Can I Give My Dog Aspirin?

I used to wonder if I could give my dog aspirin or if it would be too dangerous, or at least would sicken him. As humans, we know that regular aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) which helps relieve our aches and pains. But did you know that it also works well for dogs to relieve their pain.

WHERE DOES IT HURT?     

Aspirin initially may seem like a good idea when a dog is in pain. But the more we learn about the physiology of our canine companions, the evidence is clear: dogs respond best to treatments created specifically for them.

Often, when hip dysplasia and arthritis are simultaneously present, especially as a dog ages, diminishing energy, mobility, and quality of life are pretty much what will happen. Winston’s Pain Formula and Winston’s Joint Formula may be helpful not only in treating pain, but also for addressing the underlying causes, such as cartilage erosion and joint inflammation.

Dogs are great communicators. They tell us so much about themselves by the posture and angle of their heads and bodies, their movements, their responses, and their vocalizing. But as bonded as we may feel to our canine companions, they cannot speak. And when they are in pain, they are unable to give us specific details. In fact, some breeds including Pit Bulls have been bred specifically not to show pain, in order to maintain dominance in challenge-matches with other dogs.

LOOK, LISTEN, AND PAY ATTENTION.

Aspirin is a common treatment practice among well-intentioned dog owners. For more than a century, we humans have used aspirin for everything from a headache to a fever, and aspirin is found in almost every medicine-cabinet.  It does indeed relieve pain, and also may be recommended to aging humans as a mild blood-thinner, presumed to support heart health and prevent heart attacks in mid-life and old age.

But this doesn’t mean that it’s right for your dog.

In fact, aspirin should never be given to puppies, under any circumstances. And most other medications for human beings are dangerous for our pets. Aspirin may be suitable in the short-term, depending upon the size and weight of your dog. As with human, aspirin can cause tummy-trouble, especially when taken on an empty stomach, and there may be other contraindications of aspirin for dogs. We are so accustomed to self-diagnosing and self-medicating that we may find ourselves doing the same for our pets. This can make your pet sick, and even endanger its life.

Before you attempt to treat or medicate your dog in any way, calmly assess the condition of your pet. Here are some signs that your dog may be ill, and may be experiencing pain:

WHEN YOUR DOG IS IN PAIN

LOSS OF ENERGY – If your dog suddenly becomes lethargic, chances are that something is wrong. Dogs are by nature complex, intelligent, social creatures who thrive on activity and interaction. Some breeds have been specifically bred for large muscles and high endurance (think Samoyeds, Huskies, Akidas, German Shepherds, Spaniels, Collies, Setters), generally for hunting and working with humans—they literally were not designed to spend the day on the couch. Every dog is different, and some are more high-energy than others. But if you observe a drop in energy in your animal, the reason may be that the animal is in pain, or is suffering in some way.

DO DOGS GET DEPRESSED? – The short answer is, yes. When dogs withdraw, seclude themselves, cut off relationships, lose interest in other dogs and in people, don’t seek contact and interaction, become unusually quiet, no longer take obvious pleasure in their usual doggy pleasures (park, ball, Frisbee, meals, leash, walks, rides in the car, chasing cats), it would be reasonable to say that the dog is experiencing a form of depression. In dogs, as in humans, pain or illness may cause this emotional shut-down.

CHANGES AT BOTH ENDS –By this, we mean loss of appetite, and changes in bowel and bladder habits. Some mild fluctuations are normal. All of us have days when we simply aren’t hungry, or when we have a bit of indigestion for no apparent reason. These minor shifts do not necessarily signal trouble. But if your dog stops eating, vomits frequently, begins defecating or urinating inside the house (especially if the dog has been successfully housebroken), has a tender or bloated tummy, or appears constipated when taking a “constitutional” walk, schedule a visit with your veterinarian immediately,

 CHANGES IN WALK, GAIT, POSTURE

These aspects of dog health often result in dog-owners using aspirin. Winston’s Pain Formula and Winston’s Joint Formula (www.dogshealth) may be a safer and more effective choices, since these all-natural products were created specifically for dogs experiencing discomfort and loss of mobility as the result of joint-degeneration in its various forms.

