I think my pet is painful, what can I give them?

When you notice your four-legged friend is limping or trembling, it’s easy to rush to your medicine cabinet to see if you have any medication that might make them feel better. You likely have a variety of over the counter pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen.

Before you reach for any of the medications, STOP and call your veterinary clinic. Human medications are not always right for dogs or cats and some may even seriously harm them. Furthermore, giving your pet medications at home can also affect what your veterinarian is then able to administer to them because there are certain medications that cannot be given together.

All of the drugs listed above (except for acetaminophen) belong to a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). These are the most commonly used pain relievers in humans and animals. NSAIDs come with some side effects and risks including vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases stomach ulcers, kidney failure and liver failure. These risks are greatly increased if the wrong dose, medication or combination of medications are given.

In veterinary medicine we use different NSAIDs than those used in human medicine. These are drugs that have been tested to be safe and effective in our pets. Veterinarians will assess the risks and benefits in each case before prescribing a medication.

In summary, always ask your veterinarian before giving any medications to your dog or cat. And if you do give them something prior to their visit, be sure to tell your veterinarian as this may change what is safe to prescribe to your pet.

This article was written by Kirstie Puskas, DVM, Fifth Avenue Veterinary Clinic. We provide team-based vet care for pets and their families from our animal hospital in Orangeville, Ontario.

POSTED: 2016-11-15 Bookmark and Share
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