspirin tablet together with the dog’s food as this leads to better absorption in canines(11).

Side Effects of Aspirin on Dogs

Despite the therapeutic properties of aspirin, it does come with serious side effects, especially when it is not taken according to the prescription.

The most common of these side effects are gastrointestinal like decreased appetite, nausea, irritation of the intestine, or vomiting. It is also possible for the digestive tract to bleed even when merely taking the approved low dose aspirin by a DVM.

Dog owners can tell the signs of gastrointestinal bleeding when their pets have tarry or black stools, blood in their vomit or blood in their feces. Severe cases of bleeding disorders can lead to low blood protein or even anemia(12)

The medication should cease to exist in a dog’s system after a few days. However, its effects can take longer to subside if a canine has liver damage or kidney disease.

Dog Aspirin Poisoning and Its Causes

Aspirin poisoning can happen when a dog overdoses in aspirin, either by accident or misuse. Poisoning can also occur if a pet is dosed frequently with the incorrect amount of the said drug.

Since aspirin treats inflammation by stopping specific enzyme processes in the body, it can also inhibit the enzymes used in controlling kidney and gastrointestinal functions.

The natural elimination of this medicine varies among species. For instance, it can take four times longer to remove aspirin in the body of dogs in comparison to human beings(13).

Certain conditions such as kidney damage, blood clotting disorders, having low blood proteins, and using other steroids or drug interactions can make dogs vulnerable to aspirin poisoning.

Alternatives to Aspirin for Dogs

A veterinarian has a good reason for prescribing a dog with a dose of aspirin from a medicine cabinet. However, there are alternatives to the drug that a vet may prescribe based on a dog’s health condition.

Carprofen for Dogs

An ideal long-term use alternative to aspirin for dogs is carprofen, which is also a common medicine in treating inflammation and pain. A study in 2007 on more than 800 dogs that had osteoarthritis joint pain proves that carprofen can effectively improve such conditions in canines(14)

Rimadyl, a popular brand name of carprofen, is considered as a much safer option for use in dogs. There are three forms of Rimadyl available: chewable tablets, caplets, and injectable.

Veterinarians usually prescribe carprofen as tablets and are then taken by mouth. The medication immediately takes effect in about one to two hours after intake, followed by notable improvements in clinical signs(15).

Potential but serious effects of carprofen to monitor for in dogs include diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Some dogs are sensitive to NSAIDs. Taking NSAIDs may worsen the condition of dogs with liver problems(16).

Owners should discontinue a dog’s pain medications and report to a veterinarian if their pets develop stomach ulcers. It is wise to do a blood test and check liver and kidney enzymes to rule out any liver side effects that could manifest with an upset stomach.

CBD Oil for Dogs

CBD oil presents a natural alternative in treating the same conditions that aspirin and carprofen are prescribed for in dogs.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a chemical compound from the hemp plant which is known for its numerous health benefits. Unlike marijuana, hemp contains high amounts of cannabidiol and very little tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the mind-altering active ingredient in Cannabis(17).

Several research studies show that CBD has great potential in being used as an analgesic via the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in treating chronic pain(18). The ECS, a recently discovered system that is present in nearly all life forms, contributes to vital biological processes in the body(19).

Since CBD can engage the ECS in a positive manner, it is possible for the compound to influence bodily functions that have to do with managing inflammation, pain, anxiety, immunity, and more(20). This same concept is what makes health experts believe that dogs, along with other animals, can use CBD for its therapeutic properties.

Kevin Boehnke, Ph.D., a research investigator from Michigan, states that although there are no published clinical trials yet on CBD for pain, ongoing preclinical studies have so far shown that it can reduce inflammation and work as a painkiller in animals(21).

In 2020, a study on twenty healthy dogs revealed that the canines could tolerate escalating doses of CBD oil formulations even when taken orally. Additionally, researchers also learned that the CBD-predominant oil was safer for the dogs to consume than the product that had more THC content(22).

There are still no FDA-approved products for dogs today, so it is imperative that owners talk with their veterinarian first before deciding to introduce CBD to their pets. A recommended dosage chart for dogs is also not available at this time.

