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If you notice your dog isn't quite themselves lately, it could be because they are in pain. They could have an injury, an infection, or a disease. Or maybe they are starting to feel the aches of aging.
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Because NSAIDs are usually good at relieving pain, veterinarians don't often prescribe other kinds of painkillers. But sometimes, your dog may need more options. Your vet may talk to you about gabapentin or tramadol.
Ask for a written copy of the treatment plan, as well as instructions (and a demonstration) for how to give the medicines to your pet. Be sure to give the drug only as your vet recommends. Too much or too little can cause problems. Don't share medications between dogs. What's good for one animal may not be the right thing for another.
In general, there are some medications that both people and dogs can take, such as certain heart medications, thyroid medications, and antibiotics. However, even if it is safe for dogs to take a specific human medication, the dosing is usually different.
As a negative side effect, however, the medications can block essential body functions like protecting the lining of the stomach and intestines, maintaining blood flow to the kidneys, and supporting platelet function.
It is important to give your dog only NSAIDs that your vet has approved, and to work closely with your veterinarian while your dog is taking them. Some NSAIDs are available over the counter and others are by prescription. Some pets, such as dogs with pre-existing liver or kidney disease, may not be able to take this class of medication.
These are natural ways to enhance pain control when a pet cannot tolerate medications or needs added benefits. Many of these therapies have terrific results and can be a rewarding way to help your pet.
Veterinarians prescribe pain relievers to dogs in many situations. Reasons include controlling post-surgical pain, pain associated with dental procedures, pain following injury, pain from diseases, such as pancreatitis or urinary tract disorders, intervertebral disc disease pain, nerve root pain, painful skin conditions and osteoarthritis.
When a dog acts sore, most pet parents will look for over-the-counter (OTC) pain meds for dogs for the convenience and comparable low cost to prescription medication. So, what OTC meds can you give your dog for pain?
OTC pain relief for dogs is available in the form of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), but not all OTC pain relief for dogs is safe. Take, for example, aspirin. Many pet parents want to know if it is safe for dogs. In the short term, aspirin is likely safe in most dogs, but it is not recommended for long-term pain control in dogs because of the risk of stomach ulcers and bleeding disorders. Before giving aspirin to your dog, talk with your veterinarian about what dose to give your dog for pain.
Other OTC pain meds for dogs, such as naproxen or ibuprofen, should NOT be given to dogs. Both have narrow margins of safety and can be very toxic in dogs. Acetaminophen, or Tylenol, also poses serious risks to dogs and should not be given except under the strict guidance of a veterinarian.
There are several options for natural pain relief for dogs. CBD oil is purported to be a natural painkiller for dogs, and a recent study published out of Cornell showed that CBD oil is effective at helping to control pain in arthritic dogs.
Another option for natural pain relief for dogs are the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA found in fish oil. A 2016 study reported that fish oil statistically improved symptoms in dogs with osteoarthritis dosed at 75 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day.
Turmeric has been getting a lot of attention in the press for its anti-inflammatory properties in human pain control. But turmeric is not well absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract of dogs, and is generally not very effective in pain control.
If you suspect your dog is in pain, schedule a consultation with your veterinarian and share your concerns. Be specific in the signs you are noticing, because this will give your veterinarian clues as to where your dog hurts. Your veterinarian will conduct a physical exam, share the findings with you and make recommendations for additional testing and/or pain management.
If your veterinarian recommends testing, then do it. The information always proves valuable. For example, I have seen dogs who were diagnosed with arthritis from the physical exam and no X-rays were taken. After prescribed pain medications offered no improvement, the dogs were brought back for X-rays, only to find a bone tumor.
When a person is experiencing pain, he or she can run to the drug store to choose one of many options to help manage their pain, including both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications. Further, many drugs and therapies are available to treat specific types of pain (e.g. tooth pain, sore muscles, headache, etc.).
In dogs, treatment options for pain are not as accessible. This is because fewer options for pain exist in dogs, and most pain medications are potentially very dangerous when given incorrectly. This is especially true when pain medications used in people are given to dogs. People and dogs metabolize or process pain medications very differently. So giving ANY human drug to a dog carries a risk of causing very serious health issues, even death.