DANGER SIGNS OF DOG ARTHRITIS AND HIP DYSPLASIA:

  • Lowered back end – dog tries to shift its weight forward
  • Back legs pressed together – dog leans forward to minimize weight on its back legs
  • Front legs placed more wide-apart than usual – to distribute the weight-load
  • Muscular atrophy or “wasting” (thinning) of back legs – from lack of use
  • Dog has difficulty rising from a sleeping position
  • Movements seem stiff, cramped, not fluid and easy
  • Limping, and “bunny-hopping”, where dog’s back legs are held together and the dog hops, instead of moving with its normal gait
  • Hesitates to climb stairs or jump
  • Favors one leg
  • Whimpering and whining
  • Unexplained aggression, snapping, even biting
  • Refusal to run, fetch, go on walks
  • Repetitive licking of a painful joint-area (check for seemingly “bleached” fur at joint – enzymes in dog-saliva discolor the hair)
  • Cold, damp weather makes it worse—dog “complains” or seems especially lethargic during chilly, wet weather. This is because air-temperature and humidity do interact with soft tissue, joint and cartilage inflammation.

THE TROUBLE WITH ASPIRIN

If aspirin seems like a no-brainer to you, it’s because we take it for granted. This drug is so widely used that it is viewed both as a cure-all, and as harmless. It is actually neither, especially in regard to dogs.

WARNING: To responsible dog owners, many of the OTC painkillers in your medicine cabinet are very dangerous for your dog. Never reach for the acetaminophen or the ibuprofen when your dog is in pain: these common human palliatives are deadly for your dog!

Aspirin falls into the category of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), and for more than a hundred years, it’s been in common usage for aches and pains of all kinds. Aspirin is especially useful to humans for short-term, acute pain and fever, as well as the brief, sharp pain of occasional headaches (and even hang-overs!).

It may be a suitable treatment in the short-term when your dog is in pain. Appropriate use is low-dose, and not as an extended practice.  Under no circumstances however, should you give aspirin to dogs under the age of one year old. This is because puppies have not yet developed the enzymes in their bodies to effectively deal with the compounds in it.

For similar reasons, never give aspirin to a pregnant or nursing mother-dog. The compounds in the aspirin may cause fetal defects in unborn puppies, and may be toxic and damaging to nursing puppies when transmitted through the mother dog’s milk.

If your dog is a year old or older and is not pregnant, and is showing evidence of pain, especially the pain of inflammation associated with dog arthritis and hip dysplasia, follow this safety-guide for aspirin for dogs:

RULE OF THUMB: 5mg to 10 mg of aspirin per pound of an adult dog’s weight, given once every 12 hours

EXAMPLES:

  • 20 lb. dog : Dosage: 200 milligrams once every 12 hours
  • 75 lb. dog: Dosage: 750 milligrams once every 12 hours

Note: Two regular 325 mg aspirins which are typically sold in drugstores (equaling 650 mg) should be sufficient for dogs 75 lbs. and up.

As you may know from your own experience with aspirin, this common drug can irritate the lining of the stomach. In fact, in dogs, aspirin may result in ulcers which are indicated by blood-tinged vomit. In order to make the aspirin more appetizing (dogs often are put off by the synthetic smell and taste), wrap the pill in a bit of meat or doggie-treat.

Because aspirin can easily irritate the stomach, don’t give aspirin to a dog with ulcers or other digestive issues. Veterinarians also agree that aspirin for dogs is not recommended when the dog is taking steroids for allergies or immunosystem conditions.

 

The biggest issue with aspirin, however, is that it is not a viable long-term treatment. Although aspirin may be an effective pain-reliever in the short term, it does not arrest the development of arthritis, due to its negative effects on proteoglycan synthesis, needed for other normal bodily functions. In fact, strange though it may seem, long-term use of aspirin can lead to premature degeneration of the dog’s joints.

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW FOR YOUR DOG

  • When your dog is giving you the signs that it is in pain, schedule a visit with your veterinarian
  • Provide a padded bed for your dog. Sleeping on a hard surface creates muscle-contraction, which can make inflammation more painful. A gel-pad, which is literally a thin, firm, jelly mattress, offers excellent cushioning to ease the pain of sore joints.
  • Keep your dog active as well as comfortable, to prevent obesity. Becoming overweight makes every health problem worse, in canines and in humans.
  • Provide heat for your dog. It may seem counter-intuitive, but arthritis and hip dysplasia respond better to heat than to cold (cold-packs are best for bringing down the inflammation of an incision after surgery). Be careful when using heat on your dog. A hot water bottle in a snuggly fleece liner, or a heating pad set on the lowest setting, may be perfect for helping your dog relax and sleep.
  • If possible, offer your dog the opportunity to swim. Proper exercise is always good for a dog’s systemic health, and when weight-bearing exercise like walking and running are painful, the buoyant feeling of being in water may be both relaxing and energizing to your dog.
  • Remove obstacles, which stress your dog’s joints. Offer your dog a ramp to the front door, since taking the stairs puts strain on joints. And, try a doggie-ramp leading to your bed and couch, so that your dog can continue to bond with the family.

