Aspirin for Limping and Painful Dogs

A limping dog is scary but you can often check a few things out to see if  it might be something you can deal with. It always helps to wet or wash the leg and foot first to get a clearer view of swelling, cuts, bumps, bruises, wounds, splinters, or foxtails. Washing or wetting down the leg makes all of those problems easier to see. joint aspirin

Always proceed with CAUTION: Any dog will bite if they feel pain. Use restraint and get help for everyone’s safety. Do not mess with a sore leg unless you know the dog’s temperament. Even “nice dogs” will bite when hurt.

Nails that have grown too long can catch on things and become cracked, red, infected, bruised, broken or painful. Check the nails for breaks and the nail bed for infection. Keep the nails trimmed to prevent problems

broken toenailThe toes can hide cuts, wounds, growths, or infections. A swollen toe may mean a sprain, a broken one,  or an infection from a wood splinter, nail or wire puncture, bite, or plant. You should clean up any wound or infection with warm water and mild dishwashing detergent.  Your dog may need treatment for painful or infected wounds.

Underneath the foot, around the pads, you may find a cut, wound, infection, or just really red skin. Red inflamed skin often results from allergies to grasses causing itching and chewing to the feet. Sometimes running on rocks or asphalt can bruise or blister the pads. Apply cortisone and Neosporin to soothe the itch and skin infection. It always helps to wash the foot and area around the pads.A sock, light bandage, or cone is helpful to keep dogs from chewing the area.cut pad

If the foot does not seem painful or involved, move up the leg to check for bumps, bruises, or swollen joints. If gently bending a joint causes discomfort, you may be dealing with a mild sprain or arthritis in the joint. Arthritis is really common in older dogs and may cause a bit of limping off and on when they over do it. Coming up lame after playing could mean a pulled muscle. Arthritis in the neck, spine, or hips will also cause limping that looks like it is coming from the foot or one of the legs.

If your dog is putting some weight on the leg, but limping a bit, it could be any of the common problems above. If your dog can’t support any weight, is extremely painful, and you can’t determine the cause of the discomfort, get it checked out. If you want to try and relieve a bit of the pain try a dose or two of aspirin.

Sometimes poodles, yorkies, maltese, lhasas, and other toy breeds will hike up a back leg because their kneecap is going in and out of place. The kneecap can rub on the joint and make it painful. In some dogs it is just the pressure of the kneecap in the wrong place that makes things feel different. Holding  their leg up relieves the pressure. Some dogs grow out of it. Others can be exercised to tighten up the knee joint. A few may need surgery to make things right.luxating-patella.img_assist_custom

For any of the above problems you can aspirin to help with pain and discomfort. The dose for dogs is 1 adult aspirin per 30 pounds twice daily or 1 baby aspirin per 5 pounds twice daily. If the situation gets worse or doesn’t improve in a day or two, get it diagnosed and treated. Do not use Tylenol or ibuprofen in dogs. Both can have side effects.aspirin

Dr Greg loves to give people common sense medical advice. His book, Dog Dish Diet has nutritional tips that will help you pick the right food and treats to help with hotspots, ear infections, fat dogs, and even seizures!

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92 Responses to Aspirin for Limping and Painful Dogs

  1. Dr Greg says:

    Sounds like he has a neck injury or sore joints from a recent vaccination. Use a harness and try an adult aspirin twice daily for 4 days then once daily for 4 days. he may need a check up and steroids for treatment of polyarthritis. Dr Greg

  2. Dr Greg says:

    You can give her a 325 mg aspirin twice daily for 4 days then once daily for a few days. That will reduce pain and swelling. If it is something that needs attention, the aspirin won’t work very well. Dr Greg

  3. Joyce says:

    I have a 10 year old 50 lb. Pitbull. She takes fish oil and Dasuquin daily. Every night she barks and is back and forth around our screened in pool. Last night she came in limping and is favoring her front paw. Can I give her 81MG of Bayer aspirin and how much? We are having some financial problems at the moment so taking her to the vet for this would be a hardship. I had to put to other dogs down this year due to cancer. One was a 6 yr. old French Bulldog who we treated for Cushings since he was 4, the other was an 11 year old Pitbull who had cancer. One was put down in October 2013 the other this past May. I appreciate your help and advice.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I’m fresh layed off and don’t know what to do!

    7 month old lab/ boxer

    Prior medical history: He had uneven legs as a 3 1/2 week old pup when I found him. His legs straightened with good diet. He also had been attacked and his leg healed in a few days.

    Possible source of injury: He nicked the corner of the wall running with his schnauzer friend.

    Symptom: walking fine when he runs and pulls on the leash he starts to scream like he is dying. When I walk him I make him walk no jumping and he is fine. I gave him leftover painkillers from his neuter and he isn’t crying. No visible swelling but I press on his front left wrist (in front and back) and he starts to howl like he is dying. It is movable and the rest of is movements seem fine. He is fine after a minute or two.