There are no readily available OTC pain meds for dogs. Most OTC (over-the-counter) pain medications that are made for people, such as naproxen or ibuprofen, should never be given to dogs. Even at very small doses, they can cause life-threatening gastrointestinal (GI) ulcers, liver failure, and/or kidney failure. Lethal effects of these medications can occur very quickly, meaning that even with treatment, pets can die from eating only one dose.A few OTC pain medications are potentially safe in dogs, such as aspirin or acetaminophen. However, both have a very low margin of safety, meaning that they can be extremely unsafe even if used correctly. Further, they are only useful for pain in certain situations (e.g. arthritis or a joint injury not associated with bleeding/trauma) and can be harmful with other causes of pain (e.g. gastrointestinal/GI pain, pain from infection, intervertebral disc disease/herniated disc). Neither aspirin nor acetaminophen should ever be given to a dog without consulting a veterinarian first. To use these types of medications properly, a correct diagnosis for the cause of pain is needed. Plus, several canine-approved prescriptions are available that are safer and will work better, so it is rarely worth the high risks to use them.
NSAIDs are a type of pain medication that also decreases inflammation. They are cyclo-oxygenase or COX inhibitors, which are enzymes involved in pain and inflammation.Resolving inflammation can provide additional relief and quicker improvementfrom the issue causing the pain.
Opioids or opioid-like medications control pain but not inflammation. In many cases, they are used for very severe pain because they work on pain receptors. NSAIDs and opioids or opioid-like medications are sometimes used together to maximize control of both pain and inflammation. Examples of opioids include buprenorphine, codeine, butorphanol, and fentanyl. An example of an opioid-like medication is tramadol. Again, cost varies based on size of the pet and type used. Oral tramadol may range from $20-50, whereas a fentanyl pain patch may cost $50-100. Opioids are becoming more difficult to obtain for veterinarians because of their use as a recreational drug in people. This could mean the cost may increase as opioids become more difficult to dispense safely.
Gabapentin is a type of seizure medication that has proven useful for neuropathic pain in dogs. Neuropathic pain refers to pain associated with nerves, so its uses are limited compared to NSAIDs and opioids. Cost usually ranges from $20-40.
Therapeutic laser is an alternative treatment for pain when medications are not helping or cannot be used. The laser used falls within a type of laser classification that offers improvement in pain and healing speed. Acupuncture, ideally performed by a certified veterinary specialist, is another option that can be used when pain medications are not enough. Both laser therapy and acupuncture tend to be more useful in pets with chronic pain, but improvement can be seen with certain other types of pain as well. Laser and acupuncture pricing ranges quite a bit. Laser therapy sessions may be $50-150 a session, and acupuncture tends to cost $75-150 per session.In patients that have injuries associated with muscles, bones, or joints, physical therapy can be an option for helping improve pain. Again, a veterinary specialist is ideal for such cases, as poorly performed physical therapy can also make the problem worse. Physical therapy can be costly, ranging from $50-200 a session.
Distraction: Distraction is another great way to help your painful pup. Pet him gently, offer him treats, and keep him comfortable. A favorite chew bone, squeaky toy, or a Kong stuffed with peanut butter can be a distraction from minor injuries and pain while waiting to see the vet.
An Embrace Pet Insurance policy includes access to the PawSupport 24/7 Pet Health Line, which can provide guidance on what to give your dog for pain relief. Contact us to learn more about a policy and our 24/7 Pet Health Line if you need pet insurance for your dog.
With the notable exception of acetaminophen, all the medications listed in the introduction are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, commonly called NSAIDs. These drugs are widely used in both people and animals for their pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Veterinarians often prescribe NSAIDS for dogs with osteoarthritis, a condition where cartilage - the protective material that cushions a joint between two bones - breaks down over time, causing the bones to rub against each other. This rubbing can permanently damage the joint and cause pain, inflammation, and lameness. Veterinarians also often use NSAIDs to manage pain after surgery in both dogs and cats. 041b061a72