What to Give Your Dog For Pain?
Countless studies have shown that sharing your home with a dog is an excellent way to reduce stress levels, boost happiness, and improve overall health and wellbeing. That said, there is nothing more stressful than a sick or injured dog. When we have headaches or sore joints, we simply pop a few of our favorite over-the-counter painkillers and carry on with our day. When our dogs seem to be in pain, however, it can feel like the world is ending—Fido can’t tell us where it hurts or what medications they can take, so we’re left trying to figure out how we can alleviate their symptoms in a way that is both safe and effective.
Many pet owners find themselves frantically combing through their home pharmacy when their furry friend is feeling under the weather, but is this a good idea? Which over-the-counter drugs are safe for canines? What can you give your dog for pain?
In an ideal situation, you would not give your dog anything without first consulting a veterinarian. For your dog’s safety, most experts agree that it is best to have your dog examined by a vet before you go trying to treat their symptoms on your own. Many cats and dogs become ill and some even die as a result of improperly administered over-the-counter medications. If you must give your dog an over-the-counter medication, stick with simple baby aspirin in small doses. In order to figure out the proper dosage, you will need to know your dog’s weight—or, even better, ask a veterinarian.
Though some pet owners swear by various NSAIDs, baby aspirin is the only one that most veterinarians will agree can be safe for the treatment of pain caused by short-term health conditions, such as an injury. If you are looking to treat chronic pain, do not start your dog on an aspirin regimen without contacting a veterinarian—this drug can increase your dog’s risk of bleeding if it is administered regularly in the long term. If you talk to your vet, they will be able to prescribe NSAIDs made specifically for canines, such as carprofen and meloxicam.
Things to Keep in Mind
Whatever you do, do not give your dog Tylenol—acetaminophen is extremely toxic to cats and dogs. This drug kills several hundred pet dogs every single year. Even if this drug does not kill your dog, it can cause permanent damage to the liver and kidneys.
Aleve, commonly known as naproxen, is also not recommended for canines. This drug is often used to treat arthritis pain in humans, but it can have a wide variety of potentially dangerous side effects if it is used in canines.
In general, it is not a good idea to try to treat your dog’s pain at home for a couple reasons. Firstly, our dogs can’t speak to us, so we have a limited ability to diagnose and treat whatever it is that ails them. While it may be obvious that your dog is in pain, in many situations, you will not be able to tell what is causing the pain. Sometimes it will be minor aches and pains, arthritis, headaches, or indigestion. Other times, the pain may be a symptom of a serious, potentially life-threatening underlying problem.
Because your dog is unable to keep you updated on how they are feeling, the only way you can monitor them is to watch their symptoms. If you give your dog pain pills to try to alleviate their discomfort, you are essentially blinding yourself to the evidence of whatever is harming them. You may be able to temporarily relieve your furry friend’s suffering, but, in doing so, you may be delaying much-needed veterinary care. If your dog’s pain is part of a more serious health condition, treating their pain without addressing the underlying problem may cost them their life.
If your dog’s pain is severe enough for you to notice, it is entirely possible that they need veterinary care sooner rather than later. Every minute you spend messing around with over-the-counter drugs is a minute that their problem may be getting worse. You should skip at-home treatments altogether and seek professional help if your dog’s pain is sudden, severe, or accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting, abdominal bloating, wheezing, or bleeding.
In the end, baby aspirin is the best option for pet owners looking to treat their dogs’ pain at home. Consult a veterinarian to figure out the appropriate dosage and monitor them carefully. If your dog develops symptoms like behavioral changes, loss of appetite, skin problems, vomiting, or diarrhea after taking baby aspirin, stop administering the drug and take them to see the vet—they may be having a reaction.
However, the best thing can do if your dog seems to be in pain is take them to a veterinarian. Treating your dog’s symptoms at home is risky.