 Try massaging your dog. Be gentle and gradual. In some cases, slow, light, pressure actually helps to reduce neuro-muscular inflammation. Some experts theorize that massage works in these cases simply because the dog enjoys being touched by its human, and produces brain-chemicals which are natural pain-killers (endorphins) when it is touched in a loving manner. Massage in these cases is as effective or more effective than any drug.

If you’d like more information to help your dog’s joint, pain or mobility issues, check us out at www.dogshealth.com

You can also call us for discounts and more information at 888-901-5557.

 

Rimadyl For Arthritis in Dogs

What is Rimadyl? Rimadyl (generic name: carprofen), is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat the pain and inflammation of hip dysplasia and arthritis in dogs. Rimadyl provides 24-hour relief from these debilitating diseases by reducing a dog’s hormones that cause the pain and inflammation.

Rimadyl is available in three forms for easy administration of the drug: caplet, chewable or injection. Rimadyl chewable tablets taste like liver, which is tasty to most dogs, so the medication needs to be kept where the dog cannot gain access to it.

Cautions & overdose

Rimadyl overdose symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headache, drowsiness, stomach pain, seizures, or difficulty urinating.

Veterinarians prescribing Rimadyl warn that the drug should not be administered along with aspirin or any other NSAID. It also should not be used when a dog is taking steroids or corticosteroids like prednisone, prednisolone, or dexamethasone.

Rimadyl is not safe for a dog who has kidney or liver disease, or inflammatory bowel disease. A dog should be prescreened by a veterinarian for these diseases before the drug is prescribed.

A dog who is on Rimadyl for a prolonged time should also have its liver and kidney enzymes monitored on a regular basis.

Rimadyl Side-effects

There are side effects associated with Rimadyl. Some are common, and some are rare. Rimadyl has also been traced to the death of some dogs that have taken the medicine.

A dog owner whose pet is being given Rimadyl is advised to watch closely for any of the following symptoms:

  • loss of normal appetite
  • vomiting (sometime stained with blood)
  • diarrhea
  • black, tarry stool
  • unusual lethargy or drowsiness for extended times
  • hyperactivity
  • loss of balance, dizziness or weakness in legs
  • drastic or very unusual changes in eating habits
  • increased aggressive behavior
  • partial paralysis
  • seizures
  • jaundice

Any of these symptoms, especially several at the same time, can be an indication of a very serious problem. If these symptoms occur, stop administering Rimadyl and immediately contact your veterinarian.

Rimadyl Alternatives

If your dog is suffering from arthritis or hip dysplasia, there are safer alternatives to Rimadyl.

Supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin will work for some dogs, some of the time.

A much more effective treatment for arthritis and hip dysplasia is Winston’s Joint System, an all-natural formula developed by a Naturopathic Doctor to heal his own beloved dog. For over 20 years, this long-proven formula has been providing relief from the pain and stiffness of arthritis and hip dysplasia to all breeds and ages of dogs.

If your pet suffers from any of the following joint problems, I recommend that you try Winston’s Joint System to give your dog welcome relief from its pain:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Arthritis
  • Osteochondritis (OCD)
  • Stiffness/Inflammation
  • Ligament Tears
  • Growing Pains
  • Mobility Problems
  • Joint Pains
  • Back/Spinal Problems
  • Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD)

Rimadyl for arthritis in dogs can be dangerous to an animal’s health. It is much safer for your pet to be placed on a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System.

Within the first 30 days of treatment, dogs show noticeable and often remarkable improvement. And, unlike drugs such as Rimadyl, Winston’s is safe for any dog.

⇒ Read more about painkillers and the risks of giving Rimadyl for arthritis in dogs

 

Since 1990, Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula have helped heal over twenty thousand dogs from all over the world. Our staff specializes in hip dysplasia, arthritis and all joint, pain and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.

Veterinary Specialists

There are several types of veterinary specialists that often assist regular veterinarians in their practices. A general veterinarian is effective at treating most of the ailments and diseases of a pet dog, but there may be a time when a specialist needs to be called in to handle more serious conditions.

