In summary

Can dogs use Aspirin? What are the natural alternatives to Aspirin for dogs?

  • Aspirin is used to treat osteoarthritis, musculoskeletal inflammation, and pain in dogs, but it should only be used upon a veterinarian’s prescription as severe reactions to the drug are common(1). These include vomiting, diarrhea, mucosal erosion, ulceration, and black, tarry stool. Aspirin overdose could also be fatal.  
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved Aspirin for veterinary use(2)
  • Instead of Aspirin, some veterinarians recommend using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) developed for pets like Deracoxib (Deramaxx), Firocoxib (Previcox), and Meloxicam (Metacam)(3). The FDA has approved the use of these in dogs.  
  • There are natural alternatives that could alleviate the symptoms Aspirin helps treat. These natural remedies include Boswellia(4), Arnica(5), and CBD oil(6).
  • Among these alternative treatments, CBD oil helps relieve not just osteoarthritis(7), but other neuropathic, inflammatory, and oncologic pain conditions, too(8). It also helps prevent heart attacks(9)
  • Dog owners must consult with their veterinarian first before using CBD on their dogs.
The full article

What is Aspirin?

Aspirin is also known as acetylsalicylic acid. This anti-inflammatory drug is often used for pain and fever. Long-term, low-dose use of this medication also prevents heart attacks, blood clotting, and cancer because of its anticoagulant effect(10).

Can Aspirin be Used on Dogs?

Though Aspirin is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that has fewer side effects than steroids, it should only be used on dogs under a veterinarian’s prescription(11).

Veterinarians usually prescribe a dog Aspirin if it has osteoarthritis or musculoskeletal inflammation. Though Aspirin can alleviate a dog’s pain, it is not the top choice for pain relief in pets because there are better NSAID painkillers for long-term use, like Carprofen (Rimadyl)(12).

Other NSAIDs developed for pets include Deracoxib (Deramaxx), Firocoxib (Previcox), and Meloxicam (Metacam)(13).

Aspirin Dosage for Dogs

The recommended dosage of Aspirin for dogs is 10 to 40mg per kilogram of the dog’s body weight. Though Aspirin is an over-the-counter (OTC) drug, it is essential to note that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved its use on pets, so it is highly-advised that pet owners still consult with their veterinarian(14).

Aspirin tablets should be given to pets by combining the drug with their food. It should take effect within one to two hours upon intake(15).

For small dogs, baby Aspirin is the better choice because it has a lower dose (81mg) of Aspirin’s active ingredient, acetylsalicylic acid(16).

Side Effects of Aspirin on Dogs

Though human medications like Aspirin are available in most medicine cabinets, dog owners should administer the drug with caution because of its side effects(17) which include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Mucosal erosion
  • Ulceration
  • Black, tarry stool

More serious side effects that could be symptoms of an Aspirin overdose include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Acid-based abnormalities
  • Hemorrhage
  • Seizure
  • Coma
  • Death

Dogs that have kidney diseases should not be given Aspirin because it could make these pre-existing conditions worse(18).

Other medications that should only be given to dogs upon veterinary prescription include NSAIDs like Ibuprofen (Advil) and Naproxen (Aleve), as well as Acetaminophen (Tylenol)(19), as taking these may increase chances of the dog getting stomach ulcers(20). 

Natural Alternatives to Aspirin for Dogs

Because of these side effects, some pet owners deem natural pain relievers safer.

Boswellia and Dogs

Boswellia is a plant-based supplement that originates from Boswellia Serrata trees. It is known for its anti-rheumatic and anti-inflammatory properties(21).

A study conducted in 2004 revealed that Boswellia could help treat osteoarthritic diseases in canines(22).  

Arnica and Dogs

Arnica is a herbal remedy that treats muscle aches, spasms, pain, and bruising in pets. According to Dr. Carol Osborne, DVM, aside from relieving pain, arnica also aids in reducing associated swelling in dogs(23).

It can also be administered orally or applied as a diluted oil or cream. 

CBD Oil and Dogs

Another natural remedy that helps alleviate the symptoms that Aspirin treats in dogs is CBD (cannabidiol) oil, a non-psychoactive oil made from the cannabis plant that has many healing properties.

A study in 2018 that was conducted on dogs with osteoarthritis reveals that CBD oil reduced the pain in the test subjects. The researchers observed that after the dogs were administered with CBD oil, there was an increase in activity in the test subjects(24).

Another study in 2006 reveals that CBD helps in treating painful conditions like neuropathic, inflammatory, and oncologic pain(25). The study also found that CBD alleviates some symptoms of multiple sclerosis, like pain and spasticity. 

Aside from pain relief, low-dose Aspirin is also taken long-term to reduce heart attacks(26), as the drug helps dissolve blood clots in the heart. 

Similarly, in a 2007 study conducted on rats, researchers found that CBD can help treat myocardial ischemia, a restriction of blood flow and oxygen to the heart(27), and one of the causes of heart attack(28)

Even if the test subjects in the 2007 study were rats, it is suggested that all animals except insects have endocannabinoid systems (ECS) that work the same way(29). Hence, if CBD treatment is effective in rats, it is suggested to have a similar positive effect on dogs. 

The ECS is composed of endocannabinoids that regulate the body’s mood, pain receptors, appetite, and memory(30).

