What Can I Give My Dog for Pain? OTC Pain Medications for Dogs [2022 ] (2023)

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What Can I Give My Dog for Pain? OTC Pain Medications for Dogs [2022 ] (1)

The last time my pet was in pain, I was ready to call the pet-ambulance and spend all of my savings to make them feel better.

As pet parents, we tend to act a little bit too hastily when we worry about our pets being injured, sick, or in pain.

If you notice that your dog is suffering, the crazy pet mama bear in you might want to give them all of your over-the-counter (OTC) medications to help their ailments.

After all, what else can you do?

I can assure you that you should take a step back and decide if those medications are the right choice when you realize that your pup is in pain!

Are ‘over-the-counter’ medications even safe for dogs? What can I give my dog for pain? Which medicines should I avoid? All of these questions will come pouring into your mind.

Let’s take a look at some of the more common OTC medications, and whether they might be useful to give your pup some pain relief.

(Video) 5 Best Pain Relief Meds For Dogs in 2022

This article should serve as an overview of OTC medications for dogs, but it should not be a substitute for the diagnosis and advice of a veterinarian. If you think your dog is sick or injured contact your vet immediately.

Contents & Quick Navigation

  • Can You Give a Dog Aspirin?
    • Types of Aspirin
  • Can You Give aDog Ibuprofen?
  • Can You Give aDog Tylenol?
  • Other OTC Medications that are Safe for Dogs
  • The Best Pain Medications for Dogs
    • A Note About Arthritis Pain
  • Final Thoughts on OTC Medications for Dogs
  • Save to Pinterest:
  • Top Picks For Our Dogs

Can You Give a Dog Aspirin?

What Can I Give My Dog for Pain? OTC Pain Medications for Dogs [2022 ] (2)

Photo credit: congerdesign / pixabay

Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drug, known for decreasing swelling and the irritations associated with it. For humans, aspirin eases the pain of headaches, swollen joints, and fevers.

There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about giving your dog aspirin.

The bottom line is this:

It’s okay to give your dog aspirin for short-term pain relief, provided you’ve okayed it with a veterinarian first.

Long-term use can cause serious side-effects, including internal bleeding. Coated baby aspirin will be easier on your dog’s stomach, and you should always give aspirin to your dog with food.

(Video) What Can I Give My Dog For Pain - Ask the Expert | Dr David Randall

Dosage: The recommended aspirin dosage for dogs is 5 mg/lb given by mouth twice daily.

Types of Aspirin

To further complicate matters, you can will find several types of aspirin available at your local pharmacy.

It’s important to know the difference between them, because some types can be ineffective at best and harmful at worst.

  • Uncoated– Uncoated aspirin should only be used for humans. It will irritate the lining of your dog’s stomach, causing internal bleeding.
  • Enteric-coated– The coating is meant to protect the lining of the stomach in humans. Dogs do not fully digest the coating, and won’t receive the full benefit of the medication. We don’t recommend giving enteric-coated aspirin to dogs.
  • Buffered– If you must use OTC aspirin to treat your dog, you should use buffered aspirin. It contains ingredients that will balance the aspirin’s acidity, which will help protect the lining of your dog’s stomach.

Caution: NEVER give aspirin to cats. It is considered highly toxic.

Can You Give aDog Ibuprofen?

No. Ibuprofen is considered toxic for dogsand should never be used as a canine painkiller. Never give your dog Advil, Motrin, Midol or other drugs containing ibuprofen. Even small amounts can be life-threatening.

Symptoms of ibuprofen poisoning include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody feces
  • Blood in vomit
  • Nausea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Decreased or lack of urine
  • Seizures
  • Un-coordination
  • Coma
  • Death

If you think your dog may have ingested ibuprofen, please call your veterinarian immediately. This medicine will give them anything but pain relief.

Can You Give aDog Tylenol?

Tylenol and other types of acetaminophen are not NSAIDs and do not reduce inflammation.

There are some cases to be aware of:

They can be used to treat pain in certain circumstances, but only under the supervision of a veterinarian, particularly because an incorrect dosage could be highly toxic, resulting in liver, kidney, and tissue damage.

