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Pain Relief For Dogs – Pain Management Tips For Dogs And Cats

Pain Relief For Dogs
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Plenty of things may go wrong with your dog or cat. But, one point is certain; a pet’s bad behavior could be due to severe pain also.

Pet pain is not a topic that has gained a lot of attention because they cannot talk like us.

Shedding tears and loud crying will help humans get some attention. But in the pet world, especially in dogs’, pain can force them to attack.

Dogs are masters in disguising their pain.

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Signs Of Pain In Pets - A Brief Introduction

Your pet may be in serious pain, although it may seem normal. It is necessary for the owners to understand the behavioral symptoms of the pets.

You can easily recognize when your pet is pain and take her to a vet if you are aware of these signs.

  • The pet becomes sedentary or hesitates to play when in pain
  • Reduced level of activity obviously means something is wrong
  • Signs of lameness or eating less than normal can also mean they are in pain
  • They can react unfriendly, purr, whimper, or cry
  • Your dog or cat might lay flat or “clamp” the tail between the legs or close
  • Pet, like humans, can behave stoically
  • Things that can hurt a human can also hurt your pet
  • Inability to sleep
  • Limping
  • Depression
  • Increased heart rate
  • Trembling

Pain Symptoms In Dogs

Dogs do feel pain just like us and the reason could range from cancer, bone disease, Urinary tract infections, arthritis, dental problems, and infections.

You, as the owner, is the right person to find out whether your dog is really is in pain or not.

It’s crucial to remain receptive to these simple signs because the faster your pet’s pain is treated, the faster they can resume their normal life.

In case, if you find these signs in your dog and suspect it might have been because of pain, contact your vet immediately.

Posture

  • Lays sideways
  • Hunched, with hindquarters front end kept down on the earth

Aggressive

  • Behaves abnormally
  • Bites, hisses, and growls
  • Pins ear back
  • An aggressive dog behaving docile and quiet

Grooming

  • Hair stands vertically up in several places
  • Coat lacks a healthy shine

Vocalizing

  • Grunting
  • Groaning
  • Yelping
  • Whimpering
  • Howling
  • Whining

Self-protection

  • Hides
  • Dislikes when picked up or held
  • Limps
  • Stands without putting weight
  • Safeguards a body part

Self-Mutilation

  • Scratching a particular body part
  • Biting a body part
  • Licking

Activity Level

  • Seeks continuous affection and love
  • Lying very still, circling, or trembling
  • Repetitively changes position
  • Finding it hard to get up
  • Reluctant to move
  • Restless

Daily Habits

  • Sleeps in excess
  • Finding hard to concentrate on housetraining
  • Changes in drinking and sleeping pattern
  • Moves away from social interaction
  • Decreased appetite

Avoid Treating Your Pet At Home

Never ever give pain medications without talking to your vet. After identifying the exact reason, your vet will definitely explain the cost, risks, and benefits associated with different treatment options.

That way, you can choose the best approach that ideally suits the needs of your dog.

If your vet gives a pain medication

Dos

  • Keep the drug securely away from your children and pets
  • Stop medicating and contact your vet if you witness these signs:
  • Changes in skin (scratching, scabs, or redness)
  • Yellowing of whites of eyes, skin, or gums
  • Appears restless or depressed
  • Change in urinating and drinking behavior
  • Blood in stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Always keep your vet informed about your pet

Don’ts

  • Don’t think twice to call your vet in case if you have any queries
  • Stop giving other unprescribed drugs to your dog without consulting your vet
  • Avoid changing the frequency or dosage of medication unless mentioned by your vet

How To Know If Your Cat Is In Pain Or Not?

Cats are brilliant actors. Never underestimate them.

Cat pain results due to several things such as urinary tract infections, arthritis and also common due to a surgical procedure.

If you find your cat showing these signs of pain, inform your vet immediately.

Aggressive

  • Pins ears back
  • Bites, hisses, and growls
  • Acts abnormally

Posture

  • Tucks in abdomen or arches back
  • Lays with feet lying underneath

Self-Mutilation

  • Scratching a particular organ of its body
  • Biting
  • Licking

Self-Protection

  • Refuses to climb into arms
  • Walks without putting weight on the limbs
  • Protects a body part

Daily Habits

  • Sleeps nonstop for hours together
  • Looks unkempt
  • Passes urine frequently
  • Refuses to pass urine in the litter box
  • Changes in drinking or sleeping habits
  • Decreased appetite
  • Stays away from social interaction

Vocalizing

  • Growling
  • Hissing
  • Purring
  • Meowing

Facial Expressions

  • Pants while resting
  • Flattened ears
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Looks sleepy, wide-eyed, or glazed
  • Vacant stare, furrowed brow, grimaces

Activity Level

  • Hides
  • Avoids being handled or petted
  • Seeks more love and care
  • Limps
  • Finds it hard to limp high
  • Shakes or trembles
  • Gets up and rests often
  • Has a problem getting up after lying down
  • Don’t want to move
  • Restless

Seek Your Vet’s Advice

Vets can provide medications for procedures including extractions, dental cleanings, neutering or spaying.