Veterinary use of CBD has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so there is no standard, proper dosage for dogs. It is recommended that dogs be given small doses of CBD initially. Upon monitoring the effects on their pets, dog owners can gradually increase the amount of CBD. 

There are various ways to administer CBD to dogs. CBD tinctures may be mixed with dog food, given orally, or applied to the dog during massages. It also comes in other forms like CBD hemp oil, creams, salve, or balms.

Pet owners should also be aware of CBD’s possible side effects on dogs like dry mouth, low blood pressure, and drowsiness(31). Before administering CBD to dogs, owners should inform their veterinarian first.

CBD and Aspirin

Though there are no known drug interactions between CBD and Aspirin, CBD may inhibit(32) the CYP 2C19 liver enzyme from metabolizing; this is also the enzyme that partially breaks down Aspirin.

CBD may prolong Aspirin’s effects on the body(33); hence, taking the two together is not recommended. 

Conclusion

Though some veterinarians prescribe Aspirin to treat osteoarthritis or musculoskeletal inflammation in dogs, the risks and side effects of Aspirin use outweigh its benefits on dogs. It is also not the top choice for pain relief in dogs.

Natural alternatives like CBD oil are more recommended and are suggested to be as effective in treating the symptoms Aspirin alleviates minus the severe side effects.

Before administering CBD to their pets, dog owners should consult with their veterinarian first.

When taken with Aspirin, CBD could prolong Aspirin’s effects on the body; hence, it is not recommended.


  1. Burke, Anna. “Aspirin for Dogs: Uses, Dosage, and Side Effects.” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 16 Nov. 2019, www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/aspirin-for-dogs/.
  2. Ibid. 
  3. Sharkey, Michele, et al. “What Veterinarians Should Tell Clients About Pain Control and Pets.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/resources-you/what-veterinarians-should-tell-clients-about-pain-control-and-their-pets.
  4. Reichling, J, et al. “Dietary Support with Boswellia Resin in Canine Inflammatory Joint and Spinal Disease.” Schweizer Archiv Fur Tierheilkunde, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2004, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14994484.
  5. Grieves, Deidre. “How to Build a Homeopathic and Herbal First Aid Kit for Pets.” PetMD, 6 May 2016, www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/how-build-homeopathic-and-herbal-first-aid-kit-pets.
  6. Boesch, Jordyn, et al. “Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs.” Frontiers, Frontiers, 23 July 2018, www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2018.00165/full.
  7. Ibid. 
  8. Manzanares, J, et al. “Role of the Cannabinoid System in Pain Control and Therapeutic Implications for the Management of Acute and Chronic Pain Episodes.” Current Neuropharmacology, Bentham Science Publishers Ltd., 4 July 2006, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2430692/.
  9. Durst, Ronen, et al. “Cannabidiol, a Nonpsychoactive Cannabis Constituent, Protects against Myocardial Ischemic Reperfusion Injury.” American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2007, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17890433/.
  10. “Aspirin.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Aspirin.
  11. Burke, A. (2019 Nov. 16). op. cit. 
  12. Ibid.
  13. Sharkey, M. op. Cit.
  14. Burke, A. (2019 Nov. 16). op. cit. 
  15. Gollakner, Rania. “Aspirin.” vca_corporate, vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/aspirin.
  16. Piñeda, Fabiana. “Can I Give My Dog Aspirin? A Guide to Aspirin for Dogs Dosage & More!” CertaPet, 6 Apr. 2020, www.certapet.com/aspirin-for-dogs/#Aspirin_vs_Baby_Aspirin_for_Dogs_Whats_the_Difference.
  17. Burke, A. (2019 Nov. 16). op. cit. 
  18. Brooks, Wendy. “Aspirin .” VIN, 1 Jan. 2001, veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951432.
  19. Coates, Jennifer. “What Can I Give My Dog for Pain Relief?” PetMD, 20 Feb. 2014, www.petmd.com/dog/centers/nutrition/evr_dg_pain-medication-for-dogs.
  20. Brooks, W. (2001 Jan. 1). op. cit. 
  21. Reichling, J. (2004 Feb.) op. cit.
  22. Ibid. 
  23. Grieves, D. (2016 May 6). op. cit. 
  24. Boesch, J. (2018 July 23). op. cit. 
  25. Manzanares, J. (2006 July 4). op. cit. 
  26. Komaroff, Anthony. “Does Aspirin Stop a Heart Attack?” Harvard Health, Jan. 2017, www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/does-aspirin-stop-a-heart-attack.
  27. Durst, R. (2007 Dec.). op. cit. 
  28. “Silent Ischemia.” Texas Heart Institute, 3 Feb. 2020, www.texasheart.org/heart-health/heart-information-center/topics/silent-ischemia/.
  29. Silver, Robert J. “The Endocannabinoid System of Animals.” Animals: an Open Access Journal from MDPI, MDPI, 16 Sept. 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770351/.
  30. Manzanares, J. (2006 July 4). op. cit. 
  31. Kriss, Randa. “CBD Oil For Dogs: What You Need To Know.” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 28 Oct. 2019, www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/cbd-oil-dogs/.
  32. Staiger, Brian. “Do Aspirin Or Zyrtec Interact With CBD Oil?” PharmacistAnswers, PharmacistAnswers, 17 Apr. 2018, www.pharmacistanswers.com/questions/do-aspirin-or-zyrtec-interact-with-cbd-cannabidiol.
  33. Ibid.
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