Can I Give My Dog OTC Medication?

If your dog is in pain, finding a solution to treat and manage discomfort is an essential part of providing care. But should you give your dog over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications meant for humans?


The answer is simply—no. Human-grade NSAID medications (such Aspirin and Ibuprofen) and products containing acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) should never be given to dogs as a way to treat pain. These OTC pain medications can cause serious health problems in dogs and cost pet parents hundreds or thousands of dollars in expensive treatments.


NSAID medications may cause gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers in dogs. Tylenol or other pain medications containing acetaminophen can lead to liver and kidney damage. If your pet accidentally ingests OTC pain medications, it’s important to seek immediate veterinary care. Dogs that are experiencing pain may mask their symptoms, so if a pet is showing any signs of discomfort—such as stiffness, whimpering or yelping, and a lack of appetite—it’s important to see your veterinarian to discuss the treatment options. Your vet may recommend prescription pain medications to help your dog cope.


To prevent pain in dogs, make sure to keep your canine companions at a healthy weight. Regular exercise and a proper diet will help ward off joint problems, arthritis, and back problems in dogs. It’s also a good idea to monitor your dog while playing or roughhousing to prevent injury. 


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