Medications are given before the day the treatment actually starts.

Pain can be easily eliminated and managed in pets, making way for them to return to their normal activity.

Never Treat Your Cat At Home

  • Don’t give painkillers to your cat without consulting with your vet
  • Many human painkillers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen are dangerous and can be fatal
  • Different pain medications are available to treat different kinds of pain
  • After analyzing your pet’s condition, the vet will offer the right advice
  • Choose the best plan for you as well as for your pet

Natural Pain Relief For Dogs - 10 Herbs For Pain Relief

If you’re buddy ever had surgery or suffers in pain, your vet would have prescribed NSAIDs to relieve inflammation and pain.

These drugs can cause a lot of side effects even though vets prescribe them for pain relief.

Demerits of giving NSAIDs to dogs-

  • Joint damage
  • Chronic dry eye or blindness
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney toxicity
  • Peptic ulcers, gastritis, and digestive upset

When you wish to control pain in your dog, try these herbs that are much safer than vet prescribed drugs.

10 Natural Pain Relief Medications for Dogs

1. Capsicum spp or cayenne

Cayenne is found in hot chili pepper. It contains capsaicin, a compound that has the capacity to block pain.

They are very effective pain relievers.

Directions for use

Try creams or ointments containing capsicum. Topical application reduces pain and activates the body’s anti-inflammatory reaction.

It also comes in a gel tablet. Add a small amount of powdered capsicum to your dog’s daily food.

If your dog suffers from a sensitive stomach, stop using this on a  regular basis.

2. Turmeric ( Curcuma longa)

Turmeric is actually a root from the flowering plant ginger. It is famous for it’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and pain relieving properties.

The ancient system of medicine, Ayurveda, has long advocated the merits of this medicine for arthritis.

Many reports have been published about the healing properties of turmeric in many wide-ranging issues.

Directions for use

You can simply buy the root and grate it into your pet’s food. For a better response, add turmeric to some fat product along with black pepper.

When buying turmeric, it is advisable to choose a health store item and not cooking turmeric or grocery store product.

Note – Turmeric will stain your clothes if you don’t take precautions to wash your hand every time after handling it.

3. Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)

This herb is best known for its ability to heal connective tissue and bone injuries.

Horsetails contain bioactive silicon. It helps in the formation of connective tissues, skin, cartilage, and bone.

These herbs are recommended for post-surgical trauma as well.

In case of joint injuries, it gels well with nettle, comfrey, along with chondroitin and glucosamine supplements.

Directions for use

Give dogs not more than ¼ Tsp per day per 20 pounds of body weight.

Note – Avoid using horsetails for pets with cardiac or hypertension issues. It can cause breast milk to alter the flavor and hence lactating dogs should avoid this herb.

4. Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)

Alfalfa offers some exceptional health benefits. Considered as a boon for arthritis problem, alfalfa is safe to be given as a supplement to help older dogs and arthritis.

It works well with licorice, yucca, and dandelion.

Buying certified organic items is recommended because of genetically modified alfalfa in stores today. Alfalfa grows fast but contains weed-like tendencies.

Directions for use

You can add a small pinch of alfalfa for every 10 pounds of body weight.

Note – Avoid using alfalfa seeds and also before it starts flowering. Seeds contain I-canavanine and in some animals, it causes blood-related disorders.

It can lead to allergic responses in pets. The presence of saponin can lead to colic in horses.

5. Yucca (Yucca schidigera)

Yucca roots are known to have many medicinal and nutritional properties.

Its primary constituents include steroidal saponins. This property has the capacity to relieve inflammation and joint pain in human arthritis cases.

Many holistic animal vets claim yucca offers more than 50% to 85% success rate in treating rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Directions for use

Feed your dog at least ½ Tsp of powdered and dried root per pound of food on a daily basis.  Try low alcohol tincture feeding 1/8 Tsp.

Yucca works well with alfalfa, dandelion, and licorice.

