What Can I Give My Dog For Pain?
Pain can be… well, just a pain! We all know how uncomfortable that can be, and the same goes for our furry-legged friends.
What’s worse is that they can’t tell us when they’re in pain or take medication when they want to, and it’s up to us fur parents to look after them. A dog that is experiencing pain, be it chronic, acute, nerve pain, bone pain, and any other condition that can cause physical discomfort can be devastating.
Luckily, holistic methods in the health industry have been sought out for its rise in popularity, and there are many studies that can account for this theory.
Dogs are far from how humans react when in pain. Dogs are naturally pack animals, and by instinct, will do anything to stay with their pack, even if that means picking up the slack to ensure that they don’t slow their pack down.
Dogs that are weak, old, or sick are often left alone to face their fate when they begin to show signs of weakness, such as in coyotes and wolves.
The instinct of a dog naturally drives them to believe that they need to express only healthy and strong traits, even when they are in pain, and that is why we most often find that our dogs seem perfectly normal despite any underlying cause.
Despite us being their pet parents, they think that we’ll leave them behind too - and they will do their absolute best at hiding any indication that they are in pain.
Managing Pain in Dogs
Some pain that our pets experience are related to arthritis and joint pain, pain from cancer, back pain, nerve pain, hip dysplasia, and many more. As dogs cannot verbalize what they are feeling, it is our responsibility as pet parents to look after them to ensure that they don’t suffer in silence.
Fortunately, the issue of pain management in dogs has been a topic of high priority in the veterinary profession, as well as in the hearts of many pet owners.
As a pet parent, you play a crucial role to help ease canine pain and discomfort. You must learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of a dog in discomfort and be proactive in an effort to ease any pain your dog may be experiencing.
Symptoms of Pain in Dogs
Since our dogs cannot necessarily speak and tell us when they are in pain, how can you tell if your dog is in pain? Sometimes it can be difficult to spot the signs, but there are quite a few signs you can look out for, and some will be more obvious than others, according to your dog’s behavior.
Aggressive or antisocial behavior
Any change in behavior may be an indication of a dog in pain. Some notable signs may be that your dog begins to avoid contact, has suddenly begun aggressively, begins to hide and seek solitude, become antisocial, or even stop running to greet you when you come home.
Changes in the body or in their posture
A distinct body posture that indicates that your dog is suffering from abdominal pain may be the “prayer” position. Other noticeable signs are swelling of the face, legs, or paws, as pain is often commonly associated with inflammation, and dogs may assume a rigid and hunched position when in pain.
Changes in drinking, eating, and sleeping habits
A loss of appetite and lack of interest in drinking water may occur in dogs suffering from pain. Dogs may also tend to sleep more often in an attempt to heal or due to difficulty in mobility and activity. If a dog is having difficulty eating dried or firm food, he may be suffering from dental pain.
Signs of excessive grooming, such as constantly licking at their paws, may be signs of stress and trying to soothe themselves. This may occur with a cut or wound, though pain may also be internal.
Heavy panting or altered breathing patterns
Panting is normal in dogs, however, if you notice a change in your dog’s breathing patterns or heavy panting even without exercise, it may be a warning sign that your dog is suffering from pain. If a dog’s breathing is shallow, it may mean that it is difficult for him to take a breath and important that you seek immediate veterinary attention.
Pained noises or vocalization
Dogs in pain are often much more vocal, and may growl, howl, snarl, or yelp in pain and is often a very noticeable indication of your dog suffering from pain.
The most obvious signs of pain in dogs are limping and stiffness due to arthritis, injury, or sore paws. He may also not want to get up and lay around more than usual. The activity level of a dog often suddenly changes when in pain, and you may notice a reluctance to exercise, lack of activity, not wanting to climb stairs, or not even wanting to follow you around.
Unusual signs of lethargy, restlessness, irritability, agitation, or anxiety
Signs of lethargy, restlessness, irritability, or agitation may include pacing back and forth, sleeping a lot less, or difficulty getting settled and comfortable.
Shaking or Trembling
This one can be difficult to differentiate between pain, a dog feeling cold, or an aged dog who gets the involuntary shakes. Shaking and trembling can also be symptoms of other serious conditions, such as canine acute pancreatitis, kidney disease, or poisoning.
Pain Relief In Dogs
Arthritis and Joint Pain in Dogs
Canine arthritis is a very common condition among middle-aged and senior dogs. Arthritis can occur in some younger dogs, too. Since arthritis directly affects the joints, it can be very difficult and painful for our furry four-legged friends.
Canine arthritis can develop from an early age and develop into further problems regarding a dog’s bone and joint development.