The American Kennel Club mentions that although there is no scientific proof of harmful reactions from dogs consuming CBD, there are still possible side effects based on how the chemical affects humans. Dry mouth, drowsiness, and lowered blood flow pressure are some assumptions by experts on the adverse health effects of CBD on canines(23).

Conclusion

Osteoarthritis joint health or musculoskeletal inflammation is the common cause for veterinarians to prescribe adult or baby aspirin to a doggy. 

Despite this prevalence, the medication is not the safest choice since it can lead to poisoning in dogs that have kidney failure disorders, low blood proteins, or are using other steroids or NSAIDs.

Carprofen is seen as an ideal alternative to aspirin due to its ability to provide the same effect while being a more practical choice in improving health conditions in canines. However, the medication is not suited for dogs that are suffering from certain illnesses as it can cause them to worsen.

There are many other COX-2s on the market. Gabapentin and opioid medicines are also used for dogs.

There are dog health experts that may recommend the use of CBD oil, which can provide inflammation and pain relief by natural means. This chemical compound is said to have many therapeutic properties while also being safer for canines since they tolerate even escalating doses of its oil formulations.

Owners should not use over-the-counter (OTC) human medications such as naproxen, Advil, ibuprofen, meloxicam, or Tylenol on their dogs. Consulting a veterinarian before planning to use CBD for short-term pain management, or any other product for pets, is highly recommended to avoid complications. 


  1. Burke, A. (2016, November 16). Aspirin for Dogs: Benefits and Side Effects. Retrieved from: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/aspirin-for-dogs/.
  2. Cummings School (2017, February 1). Dear Doctor – Different vets with different views on aspirin?. Retrieved from: https://news.vet.tufts.edu/2017/02/tending-to-fatty-tumors-in-dogs/
  3. Gollakner, R. Aspirin. Retrieved from: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/aspirin.
  4. Russo EB. Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008;4(1):245‐259. doi:10.2147/tcrm.s1928
  5. Malcolm, K. (2019, October 30). Should You Take CBD for Pain? Retrieved from: https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/health-management/should-you-take-cbd-for-pain.
  6. Vaughn D, Kulpa J, Paulionis L. Preliminary Investigation of the Safety of Escalating Cannabinoid Doses in Healthy Dogs. Front Vet Sci. 2020;7:51. Published 2020 Feb 11. doi:10.3389/fvets.2020.00051
  7. Burke, A. op. cit.
  8. Rawlings CA, Keith JC Jr, Losonsky JM, McCall JM. An aspirin-prednisolone combination to modify postadulticide lung disease in heartworm-infected dogs. Am J Vet Res. 1984 Nov;45(11):2371-5.
  9. Boudreaux MK, Dillon AR, Ravis WR, Sartin EA, Spano JS. Effects of treatment with aspirin or aspirin/dipyridamole combination in heartworm-negative, heartworm-infected, and embolized heartworm-infected dogs. Am J Vet Res. 1991 Dec;52(12):1992-9.
  10. Cummings School. op. cit.
  11. Morton DJ, Knottenbelt DC. Pharmacokinetics of aspirin and its application in canine veterinary medicine. J S Afr Vet Assoc. 1989 Dec;60(4):191-4.
  12. Gollakner, R. op. cit.
  13. Gollakner, R. Aspirin Poisoning in Dogs. Retrieved from: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/aspirin-poisoning-in-dogs.
  14. Mansa S, Palmér E, Grøndahl C, Lønaas L, Nyman G. Long-term treatment with carprofen of 805 dogs with osteoarthritis. Vet Rec. 2007 Mar 31;160(13):427-30.
  15. Gollakner, Rania. Carprofen. Retrieved from: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/carprofen.
  16. Brooks, W. (2017, June 25). Carprofen (Rimadyl). Retrieved from: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951499.
  17. Hilderbrand RL. Hemp & Cannabidiol: What is a Medicine?. Mo Med. 2018;115(4):306‐309.
  18. Russo EB. op. cit.
  19. Silver RJ. The Endocannabinoid System of Animals. Animals (Basel). 2019;9(9):686. Published 2019 Sep 16. doi:10.3390/ani9090686
  20. Ibid.
  21. Malcolm, K. op. cit.
  22. Vaughn D. et al. op. cit.
  23. Kriss, R. (2019, October 27). CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know. Retrieved from: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/cbd-oil-dogs/.
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