(Video) 7 OTC Human Medications Safe and Effective for Dogs

For more information on Tylenol poisoning, please read this article by PetMD. (And note: Cats are even more susceptible to poisoning than dogs, so please keep acetaminophen out of reach of all your pets!)

Other OTC Medications that are Safe for Dogs

  • Benadryl – Treats allergies and itching, and is especially useful for bringing down the swelling after insect bites or stings. Benadryl dosage for dogs: ½ to 1 mg per pound of body weight.
  • Dramamine – Used to treat motion sickness in dogs, Dramamine can be given before long car rides to make your dog comfortable. Dosage: Please consult your veterinarian.
  • Diarrhea Medications – KaoPectate, Immodium AD, and PeptoBismol can all be used to treat your dog’s diarrhea. Dosage: Please consult your veterinarian.

QUICK RECOMMENDATION: One product we’ve used to help minimize stress and has also helped prevent our dog’s from itching their body (because it covers their torso) is the Thundershirt.

The Best Pain Medications for Dogs

So based on all the warnings and cautions in this article, there is no easy solution for treating a dog that is in pain.

Consulting your veterinarian is really the best solution, and based on your dog’s unique situation, your vet will probably prescribe one of several NSAIDs that have been specially formulated to act as a dog pain killer.

These include:

  • Carprofen
  • Deracoxib
  • Etodolac
  • Meloxicam

These non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug options are FDA-approved for dogs, which means that they have been shown to be safe and effective when used according to the label.

OTC pain medications for people don’t have the assurances of safety and effectiveness in pets.

But you should know…

These NSAIDs are only available with a prescription, and even these NSAIDs have known side effects, especially if they aren’t used properly.

When treating your dog for pain, you can help reduce the risk of complications by ensuring that you:

(Video) Can I Give My Dog Paracetamol | TOP 8 Human Meds That Will KILL Your Dog | VET ADVICE

  • Provide your veterinarian with a complete medical history, including medications or herbal supplements that your dog is taking.
  • Follow your veterinarian’s advice regarding the need for laboratory testing before starting them on any pain medication.
  • Do not give your dog NSAIDS with any other OTC medication. Follow your veterinarian’s advice concerning dosage and treatment schedule.
  • Give your dog NSAIDs with food if possible.
  • Be sure your dog drinks plenty of fresh water every day. Dehydration will greatly increase the risk of side effects.
  • Call your veterinarian immediately if your dog is vomiting, not eating, has diarrhea, or seems more lethargic than usual.
  • If your dog’s discomfort is post-surgical pain, make sure to call your vet and ask them how to treat it. They will know the best answer.

A Note About Arthritis Pain

Make sure that you follow veterinarian advice to treat arthritis related joint pain.

This chronic pain should be handled with long term pain management in mind, so do not use OTC products to treat it unless recommended to do so by a vet.

You have to know:

Arthritis pain is more complex than OTC pain killers can handle, especially for dogs, so you want to treat this type of pain carefully. There are even some natural remedy options that can help ease this chronic pain:

  • Boost diet with glucosamine supplements
  • Add healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to diet
  • Feed a senior dog food with added probiotics

Final Thoughts on OTC Medications for Dogs

Your dog is a treasured member of your family, and you want to do all you can to ensure they live healthy, happy lives by your side. Easing their pain when they suffer is part of your job as a pet owner.

While some OTC medications may be relatively safe to use for dogs in certain circumstances, the dosages on the label are not intended for pet use, and OTC drugs for people have not been tested on animals.

When looking for a course of action to ease your dog’s pain, your best course of action is to:

  1. bring your dog to a veterinarian
  2. give your dog pain medications that have been either prescribed or recommended by that veterinarian.

Your dog’s health is important, and the risks of using any OTC medications without the approval of a veterinarian are just not worth it.

Disclaimer: All content on this site is provided for informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be nor can it be considered actionable professional advice. It must not be used as an alternative to seeking professional advice from a veterinarian or other certified professional.

LabradorTrainingHQ.com assumes no responsibility or liability for the use or misuse of what’s written on this site. Please consult a professional before taking any course of action with any medical, health or behavioral related issue.


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What is the best thing to give a dog for pain over-the-counter? ›

Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin can be given to dogs for pain relief, and there are also natural supplements such as CBD oil that can be used. If you're unsure of what would be best for your dog, it's always best to consult with a vet.

