A Look At Pain Relief For Dogs

This guest post here at the Dog Blog is brought to you by Dog Fence DIY’s staff veterinarian Dr. Susan Wright. Dr. Wright enjoys spending time with her dogs and taking them on vacations to see new things. Dog Fence DIY will help you choose the right system for you, help you install it, and help train your pet to use the new system. Dog Fence DIY even carries the Petsafe Stubborn Dog system for the larger dogs.

As a dog owner, we really don’t like to see our dogs hurting. It’s distressing, and we want to do something to help him straight away. Sometimes, if he’s not yelping or obviously limping, it’s not as easy to tell if he’s in pain.

There are some things to look for to tell if he’s sore. He’ll be a bit quieter than normal, and may not be as interested in his favorite activities. He may also be off his food. One big giveaway is that he’s grumpier than usual, and may even behave out of character, for example he may snap at people when he’s never done that before.

There are lots of medical conditions which can cause pain in our dogs, such as arthritis, injuries, cancer, and abdominal disease. As well as treating your dog to resolve the particular condition, an important part of managing these problems is reducing pain.

Most veterinarians also now recognize that even the most routine surgical procedures, such as neutering, can be uncomfortable, and will prescribe pain medication for you to give your dog at home.

Pain relief medication for dogs comes in several forms: injection, tablet, oral liquids or even patches that are applied to the skin. The choice of medication for your dog depends on many factors – the risk of side effects, the severity of the pain, and of course, whether or not your dog will allow you to give him a pill.

The most common type of pain medications that are used in our dogs are the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAID’s. Some brand names you may be familiar with are Derramax, Metacam and Rimadyl for Dogs. These drugs are in the same family of drugs as aspirin and acetaminophen. They are very useful in treating arthritis, or in keeping your dog comfortable after surgery.

Unfortunately, drugs can have side effects, and the NSAID’s are no exception. They can cause kidney problems and ulcers in the stomach if used incorrectly, so do follow your vet’s guidelines if your dog has been prescribed these drugs.

On a similar note, never give your medication to a dog. Although there are many human medications that can be used in dogs, some of our drugs are positively dangerous. Ibuprofen can very quickly cause severe stomach bleeding in dogs. Aspirin can be beneficial to your dog, but again, don’t use it without veterinary advice, or your dog may develop a stomach ulcer.

For stronger pain, narcotics are very effective. Veterinarians often use these to treat cancer, and to keep dogs comfortable after orthopedic surgery. They are effective, but because there is the potential for them to be abused by a dog’s owner, their use is very tightly regulated.

Don’t rule out natural therapies in the management of pain in your dog. Acupuncture can be very useful, and even if it doesn’t completely stop the pain, it can reduce it enough so that you can use a lower dose of drug. This means that your dog has less of a risk of developing side effects.

These days, there is no need for any dog to suffer pain. If you can quickly recognize that he’s sore, and have him treated by your vet straight away, he’ll feel comfortable again very quickly.

5 Responses to “A Look At Pain Relief For Dogs”

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  1. Lindsay says:

    I’d heard that ibuprofen is bad for dogs, but I never knew why. Thanks for clarifying that.

    I typically don’t give my dog anything when he seems to have mild pain such as a sore paw or leg. If I give him pain medicine, then he is more likely to run around and hurt himself further since he will forget that he is hurt. I tend to do the same thing myself!

  2. Three Dog Blogger says:


    I am the same. I used to hurt my back quite often back when mixing concrete seemed to be my life. I was loathe to take meds in case I would do something I shouldn’t as I was unsure how much trouble my back was really in.

  3. Jana says:

    Most commonly used doesn’t always mean the best. I personally had a bad experience with NSAIDs. I think what happens is that most people go after the most common first, and only if that doesn’t work out, they go searching for alternatives, which are safer and often just as much effective.

    Acupuncture for example can bring very good results in treating arthritis.

    For arthritis, from personal experience, my recommendation is to consider stem cell regenerative therapy.

    On that note, I believe that it is always better to try to treat than manage.


  4. Dog Pain says:

    If your pets are suffering from pain, the last thing you need is to invest in a product that is not clinically approved, and does not or might not work. Offering clinical approval of a unique ingredient not available elsewhere, and from a company deemed reliable, and offering a money back guarantee, you really don’t have much to lose.

  5. A bit late on this post but I absolutely agree with Dr Wright about the human medications. Some are safe but you should always speak to a veterinarian before you give them. Ibuprofen is well and truly on the list of no-no’s. Veterinary prescription drugs are best – NSAIDs or pain killers such as Tramadol. If you want more information on what human drugs you might get away with in an emergency you can check some posts on my arthritis blog: http://www.dogarthritisblog.info/category/dog-arthritis-medication-2/dog-anti-inflammatory-drugs/