Arthritis may be caused by the following:
- Abnormal rubbing of the join due to joint instability
- Autoimmune disorders
- Cushing’s disease
- Infection of the affected joint
- Ligament damage
- Cartilage deficits
- Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)
- Poor nutrition
- Trauma (e.g. fractures)
Arthritis-Related Conditions that may induce pain
Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hips, often leading to joint instability and excessive wear of cartilage, resulting in arthritis. Hip dysplasia can be treated with more options available the earlier your pet is diagnosed often with an orthopedic exam and X-rays.
Elbow dysplasia is a condition in dogs that involves multiple or grouped developmental abnormalities around 6 to 9 months of age, usually in large dog breeds. The abnormalities often develop into osteoarthritis.
Patellar luxation is more common in toy and small breeds. In this condition, the patella, or the kneecap, pops out of place and often pop towards the inside. This can lead to arthritis of the knees.
Cancer Pain in Dogs
Cancerous pain in dogs can be in the form of a tumor that presses on structures of the body, such as brain tumors, inflamed mast cell tumors, large bladder tumors, nasal tumors, and osteosarcoma. Other cancers, such as breast tumors, don’t seem to cause too much pain though. Pain that occurs when a tumor invades nearby tissue and expands. This is known as acute cancer pain. Pain can also occur in response to the toxic effects of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.
Neuropathic pain results from the damage to a nerve or from a part of the central nervous system, though often goes undiagnosed due to the inability of our dogs to indicate that they are experiencing tingling sensations as a symptom.
Veterinarians will often provide prescribed medication to help your pet deal and manage with pain. However, just like with any prescribed medication, we often find ourselves outweighing whether the benefits will outweigh the risks or side effects that often accompany medication. Understanding what side effects may accompany certain medications is crucial to being a responsible pet parent.
Side Effects of Traditionally Prescribed Medication
Anaphylaxis is a serious and life-threatening allergic reaction that can occur from taking medications.
Kidney or Liver Damage
Once the medication has been administered, it will eventually have to be broken down and excreted from the body. However, some side effects are idiosyncratic, or don’t occur as often and can be very difficult to diagnose which individuals may be at risk of kidney or liver damage.l Some common symptoms associated with the side effects of medication involving the kidneys or liver include diarrhea, increased thirst and urine, lethargy, poor appetite, and vomiting.
Lethargy, Weakness, and More
Some pain medications, such as butorphanol, buprenorphine, fentanyl morphine, opioids, and tramadol can cause lethargy or uneasiness in pets. Metronidazole, a commonly prescribed antibiotic, is known to have some side effects on the brain in senior pets or in high doses, and may also cause abnormal eye movements, seizures, unsteadiness, and weakness.
Sometimes parasiticides such as ivermectin or moxidectin may be prescribed by veterinarians, though are generally very low in dosage when it comes to heartworm prevention. Some herding breeds, such as Australian Shepherds, Collies, English Sheepdogs, Shetland Sheepdogs, and other related breeds have a mutated gene that makes them sensitive to macrocyclic lactones, a class of parasiticides. Some symptoms of toxicity in the body include blindness, coma, dilated pupils, death, drooling, mental dullness, tremors, seizures, vomiting, and unsteadiness.
Lumps and Bumps
Lumps and bumps are often a common side effect of medication administered via injection. Any indication of lumps and bumps to where the drug was injected will usually disappear over time, from the course of a few days to weeks. However, if the lump or bump still resides even after a few weeks, you should take your pup to the veterinarian to have it checked.
Some topical medications, such as flea and tick spot-on medication may irritate the skin and result in flaking, hair loss, itching, or redness of the skin and the surrounding fur. This may be due to negative reactions between the drug and your pet’s body chemistry, and can usually be fixed with gently washing the area with a mild soap and cool water and allowing it time to heal until the skin returns to normal. If this happens, it is best to avoid the drug and look for another natural alternative to flea and tick preventative medication.
Some drugs are commonly known to increase a pet’s risk for developing gastrointestinal ulcers, such as steroids (dexamethasone, prednisone, prednisolone, etc.) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (carprofen, firocoxib, deracoxib, etc.). These types of drugs should never be administered together, as they can increase the risk of ulceration. Gastrointestinal ulcers may lead to diarrhea that may contain blood or vomiting.
Vomiting and Diarrhea
Some side effects of the medication may include diarrhea, poor or loss of appetite, and vomiting. These are the most common side effects with drugs administered orally. These symptoms may subside over time as the body adjusts to the medication or administered along with a meal.
