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!

70 thoughts on “Aspirin for Limping and Painful Dogs

  1. Leigh McInvaille

    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.

  2. Dr Greg Post author

    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!

  3. Robyn

    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.

  4. Jenny

    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?

  5. Dr Greg Post author

    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.

  6. Jenny

    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!

  7. Dawn

    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

  8. Jazmyn

    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?

  9. Dr Greg Post author

    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.

  10. monica

    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?

  11. Ann

    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.

  12. Dr Greg Post author

    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!

  13. thalia

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

  14. Tony

    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!

  15. Dr Greg Post author

    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!

  16. KRISTI


  17. Dr Greg Post author

    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

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