One day your dog or cat is running and playing and seemingly bulletproof and the next day they are slow to get up, won’t jump, can’t do stairs, etc. It seems like it happens overnight and sometimes it does but pain is a natural and frustrating part of getting older. How many of us humans sometimes wake up and take an ibuprofen just because we slept wrong?

It is one of the more difficult things we as pet owners go through; dealing with a pet that is in obvious pain. Naturally, we want to fix that pain, to make them feel better as soon as possible. These things never happen at 8 am on a Tuesday. It is always in the evening or on a weekend when your regular veterinarian isn’t open and emergency vets are the only option. This can lead us on a hunt to find options for things that we can use at home. Unfortunately, a lot of these medications can be dangerous:

  1. Aspirin: We do use Aspirin in dogs but NEVER in cats. The problem is that aspirin is a pretty poor pain medication. It isn’t going to help with intense pain and, long-term can have some pretty significant effects on the dog’s ability to clot appropriately.
  2. Ibuprofen/Naproxen: NO NO NO. Not for cats and not for dogs! Just small doses can cause serious damage to the liver/kidneys/stomach/etc.
  3. Tylenol: Again, NEVER in cats (common theme right?) Tylenol is another pain medication we use occasionally in our dogs but only in very specific occasions and often mixed with much stronger pain meds like codeine. I would not recommend using it in a situation where a dog injured itself.
  4. Your meds: We use a lot of human medications in pets. You might have some of these at home but it is very important to mention that the dosages are very different. I would not recommend using them without speaking with your vet first.

So, long story short and don’t get mad at me, I would not recommend giving anything over the counter to your pets for pain. What I do recommend is, especially for senior pets, is to speak with your vet and just keep some vet-approved pain meds on hand. We all know our older cats and dogs are at a higher risk of injury. Pain meds are not expensive and you will very happy that you have them on hand if you need them.

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