    Treatment: Crated and laying on a blanket. I take him out ever 2 hours day to void and he sleeps all night.

    Would anyone else agree this is a simple sprain. He is walking on it just shrieks like mad when he pulls on the leash or tries to jump.

  5. Dr Greg says:

    You can give a 2 pound dog 5-10 mg of aspirin twice daily. A low dose aspirin is 80 mg.

  6. Lillian says:

    My 5 year old Tea cup Chihuahua he is only 2 pounds , has been limping his front right paw since yesterday that I let him in my house with some visitor and I find out she step in his leg by accident . Can I give him aspirin? and what is the aspirin doses for 2 pounds ?. Please help ? ..Thanks a lot in advance.

  7. Mikayla says:

    I have a 3 year old beagle who is a very calm dog he was resting in the corner last night his favorite spot and schreeched in pain and now is limping and is crying in pain I’ve called the vet just not sure what to do for the pain he weighs about 22 lbs

  8. lilly says:

    My boxer will be 3 July 9 she was fine but she is slightly limping she let’s u touch all of her leg bit when u look at the pad of her foot she licks continuensly so what could the problem be but I have had a dog with a broken bone its not limping like that she walks on all 4 but u can see she is walking on her toes not her full foot

  9. S haron says:

    My dog has bad teeth.he is about6lbs jaw is swollen.can I give. Him baby asprin for pain.have no money to take him to vet,but love him so much

  10. You can use aspirin at 5mg per pound twice daily

  11. M K says:

    took my pups to the beach today couple of days of that of town and they had a complete blast running around my older dog that 7 had the most fun it looked like chasing my 2 year old dog around everything seemed fine we are running around we ran up the stairs to get back to the main highway to where I live and everyone seemed ok a couple of hours later my older dog clever came out of the bedroom and was limping his back leg and he hasn’t been able to use it for the rest of the day he’s not whining but I can tell you the discomfort I follow the instructions above and there seems to be nothing in his foot at the very back of the foot that goes up to the leg before I get to the back of the butt seems to be discomfort for him and when I hold it he put his because it is I like he feels secure I also noticed that his back lower back seems swollen can you help me

  12. Sarah says:

    My 2 year old boxer has been limping and favoring her front right paw since we let her outside all day yesterday on the yard leash. Can I give her aspirin!? Please help!?

  13. isabella says:

    Thank you soo much doctor Greg!!! My 2 year old pit bull landed right on her right hind leg while fetching a ball I threw her. Her nail immediately rose up red with blood under it (as when you stub your toe) she immediately got up carrying her paw barely touching the ground. I picked her up and carried her inside she’s been off it ever since. I have iced it and brought some of the swelling down as well as a warm Epsom salt soak for as long as she’d let me. I was reluctant to give her aspirin just cuz I was unsure. Thank you for your advice! I’m sure she will be back to herself in no time. Will keep you posted!!!

  14. milos owner says:

    Hi my lab is 9 years is getting arthritis in his backhip he is about 100 lbs what can I give hime he seems sore when trying to get up.

  15. Megan says:

    I have a 120lb German Shepherd. He is not over weight, just big. He had been limping on his front leg the past couple days. I think he tweaked his ankle. He does put weight on it, but limps. Doesn’t look swollen. So can I safely give him 4 adult aspirin without it hurting him?

  16. Samantha says:

    I have a maltese that is about a yr and 1/2 old. She is probably between 10-12lbs now that she is full grown(we havent been to the vet for about 6 mo now). A couple of days ago she started limping and favoring her R hind leg. She does not whine or cry like she is in pain. She doe let me feel it and look at her pads, toes and joints. I have even stretched/bent her leg in/out a little to make sure there is no joint pain. She still does not whine or cry. I called her vet and they obviously want to see her for an -ray and all of that, which will get pricey and right now I dont have the money for all of that. Do you know of anything I can try at home? I dont think anything is broken or else she would be letting me know( she is kinda spoiled and a big baby) or atleast I feel that she would not let me touch it or mess with it at all. What do you suggest?

  17. william cornelius says:

    my dog started limping on one foot ,but now both feet seem.. to bother her. is there anything that I can do to help relieve the pain?

  18. Kelly says:

    I have a mixed breed Spitz ,she is a little overweight and is now limping around.She won’t straighten her paw out but she will let me rub it .she was out running the fence .Can she have a few aspirins.She weights about 50 lbs

  19. amanda says:

    Our cockerspaniel was fine then all sudden started to limb .it’s her front leg . Checked paws claws no cuts seem to be at the top of her leg . She she still climbing next day help

  20. Spencer says:

    My dog has a broken nail just like the dog with the black paw in the picture. I’m not entirely sure how I should be treating it?