Note – This herb can disturb the stomach when given over a longer duration. It can cause vomiting in certain cases.

Never feed your dog on a daily basis and give a 48-hour break.

6. Ginger (Zinger officinalis)

These herbs are good for the digestive tract. Ginger relieves nausea and gastric related troubles. It reduces pain caused due to arthritis.

This happens when ginger prevents the immune system from automatically producing leukotrienes.

For older dogs, ginger can increase circulation.

Directions for use

Remove the ginger skin using a peeler and then mince the root finely. Mix this into your dog’s daily diet.

Feeding ratio

  • Larger dogs – ¾ Tsp
  • Medium sized dogs or dogs up to 35 lbs – 1/2 Tsp
  • Miniature breeds – 1/2 Tsp

The ginger flavor is really strong, so start with a very small dosage.

Note – Avoid using ginger if your dog is taking anticoagulant drugs. It can also lower blood pressure and blood sugar.

Contact your vet.

7. Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens)

This is a plant that acts as a body tonic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory. Its main item is harpagoside and can reduce inflammation and pain drastically.

Devil’s claw is ideal for muscle pain and arthritis.

Directions for use

It is sold mainly as a human item. Take your own time before buying it. Do your own research.

Note – Don’t feed this herb to lactating, pregnant, or diabetic dogs. This herb can interact with certain hypertension and cardiac drugs.

8. Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

A distinct member coming from the pea family, and its roots have medicinal properties.

The main advantage of licorice is its ability to treat arthritis.

Most studies have agreed that it’s an anti-inflammatory product and fast acting agent.

Some experts state that its main component glycyrrhizin raises effectiveness when added in a compound manner.

This compound’s chemical structure looks similar to corticosteroids minus the negative effects.

Directions for use

An alcohol tincture reduces the roots to the right texture. Start with 20 drops for every 20 pounds of body weight.

Try to make licorice root tea.

Note – Don’t use the content for more than a fortnight. For a longer period, consult a holistic and herbalist vet.

Nursing, pregnant, and diabetic dogs are exempted.

9. Boswellia (Boswellia serrata)

Frankincense or Boswellia is a compound extracted from a tree’s bark. It consists of phytochemicals that reduce the growth of leukotrienes.

This compound is known to cause inflammation.

It’s effective against inflammation and arthritis pain when combined with turmeric.

If you buy a human-based product, assume the ingredient is suitable for a fully grown adult, and make changes for your pet’s weight.

Directions for use

If you prefer to use boswelia alone, feed it along with the dog food not more than 5-10 mg.

This herb does not produce adverse side effects in dogs and in some cases, flatulence and diarrhea is the common problem.

10. Comfrey(Symphytum officinale)

Comfrey herb consists of a variety of ailments, right from pain to cancer to digestive issues.

Allantoin, a chemical that enhances cell reproduction is present in this herb. Other compounds such as rosmarinic acid offer pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties as well.

Directions for use

For therapeutic use, provide your dog around 0.5 to 1 Tsp. Try to make a poultice using the comfrey leaf.

Note

  • This herb contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids (Pas) and it can lead to liver problems.
  • The PA content is not more than 0.3% but the roots contain more PA compared to the leaves.
  • Avoid using this product in lactating and pregnant dogs or those with a history of liver disease.

Can I Give My Dog Aspirin?

We all hate to see pets in pain. Before you decide to self-medicate your pet, call your vet. Vets do suggest aspirin for dogs.  Take a look at the side effects of this drug.

What is Aspirin?

It is an anti-inflammatory, nonsteroidal, and an NSAID drug. They are put in the same bracket that includes carprofen, naproxen, and ibuprofen.

NSAIDS drugs treat fever, inflammation, and pain. It also aids in stopping blood from clotting. It is an anti-coagulant.

Why do vets suggest aspirin for dogs?

Vets usually suggest this drug for dogs with musculoskeletal inflammation or osteoarthritis. The anti-inflammatory traits of aspirin effectively reduce inflammation and pain.

They also prescribe aspirin to handle a range of conditions.

Side Effects of Aspirin

Aspirin is quite safe for dogs.  This is only possible if you just follow all the instructions given by your vet without any deviation.

Negative reactions are not uncommon.

If you find these symptoms, stop giving and contact your vet

  • Black, tarry stool
  • Ulceration
  • Mucosal erosion
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Signs of aspirin overdose

  • Death
  • Coma
  • Seizure
  • Hemorrhage
  • Acid-based abnormalities
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

After giving your dog aspirin, kindly monitor his behavior.