Certain medications, such as antibiotics, may also cause an upset in the gastrointestinal tract due to the drug’s disruption in bacteria in the gut and include symptoms such as diarrhea. Most often, probiotic supplements are accompanied by antibiotics to relieve diarrhea symptoms with antibiotics.
Alternative Natural Supplements and Therapies for Joint Pain
More and more people, pet owners included, are looking towards alternative therapies and natural supplements to avoid the nasty side effects accompanied with long-term drug use.
Of these, may include the following for pain relief:
- Massage therapy
For pet owners, however these alternative therapies may not be readily available and so pet owners are taking over with adding natural supplements into their dog’s diet to provide a natural alternative to pain relief.
A Natural Supplement: CBD Oil for Dog Pain Relief
CBD oil is a term that has taken storm in the holistic health industry for both human consumption and for pets alike. In fact, one of the most common uses for CBD oil is to help relieve pain. Thankfully, CBD can be used for dog pain relief, too. One of the best things about CBD is that it can be used along with traditional medications and treatments if needed.
There is anecdotal evidence that affirms the beneficial effects of CBD, or Cannabidiol, on a variety of serious canine conditions and diseases.
Can CBD Oil help dogs experiencing pain?
Yes! CBD Oil can help dogs who are suffering from the pain of all sorts. From canine arthritis to joint inflammation, to chronic neuropathy and even pain associated with cancer - CBD is definitely a choice pet owner hardly regretted investing in for their beloved four-legged friends.
CBD for and Its Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Pain
The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD are what plays a crucial role in helping to alleviate pain. The magic behind CBD is that it is a natural pain reliever with the use of Cannabinoids. The cannabinoids help with controlling the pain by inhibiting transmission of pain signals to the brain. It’s important to note that CBD won’t instantly and that it will take a couple of hours or a few doses before you notice any changes, depending on the condition you’re using it for.
An easy way to imagine how CBD works so well is to compare it to a keyhole. That’s right, a keyhole. That’s because when CBD is introduced to the body, it fits perfectly into the CB1 and CB2 receptors that are found in the Central Nervous and the Brain (CB1 Receptors) and in the peripheral organs, bones, skin, liver, and immune cells (CB2 Receptors). When compared to a keyhole, the CBD unlocks these receptors to improve an array of body systems, such as the appetite, cognition, emotions, memory, and motor activity for the Central Nervous System (CNS). In the peripheral organs, it works in the ovaries, prostate, salivary glands, and the testes.
The CB2 receptors that are found throughout the immune system in the gastrointestinal tract can also help with the regular function of the cells and has been known to ease the pain that is associated with several different chronic neurological disorders.
CBD For Dogs: A Few Things to Keep in Mind
Today, CBD is now being widely accepted as a safe, reliable, and well-tolerated alternative supplement for both humans and animals. What was once the stigma of anything related to marijuana, is now being discussed properly for individuals to fully maximize one of nature’s greatest healing plants.
If anything, it’s important to keep in mind that though CBD derived from Hemp is absolutely legal, you may be wondering, “Wait! So this is actually from Marijuana?!”
The answer is, yes, but Hemp is bred to contain only less than 0.03% THC - the psychoactive compound found in marijuana that we all know is the one responsible for inducing those crazy highs.
Before you plan to give CBD to your pet, it is important to note that dogs are much more sensitive to the effects of CBD and that they will require much smaller doses, unlike us humans. Here are some things you should keep in mind if you plan on adding CBD into your dog’s diet for his pain.
- As it is important with any medication or supplement, it is important that you get the dosing right. Since CBD is non-psychoactive, non-toxic, and practically incapable of overdosing, you’re pretty safe if you exceed a few more drops than is recommended, but it’s still a good idea to use structured, measured doses to see how well your dog responds to the treatment and gradually increase over time if needed.
With dosing, it’s important that you take note of the condition you want to use CBD for, the breed and size, and the strength or concentration of CBD that you have purchased.
Generally, CBD Oil is recommended in doses of 2-4 drops and administered 2-4 times daily.
We highly recommend that you check out our Hemp CBD Dosing Calculator to find out the best -recommended dosage for your pet depending on his weight in lbs.
Check out some of our Customer Reviews and what these other pet owners have to say about our CBD!
If you still haven’t gotten enough of CBD’s amazing benefits for pain, check out some of these other benefits CBD has to offer for our furry friends:
- Helps with epilepsy and seizures,
- Prevents and help fight against cancer,
- Reduces anxiety,
- Relieves pain,
- Reduces inflammation,
- Helps with bowel movement and disease,
- Improves heart health,
- Increases appetite,
- Protects the Nervous System,
- Proven Safe and Effective!