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  22. Paula says:

    Hi my dog is 10 years old he is a yorkie mix Maltese and today I got home and he was in pain in his lower back he try to stand up for a little bet and felt down he is poop and pee but I want to know if I can give him baby aspirin 81mg and how many and how often he is not eating can I give him baby pedialyte and baby food please I need help I love my dog don’t like to see him like this

  23. Dr Greg says:

    Half of a baby aspirin twice a day for 3-4 days may help. Ice helps at the time of the injury, but heat is better afterwards

  24. KRISTI says:


  25. Dr Greg says:

    The swollen paw could be due to a puncture and infection or bruising or even a broken toe . One adult aspirin per thirty pounds and one half of a 25mg Benadryl may help will help with swelling and pain due to minor sprains. He may need antibiotics. If the paw becomes more swollen , painful, or has a wound, get it checked!

  26. Dr Greg says:

    One adult aspirin and one 25 mg Benadryl twice daily with help ease pain and relax him.

  27. Tony says:

    My dog is a rescue! He is an 80 lb pit . We love him to death!!! All vets are closed today! We need to deparatelly give hime something for pain! What can I give him? We are all so sad!

  28. thalia says:

    I have a 10 month old golden retriever, he’s limping, has a swollen paw, but has no open wound. What can I do??

  29. Dr Greg says:

    I would start with one baby aspirin daily then twice daily if needed for 3-4 days.I always try to use the least medicine I can to control discomfort!

  30. Ann says:

    I have a 15 year old lasoapso. She is 18 lbs. She broke her right rear leg when she was 2 years old. They had to set the leg wrap it in wire. Now that she is old. She has alot of discomfort with her leg. Can I give her aspirin? Baby aspirin or adult? If so how much and how often.

  31. Dr Greg says:

    One baby aspirin per 10 pounds twice daily may help him feel better.
    Want to feed your dogs human food?

  32. monica says:

    Hi, two nights ago I discovered a callous feeling bump on my Chihuahuas nose. He wasn’t fussing with it but yesterday he cried in discomfort everytime someone would touch his leg or try to pick him up. This morning it hurts him (his leg) to get out of bed.can I give him asprin until I take him to get checked out Saturday? Baby asprin?

  33. Dr Greg says:

    Aspirin will help, but she may have broken a metacarpal bones, or infection from the bite may be causing pain. The dose is 1adult aspirin per 30 pounds twice daily for a couple days. You may need to get a x ray or antibiotics for infection, if the foot looks swollen, is real painful, or has discharge.

  34. Jazmyn says:

    Hi, my dog was playing with one of my friends dogs last night, and it escalated into a fight. Before we could break it up, my dog was bit on her right front joint just above her paw. She is hopping around and won’t put any weight on it. I’ve iced it and tried to keep her off of it, but would asprain help as well?

  35. Dawn says:

    I have sister that has pitbull like 7 or 8 years old and gets a sore on the top of his back where his tail meets his back and on his tail is there anything that she could do or does that sound like a skin condition? Thanks

  36. Jenny says:

    She is putting weight even was trotting around the yard when my kids came home from school. Its still not normal but getting better. I will try the asprin.
    Thank you very much!

  37. Dr Greg says:

    As long as she is putting weight on it you can try aspirin. One adult aspirin 325 mg per thirty pounds. Ice is usually good within a few hours or when there is continued swelling. Sounds like a sprain. If there is continued pain, get it checked out.

  38. Jenny says:

    Last night my 8 month old Lab was playing at the top of the steps and fell down the steps. She wasnt putting any weight on it last night however this morning she is putting some weight on it. We have touched it and rub it, etc and she doesnt whine or anything. When I touch it it is warm and she does still favor it. She is a calmer this morning than normal Is it ok to give her mortin or asprin? Should I put ice on it? Could she have just sprained he leg?

  39. Dr Greg says:

    Robyn, I so glad the aspirin helped!

  40. Robyn says:

    Dr. Greg,
    My dog was slow to get up and we could tell he was in pain. Found your website and followed your directions to give him two aspirin per day and in two days, he was completely better and back to his happy self. Thanks for your good advice.

  41. Dr Greg says:

    One aspirin per thirty pounds twice daily. Your Lab can get two pills twice daily for three to four days. You can also soak the foot in warm water with epsom salt, rinse, and put antibiotic ointment on the injured toes…if you can. It is a painful area and most dogs hate it fooled with! Sometimes the break can be trimmed and soft claws put on the short toenail. If swollen or painful, get it checked!

  42. Leigh McInvaille says:

    Our lab has two broken toe nails on one foot. Is it safe to give her aspirin for the pain? Any other suggestions to help? Thanks.

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