What household medications can I give my dog for pain? ›

The less movement and strain on its sore joints, the better. As far as medications go, there are no human medicines that are totally safe to give to pets. However, for short-term care, a human non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as Aspirin or Advil can be safe for your adult pet.

How can I ease my dogs pain at home? ›

Hot and Cold Therapy. If your dog has an injury or suffers from joint pain in a specific joint, you can apply a heat pack or ice pack to help ease the pain. Apply a heat pack for up to 20 minutes at a time to relieve pain caused by chronic conditions like hip dysplasia or arthritis pain.

Can I give my dog Benadryl for pain? ›

Benadryl doesn't relieve dog pain, so you should talk to your vet about other treatment options.

Can I give my dog baby aspirin for pain? ›

Never attempt to relieve your dog's pain by administering over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, naproxen (e.g., Aleve), acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol), or aspirin. Human anti-inflammatories can cause life-threatening toxicities in pets, and you should give your dog only veterinarian-prescribed medications.

Can I give my dog Tylenol for pain? ›

That means some medications that are safe for people can be toxic to dogs or can even kill them. Never give your dog the most common over-the-counter human pain relievers: Acetaminophen (Tylenol) Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin)

Is it OK to give dogs Bayer aspirin? ›

The short answer is no. While your vet may prescribe aspirin to help your dog when they're in pain, you should not give them the same medication you have in your cabinet. Medicines like ibuprofen and naproxen can be toxic to dogs, even in small doses.

Can I give my dog ibuprofen for pain? ›

Can I give Ibuprofen to my Pet? Do not give Ibuprofen to your dog or cat under any circumstances. Ibuprofen and naproxen are common and effective medications used to treat inflammation and pain in humans, but they should not be given to pets. These drugs can be toxic (poisonous) to dogs and cats.

How much Tylenol can I give my dog? ›

Dosage instructions

The correct dosage of Tylenol is around 10 mg per kg of body weight every 12 hours. Some sources claim that you can give your dog up to 30 mg per kg for a short period. Recommended dosages are different for every dog, so you're best off checking with your veterinarian before giving your dog Tylenol.

How can I relieve my dogs leg pain? ›

Soak the foot in warm water with Epsom salts to relieve swelling. Then apply antibiotic ointment. If the dog has swelling associated with a sprain, bruise or tendonitis, apply ice packs to the area for 15 minutes twice daily. Flowing water improves circulation, reduces swelling, and promotes healing.

Can I give my dog Aleve for pain relief? ›

In the past, Aleve was prescribed to dogs at a low dose to be given every other day, but due to its toxicity, now Aleve is only recommended to be given to dogs that cannot tolerate other NSAIDs. Aleve can cause kidney damage and gastrointestinal damage in dogs, and should only be given if prescribed by a veterinarian.

How can I comfort my dog in pain? ›

You can keep your dog as comfortable as possible by providing a soft bed or couch with fluffy blankets for it to lie on. Give your dog a luxurious massage, his favorite toys, and favorite food. However, don't forget to provide your dog with a balanced diet to keep it as healthy as possible during its sickness.

Can I get antibiotics for my dog without going to the vet? ›

Can I get antibiotics for my dog without seeing a vet? Yes, there are antibiotics that you can get without a vet prescription. Can you get antibiotics at a pet store? Many pet stores, including online pet stores, carry antibiotics that are safe to use for dogs.

Can I give my dog Calpol for pain? ›

You should never give your dog any Calpol because even a small amount can make them sick. This is because paracetamol is poisonous to dogs, and even the low amounts in Calpol are too high for dogs to have.

Can I give my dog ibuprofen for pain? ›

It's okay to give your dog certain human drugs, like Benadryl, but many medications may be dangerous for your pooch, including ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is not safe for dogs and can lead to stomach or kidney damage, or even death in some cases.

What painkillers can dogs have UK? ›

  • Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) NSAIDs are very commonly used drugs in dogs and cats to treat inflammation and pain. ...
  • Buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is used to treat mild to moderate pain in dogs and cats. ...
  • Tramadol. ...
  • Gabapentin. ...
  • Paracetamol. ...
  • Amantadine. ...
  • Amitriptyline.


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