Specialist veterinarians are trained to handle specific treatments dealing with animals. These include surgery, anesthesiology, emergency care, nutrition, and dentistry.

Surgical Specialists
Surgical veterinary professionals specialize in animal surgical operations. They receive specialized training for an extensive variety of different surgical techniques that many veterinarians are not trained to undertake nor are qualified to perform.

Because surgery can be very stressful and dangerous for an animal, you’ll want to be sure your pet is in the hands of a trained surgical veterinary specialist.

Anesthesiologists
Just like in humans, anesthesia is used during animal surgery and occasionally during some diagnostic testing procedures. Most vets will use anesthesia for certain diagnostic tests but many use the skills of an anesthesiologist when a dog needs to undergo a surgical procedure.

The anesthesiologist is trained to handle cases of allergic reactions and the treatment of life-threatening situations related to the administration of anesthesia.

Emergency Care Specialists
Emergency care specialists are trained to handle any type of animal emergency medical condition including traumas, strokes, heart attacks, and emergency injuries. These specialists are trained to react rapidly to a pet’s needs and diagnose the situation quickly so treatment or life-saving measures can be undertaken.

Nutrition Specialists
Nutritional specialists are beneficial in prescribing the healthiest and most appropriate diet for a pet. Some dogs suffer from obesity and its related ailments and diseases. A nutritional specialist can assist you in putting your dog back on track to controlling its weight and improving its health.

Nutritional specialists are also useful when certain medical conditions like diabetes require a change in diet. For diabetes, a specialist will recommend a strict low-sugar diet to help your dog control its diabetes.

Dentistry Specialists
Because dental care is vital to the overall general health of an animal, dental veterinary specialists are concerned only with animal dentistry. Examining an animal’s teeth and cleaning them properly can be a difficult task for both an owner and a veterinary assistant. If your dog’s teeth or gums are in bad condition, it’s a good idea to have a trained dental specialist examine and treat the dog’s teeth, and mouth, to restore your pet to optimum health.

 

Vet Care For Older Dogs

Regular professional vet care for older dogs is essential to their health. Preventive veterinary care can add years to the life of your dog and help keep it happy and healthy for as long as possible.

Because many of our pets are living longer, the earlier the diagnosis of a disease can be made and treatment started, the better the outcome. Many animal clinics and hospitals have also developed special preventive care programs for older animals. Treatments can include combinations of various diagnostic tests including blood tests, urinalysis, x-rays, and EKGs. Your veterinarian can tell you which tests are pertinent for your dog.

Your dog’s life-long health is partially determined by the health of its father and mother on the day it was conceived. Vaccinations, nutrition, dental care, heartworm prevention, and other treatments your dog has received throughout its life have a direct impact on its current health. The healthier a dog is when young, the more likely it will stay healthy as it grows older.

Weight management and diet
Your dog should be weighed at every visit to your vet. Unusual weight gain which can lead to obesity is one of the most common and preventable diseases in older dogs. And an unexplained weight loss may be the first sign of a disease. Your vet can recommend which foods and supplements your dog should be fed based upon his weight, health, and breed. The digestive systems of older dogs do not handle sudden changes in diet very well. If your vet recommends an adjustment in diet, make any changes slowly over the course of a week or longer, gradually replacing the old diet with the new one your vet has recommended.

Medical and behavior history
One of the main ways your vet will use to determine if your dog has contracted a disease is through the use of an accurate medical history. For this reason it is important to monitor your dog and keep accurate records of any sign of disease and unusual changes in behavior . Your vet will ask questions such as ”When did this symptom first appear?”, ”Is it getting better or worse?”, and ”Is the dog demonstrating the symptom at all times or intermittently?”. These are questions that only you will be able to answer. If you are not sure whether certain behaviors or observations are indicative of a disease, be sure to mention them to your veterinarian.

Physical exam
Older dogs should receive regular physical exams. How often these exams should be scheduled depends upon the health of your dog. At the very least, your dog should have an annual physical. For some older dogs, two or more exams a year may be indicated. A physical exam should include an examination of the mouth, teeth, gums, tongue, and throat. A rectal exam is also an important part of a physical exam for an older dog. Your vet will examine the inner pelvic area, internal lymph nodes, the lining of the colon, and in the male dog, his prostate gland.

