Managing a dog’s pain can be challenging even for the most experienced pet owners. There are so many variables that can affect a dog’s pain levels, that it can be very difficult to even know where to start. That’s why we’ve made this guide for managing your dog’s pain.
Knowing where to start is the first step, but knowing what to do to keep your dog pain-free is another thing altogether. Below we go into detail about everything you need to know about pain management, identifying symptoms, and medications.
How to Know if Your Dog is Experiencing Pain
Injury or illness are two of the primary reasons that a dog might have pain, and both can be difficult to spot. If your dog shows any of the following symptoms, they might be in pain:
- Major changes to their drinking/eating/sleeping routines.
- Excessive barking and other vocalizations.
- Noticeable loss of appetite.
- Acting in a more aggressive manner than usual.
- Not being as social as normal.
- Spending lots of time grooming itself.
- Changes in their breathing.
- Not being able to get around as easily as before.
- Noticeable amounts of shaking.
All of the above symptoms are tell-tale signs that something is wrong with your dog. What that might specifically be depends on numerous factors (i.e. your dog’s weight, age, health, history, breed, etc.). If your pet is experiencing any of the above signs, it’s recommended to bring them to the veterinarian to be checked for possible illness and/or injury.
Managing Your Dog’s Pain
There are generally two ways that you can treat/manage a dog’s pain: natural methods, or prescription medications. Most pet owners use a combination of the two (e.g. giving them prescription medications while also changing their diet to include more natural, nutritious foods).
Pain relievers are one of the most common treatments that veterinarians prescribe for dogs (usually for joint-related pain). Piroxicam pain reliever for dogs is an example of one such medication.
Remember though, that dogs cannot be given pain medications designed for humans. Human medications should never be given to dogs because they can cause very serious reactions (and even lead to death). The only type of medication that should ever be given to a dog is one that is prescribed by a veterinarian.
Examples of common human medications that should never be given to dogs:
- Any type of aspirin for humans.
- Ibuprofen medications (e.g. Advil).
- Aspirin for babies.
- Other types of OTC pain medications (e.g. Aleve).
NSAIDs for Dogs
While you cannot give human NSAIDs to dogs, there are many brands of NSAIDs that are specifically formulated for canines. These types of medications are perfectly safe to give to your dog (because they were specifically formulated for canines and not humans).
Before giving your dog any type of pain medication, you should get in touch with your veterinarian about potential long-term effects, and whether or not that certain type of medication is optimal for your dog.
Natural Pain Management for Dogs
Many owners don’t like giving their dogs prescription drugs, which is perfectly fine, however, in certain cases (such as advanced illness) prescription drugs are a requirement for adequate treatment. With that being said, there are many different ways that you can naturally manage (and treat) your dog’s pain.
Examples of Natural Treatment Options
Joint issues and inflammation problems are some of the most common health complications that dogs face in the US. Luckily, these types of health issues can be managed using natural options (for the most part). Unless the dog has underlying health issues, natural treatment options can work quite well for inflammation and joint-related problems.
Various types of joint supplements (and omega-3 fatty acid supplements) are very common treatment choices among pet owners who have dogs that suffer from joint/mobility issues. Dogs who suffer from inflammation also benefit from these types of supplements.
Acupuncture is typically thought of as a treatment for humans, but it can also be performed on dogs. Acupuncture is usually used to relieve muscle pain, joint stiffness, and encourage healing after surgery. Some owners even use acupuncture on their dogs to battle against cancer.
Massage therapy is another option for natural pain management. Stress relief is very important (in terms of accelerating the healing process), which is why massage therapy can be very beneficial to your dog’s recovery. Massage therapy also relieves muscle pain and can improve mobility, as well as stimulate certain nerves (which contributes to improved health).