Dogs are part of the family and as such it is vital we look after their health. As they approach the later part of their life, they may experience pain and creaky joints typical of old age. Discomfort in pets can be brought on by injury, infection, as well as advancing years. It can be tempting to try to alleviate pain in dogs and give them human medication however, apart from a few exceptions, you should never give dogs human medicine. (Advil and also paracetamol are particularly harmful to pet dogs). But do not fear. There’s no need to watch your dog suffering as there are excellent, dog-specific alternatives available, nevertheless, you should talk to your veterinarian prior to giving medication to your dog. Before we look at the specifics of pain medications, let’s consider how we can tell if our little furry friend is in pain.
Table of Contents
- Is the Dog Hurting?
- How Can We Help Our Dogs in Pain?
Is the Dog Hurting?
Pain is manifested in different ways, especially in the animal kingdom. Discomfort is very subjective and tough to determine.
Because pets naturally hide their pain to stop prospective killers from sniffing them out pain and discomfort assessment in canines can be difficult.
The exterior presentations of pain differ extensively depending on the dog. It is very important to identify that even if a canine does not whimper, limp, or show other evident indications of discomfort, that does not indicate it is not suffering.
A great basic guideline is that if they are suffering from something that would give you pain, it would certainly do the same to a dog.
With noticeable injuries or after an operation (such as hip pain), it can be sensibly assumed that your dog will experience discomfort. Although the signs might be subtle, careful monitoring will usually reveal indicators of pain in many dogs.
A lot of pets experiencing discomfort change their habits in some way. Your dog might hesitate to jump up or climb steps, activity may decrease, or they may show signs of discomfort during handling.
Arthritis is common in older dogs, and you should observe your dog and identify signs that are becoming troublesome for them.
Anybody that has actually observed an older pet battle to climb or be not able to steady themselves after sleeping can imagine the pain these canines have to endure.
Other signs of pain are:
- Unusual vocalizations
- Quiet or aggressive behaviour
- Excessive licking
So, how can we ease the pain and make things a little better for beloved dogs?
How Can We Help Our Dogs in Pain?
Your first port of call is to talk to your dog’s vet. They will be able to advice on steps you can take to ease the pain your dog is suffering.
If your pet is undergoing dental treatment or having a surgical operation, ask your vet for pain medication.
Typically, your dog will receive pain management throughout the procedure and be administered with meds post-op. The vet can advise on the best type, usually, these are in the form of the following:
These drugs are super effective in reducing pain associated with swelling and inflammation. As mentioned above, never use the human form of these drugs, always use a vet’s prescription.
You should be cautious of long term use of anti-inflammatories as they can cause problems in the kidneys and liver or create additional problems such as stomach and intestinal pain.
These drugs are used to treat extreme pain, such as advanced cancer or the more severe cases of arthritis. They include codeine, morphine, hydromorphone, buprenorphine and such.
These medications offer dogs a reasonable quality of life when suffering from painful conditions.
There are new medications for dogs being developed all the time, so there is a choice if certain medications don’t agree with them in some way.
It’s important to always research medications before administering them to your pet and always use a reputable specialist in veterinary medicine.
If you are reluctant to administer medication or your pet is prone to allergies, what other ways could you offer pain relief?
If your dogs’ symptoms are mild, or you want to prevent a condition from developing, then supplements are a good option.
For canines with chronic discomfort from joint inflammation or other joint disorders, over the counter or recommended supplements can aid or minimize discomfort and also boost movement.
Glucosamine is a popular choice of joint supplement for dogs and can be purchased over-the-counter. While glucosamine is not a direct pain reliever, it is thought to alleviate the signs and symptoms of joint damage by increasing the repair work of damaged cartilage.
You can purchase joint supplements at online retailers or local pet stores. You can also request them from your veterinarian. It’s a good idea to discuss supplements with the vet, so they can advise on the most effective brand and type.
Along with suggested supplements and dog-friendly pain meds, some dog owners swear by natural treatments to treat their dog’s pain.
They can be useful for pets if used sensibly and as an addition to mainstream veterinary treatments. What do they include?
- Massage helps to improve your dog’s blood circulation, soothes nerves and relaxes muscular tissues. It also helps relieve anxiety. There are lots of books on the market that show you how to use massage as part of your dog’s daily health regime.
- Aromatherapy is used by alternative practitioners for humans and animals. It has been proven to be effective in lowering stress and anxiety as well as healing and relieving pain.
- Acupuncture can relieve canines of joint and muscle pain, stimulate healing after trauma or surgical procedures. It can even help alleviate the pain of certain cancers and symptoms of diabetes. It’s crucial you contact a reputable acupuncturist who has experience in treating dogs and has the relevant credentials.
Most responsible dog owners will make exercise a regular part of their dog’s routine. Even if your dog is suffering from pain, it’s important to encourage them to keep moving.
Moderate physical activity will help them stay in good shape as they approach their senior years. It will also help prevent some conditions common to old age.
Even if your dog suffers from mobility problems, it is vital to help them to keep moving. This’ll prevent their joints from getting too stiff and sore.
It’s true to say that dogs are one of the family, so we don’t want to see them in pain. It’s good to know that if needed, there are ways to help alleviate discomfort and help our dogs live a happy and pain-free life.
It’s important to consult a veterinarian before giving any medication to your dog, as dosages and potential side effects can vary between species. In many cases, there are specific veterinary medications that are safer and more appropriate for treating pain in dogs. Human medications can be harmful or even toxic to dogs if not used properly.