Ophthalmic exams
As dogs grow older, eye exams are also recommended. Older dogs are more at risk of developing cataracts, glaucoma, and ”dry eye,” a condition in which there is insufficient tear production. Ophthalmic exams will help identify these problems and may prevent permanent damage to the eye.

Vaccinations
Because the immune system of an older dog may not function as well as it did during the dog”s younger years, it’s important to keep your dog up-to-date on all vaccinations. Ask your vet which vaccines your dog should receive, and how often.

Urinalysis
Many veterinarians will recommend a urinalysis for older dogs. A urinalysis encompasses a series of tests which provide an abundance of information for the vet in determining a dog’s health. A urine sample is usually easy to obtain, and the test results are quickly available to the vet. If you notice any changes in the color, odor, or amount of your dog”s urine, or any difficulty urinating, it is important that a urinalysis be performed.

Blood count
There are many blood tests that can be performed on your pet. The specific tests needed will be recommended by your veterinarian. In addition, a chemistry panel may be run to evaluate the various chemicals, enzymes, proteins, hormones, waste products, and electrolytes in your dog’s blood. The chemistry panel is a valuable tool in identifying diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, and several hormonal diseases.

Thyroid testing
Thyroid testing may also be recommended by your veterinarian, based upon the results of the physical exam, the breed of your dog, and any signs of thyroid hormone deficiency or excess. Dogs who need to take thyroid medication will need to have their thyroid hormone levels checked at regular intervals.

X-Rays
If your dog has a history of heart, lung, kidney, liver, or gastrointestinal disease, x-rays may be recommended. As a dog grows older, it is helpful to have available an x-ray of the chest and abdomen taken at an earlier date while the dog was in prime health. If the dog later develops signs of disease, these ”normal” x-rays are valuable in providing a baseline by which to evaluate the x-rays taken after a disease process has started. In most cases, a dog who has or has had cancer will have x-rays taken, especially of the chest, to look for any spread of the disease.

Vet care for older dogs is far more important that it is for puppies or young adult dogs. Older dogs need regular veterinary care to prevent disease or diagnose it at its earliest stage. Many veterinarians have special programs to monitor dogs in their later years of life and can institute changes to keep your dog healthy and make his senior years a wonderful time of life.

Pet Emergencies That Require a Visit to the Vet

Pet emergencies often require a visit to the vet, especially any serious health problems where diagnostic help is available only from a veterinarian.

Since our four-legged friends are unable to tell us when they are in pain or when something is terribly wrong with them, it’s critical to their health and well-being that we watch out for warning signs that indicate our pet needs to be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible. If your dog displays any of these symptoms, immediately call your veterinarian and explain the problem. Your vet will decide whether your dog’s problem is serious and requires an immediate visit, or whether a later visit can be scheduled at an appropriate time

The following symptoms and signs indicate an emergency condition. You need to contact your veterinarian right away if your dog:

* Has suffered an injury to the eye;
* Has been in a fight with a cat or wild animal like a raccoon (your pet could contract rabies);
* Is bleeding heavily from a cut and you are unable to stop it;
* Has been hit by a moving car or truck (even if there are no visible injuries, your dog could be bleeding internally);
* Has visible puncture wounds to its chest or stomach area;
* Has broken a bone or has had a hard blow to the head;
* Has been bitten by a snake or poisonous spider;
* Has a fever over 105°F (normal is less than 102.5°F);
* Its abdomen appears large, or it continues to try to vomit but nothing comes up;
* Your dog has fallen or jumped from an open window higher than the first story;
* Has chewed an electrical cord and received a shock or burn;
* Has inhaled smoke from a fire and has trouble breathing;
* Has sudden, severe difficulty breathing;
* Is vomiting blood or has uncontrolled vomiting of liquids or food;
* Has bloody diarrhea or black, tarry stool;
* Has continued bleeding from the rectum;
* Suddenly cannot place any weight on one or more of its legs;
* Strains continually but is unable to urinate, or the urine has blood in it;
* Suddenly suffers from extreme lethargy, becomes unconsciousness, or lapses into a coma;
* Has seizures;
* Appears to be in severe or continuous pain;
* Cries while trying to urinate or when touched or picked up;
* Bleeds from the urinary or genital area;
* Has cloudy eyes, squints, or appears to be unable to see.

These are all symptoms indicative of a pet emergency that requires quick action and rational calm thinking on your part. Your faithful companion deserves the best loving care you can give it.