Dog Arthritis & Treatment with Aspirin

By Doreen E. Fiorillo
Dogs, like people, are prone to arthritis, a common joint disease. Aspirin treatment helps relieve pain because of its anti-inflammatory qualities. Initial treatment starts with a small dosage of aspirin. The recommended dose is about 5 mg for every pound of your pet’s weight. It is recommended as the least aggressive treatment before trying other medications.

Types of Arthritis

Degenerative arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis, is a disease of the joints. Over time, a dog will progressively lose cartilage, feel an increase in pain and eventually may lose the use of his limbs. Older dogs are prone to arthritis, but some breeds, especially large canines, are candidates for a type of genetic hip joint disorder called hip dysplasia. Overweight dogs are also prone to the disease.

Inflammatory arthritis is the result of infection or an underlying illness that affects the immune system. Bacteria, fungal infections and diseases brought about by ticks and parasites are often the root cause of a systemic illness.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a genetic disease that has crippling effects and causes deformities.

Arthritis Symptoms

Dogs may limp, have difficulty climbing or jumping or cry when touched, if feeling the pain of arthritis. They may also walk slowly and have difficulty transitioning from a sleeping to a walking position.

Types of Aspirin

There are three types of aspirin: children’s aspirin, regular strength and buffered, which has a coating to protect the stomach lining. Buffered aspirin is recommended for your dog because it is coated with a substance that restricts the release of aspirin until it reaches the intestine. The stomach is then protected from upset.


Aspirin regulates the activity of the muscles and reduces pain. Check with your veterinarian before dosing your pet, since aspirin is known to have side effects.

Side Effects

Milder side effects, such as stomach irritation, are common with an aspirin regimen. A more severe complication can be stomach ulcers. If your dog vomits blood, immediately stop treatment and call your veterinarian.


Never give a puppy aspirin or substitute acetaminophen or ibuprofen for aspirin without consulting your veterinarian. Beware of aspirin toxicity from overdose or aspirin that has been improperly stored. Symptoms of toxicity can be life threatening, as in kidney failure.

Other symptoms include gastrointestinal and respiratory problems, nausea, tarry stools, abdominal pain and lethargy.
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