Some of the signs of adverse reactions include changes in

  • Personality
  • Bowel movements
  • Urination
  • Activity level
  • Appetite

Aspirin can cause more side effects than drugs like Rimadyl.  Kindly watch your dog closely.

How much aspirin is right for my dog?

Aspirin is not approved by the FDA and there are no proper reports to suggest the correct level of aspirin dosage for dogs.

Depending on your dog’s condition, give a dosage in the range of 10 to 40 mg/kg. The dosage can change based on your dog’s health condition.

After enquiring about the right kind of dosage, ask your vet what type of aspirin you should purchase.

Enteric-coated aspirin is manufactured to safeguard human stomachs from irritation. These are not recommended for dogs because of the digestion problem.

The medication is excreted via the dog’s stool.

Talk freely to your vet about other medications your dog is currently taking and inform your vet if your pet is pregnant or not.

Substitutes to Aspirin for Canines

  • Based on your dog’s condition, your vet can suggest other alternatives to aspirin.
  • Carprofen is suggested to treat osteoarthritis.
  • If your vet decides not to prescribe aspirin, do not give medications without his approval.
  • Bear in mind that many human drugs lead to different adverse reactions in dogs.
  • Never pop medicines like Tylenol without talking to your vet.
  • Take your own time and do research about aspirin.
  • You administer the correct dosage. Closely monitor his movements.

Pain Medications For Dogs

If you find your dog behaving awkwardly, it could be due to pain. He could have a disease, an infection, or an injury. Or maybe your dog is getting old.

When your dog cringes, you wish to see him normal. Never try home medication without talking to your vet. Your vet will prescribe medication after checking your dog’s health condition and his health history.

NSAIDs

NSAIDs reduce joint pain, stiffness, and swelling in humans. They can help a dog suffering from arthritis.

Never give your dog something from your kitchen shelf. There are some NSAIDs for dogs:

  • Meloxicam(Metacam)
  • Firocoxib(Previcox)
  • Deracoxib(Deramaxx)
  • Carprofen(Rimadyl)

In some cases, these drugs are known to cause digestive, liver, or kidney problems.

Check for these signs to find out whether your dog is suffering from NSAIDs side effects

  • Behavior changes
  • Eating less
  • Skin scabs, redness
  • Tarry vomiting, diarrhea, stool

If you find these signs, call your vet.

Other Medications

Vets mostly prescribe  NSAIDs painkillers. You can ask for other medications or your vet will suggest tramadol or gabapentin.

Tramadol

This works like mild opioid medications. Vets prescribe it to dogs with regular discomfort.

Some side effects associated with tramadol medications include-

  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Upset stomach

Gabapentin

Gabapentin relieves pain from nerve issues in dogs and humans.

It may look as if your dog is doing nothing other than sleep in the first few days.  After some time, it will disappear.

Vets prescribe stronger medications only for the time being. They are well aware that giving steroids for pain can cause serious problems.

Popular supplements

Popular supplements, like chondroitin and glucosamine, are strong alternative treatments.

They are supposed to help cartilage repair and reduce swelling.  They supplement may lubricate existing cartilage.

Always consult your vet before prescribing any medications.

Be confident and give the medications as per your vet recommendations.

You can’t remove your entire dog’s entire pain, but you can reduce his suffering to a large extent.

Kindly remember that what cures your dog may not work for your neighbor’s dog.

What Painkillers Are Safe For Dogs?

Aspirin For dogs

Aspirin is widely used with dogs to alleviate pain on a short term, such as after major surgery or an injury.

These drugs can rupture the intestinal lining and stomach causing inflammation and ulcers. Salicylate is the main ingredient present in these medications.

Overdose can produce disastrous results. Advil and Aspirin have never been permitted for vet use.

Recommended use- 5 to 10mg per lbs of your pet’s weight.

Tylenol For dogs

It is a pain-reducing drug given to dogs.  Tylenol is a mixture of codeine and acetaminophen. This medication does not alleviate inflammation.

Ibuprofen For dogs

These drugs should never be given without talking to your vet. The normal dosage is not more than 5-8mg per kg of your dog’s weight.

This medicine is not recommended for cats.

Ibuprofen poisoning is possible, and even small amounts can lead to adverse side effects.

Never give any painkillers to your dog without consulting a registered vet.

Pain Killers Considered Safe For Dogs

Dog painkillers include meloxicam, firocoxib, deracoxib, and carprofen, each of these can be suggested by your vet.

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