Why is it safe to give aspirin to a dog, but not a cat?

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When our pets are in pain, it is only natural to want to quickly relieve that distress. Unfortunately, heading to the medicine cabinet may not be in the best interest of our pets, without first checking with our veterinarian. Dogs and cats are both sensitive to human medications and these products should only be given under the guidance of a veterinarian.

Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Dogs are particularly sensitive to the gastrointestinal side effects of aspirin such as ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, and pain. Cats do not have the liver enzyme needed to break aspirin down, so it is slowly absorbed and discarded by the body. Due to this fact, it is extremely easy to obtain toxic levels in a cat, which may result in death.

In addition, aspirin should never be administered to a patient that is already on another type of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug as this can compound the liver side effects. Aspirin may react with other medications such as digoxin, certain antibiotics, furosemide, cortisones, and phenobarbital. When discussing the possible use of aspirin with your veterinarian, it is important to remind them if your pet is on any other medications.

The good news is that there are several veterinary approved non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs out on the market that are safe for dogs and cats alike. These products are specifically formulated for pets, and have gone through several clinical trials to ensure its safety in dogs or cats.

It is always best to play it safe and run any medications you are considering giving to your pet by your veterinarian first.

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