If reading this article, you’re likely worried your dog is in pain and want to help.
Let’s discuss ways to treat them ASAP.
The tricky part is that our canine friends cannot share or describe the pain. However, owners can:
- Be aware of the signs of pain in dogs
- Consult with a certified vet professional
- Once diagnosed, know what medicine dogs can and cannot have
- Look at alternative treatments and medicines
Here are ideas to help your dog find relief in the safest way possible.
The First Step: How to Treat Dog Pain
It’s critical to meet with your trusted, licensed vet first; they are equipped to make the diagnosis what is the true, root cause of pain.
For example, we’d never want to assume pain is from dog arthritis when it could be something else.
What Are Signs My Dog’s Having Pain?
According to Healthy Paws, a vocal expression is typically the top way dogs express discomfort, like whimpering, woofing upon touch or breathing heavily and panting.
Ongoing, chronic pain can also lead to:
- Lowered appetite
- Dog depression
- Irritability at even light touches or interaction
- Unexpected changes in activity or enthusiasm
It’s important to know: Dogs can also be silent through discomfort. Especially as your dog ages or undergoes a procedure, pay attention to the other signs.
What are the Causes of Their Pain?
Potential issues are if:
- Your dog is sick
- He or she has an injury
- Your dog has a disease
- Your buddy is feeling their age
- Their canine obesity is causing too much joint pressure
What Kind of Pain Meds are for Dogs?
There are a few types of medications that aid in pain relief for dogs. Examples of these are:
NSAIDs are Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These reduce ongoing pain and the swelling or stiffness, like for joint pain in dogs, just like humans. This may be for:
- An aging dog with arthritis
- Your pup post-surgery
Some of the NSAID names to look out for from your vet:
Are There Side Effects of Dog Pain Medicine?
Some of the side effects from NSAIDs may be:
- Kidney toxicity
- Liver issues
- Digestive problems
- Eye problems, even as far as blindness
- Damage to joints
These medicines, if prescribed by your vet in the right dosages, can certainly still be a benefit. But, we are going to share other, more holistic options, and something NOT to do.
Can Dogs Have Human Pain Medication? No!
As chocolate can be harmful to dogs, people medicine can be highly harmful to canines as well. If used incorrectly, human pain medication can even be fatal to pets.
It’s best to keep away. Do NOT give dogs over the counter meds like aspirin, Advil, Tylenol or other similar medications.
On the “Pet Insurance Guide” podcast, dog mom Deedee explained a situation where her own beloved Goldendoodle took in an unknown amount of ibuprofen. This resulted in kidney failure and time in the ER. Thankfully, Bentley ended up making a recovery, but it’s still important to remember such situations when giving or storing our own medications.
What Are Alternative Dog Treatments for Pain Relief?
There are ways to help provide pain relief other than bottles of pills but, as always, consult your vet first, but here are some ideas:
- For joint pain due to pet obesity, daily exercise: If a dog is overweight, there can be additional pressure on joints. Exercise helps to reduce weight and provide dog relief. (Plus, running or walking with your dog is great for getting your endorphins and benefits from exercise simultaneously!)
- Hydrotherapy: This warm water treatment is thought to aid in circulation and relief.
- Acupuncture: Turns out, acupuncture is used for more than just humans. It’s growing in the animal industry, as well. This process is thought to help with circulation and relax muscles.
Is There Dog Alternative Medicine?
If you seek a more holistic, natural approach to conventional medicine, consult with your vet professional first. Here are some ideas to discuss with them:
Frankincense (or Boswellia) is extracted from certain tree bark; it has properties that help reduce inflammation in dogs, making it ideal for arthritis treatment.
In 2004, a Swiss study led by Reichling J et al showed that frankincense lowered clinical arthritis signs in 70%+ of dogs in the study. This improvement happened in just 6 weeks.
Skullcap is thought to help soothe pain related to nerve injuries or conditions. It is an herb that can be found in liquid form and administered as drops.
Licorice can also help to treat inflammation.
However, it’s not ideal to give licorice to a dog who is diabetic, nursing or pregnant.
Ginger can help relieve pain or discomfort related to the digestive system, such as nausea or other digestive issues.
Learn more about how to help your dog with nausea.
Turmeric is ideal for arthritis treatment because, just as with humans, it aids in reducing inflammation. There are different ways to give it to your dog, such as in a paste form. You can also sprinkle in a small amount of dried Turmeric into their food.
Does Dog Food Help Treat Pain?
For all the suggestions above, again, always confer with your professional vet first.
There is one more item we’d like to address.
Like with humans, what goes into dogs’ bodies affects their health and how they feel.
If your dog has cancer, learn what to feed a dog with cancer.
Here’s what to feed a dog with kidney disease.
For general purposes, it’s great to learn how to choose dog food.