Although most dogs experience bouts of pain at one time or another in their lives, some dogs experience chronic pain on a daily basis. Certain conditions such as arthritis and hip dysplasia can cause excruciating pain and limited mobility in dogs. There are a variety of different dog pain relief options that can be employed, depending on the severity and type of pain that the dog is experiencing. One of the most common forms of pain relief for dogs are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS. We humans know these medications very well because millions of us take them everyday in the form of aspirin and ibuprofen. Although these medications are generally safe and are highly effective in relieving canine pain and inflammation, they can cause stomach distress in dogs, just like they can in humans. If owners notice that their dogs are losing their appetites or are having bloody stools, they should stop the medication immediately.
Since NSAIDS can cause gastrointestinal ulcers and bleeding, the dog should be monitored when receiving this type of analgesic. Although NSAIDS such as Ibuprofen work well in humans, they should not be thought of as as pain relief options for dogs. Instead, NSAIDS such as Piroxicam and Meloxicam are usually prescribed by the veterinarian. In addition to these medications, other pain relief options for dogs include Carprofen, which is related to ibuprofen, and Tepoxalin.
When dogs are suffering from severe pain, they, like humans might require narcotic pain relievers. Since narcotic addiction is only a problem for humans, this pain relief option for dogs is generally safe when used under the supervision of the veterinarian. Narcotic pain relievers are useful in treating severe pain and restoring comfort in dogs, but they can cause side effects such as extreme sedation and vomiting. They can also cause constipation, so it’s important to make sure the dog consumes adequate fluid intake to reduce the risk of constipation. Acetaminophen based pain relievers are not typically given to dogs, because their effectiveness has not been thoroughly proven.
Non-pharmaceutical methods of dog pain relief options include acupuncture and it is sometimes recommended for chronic pain because of the lack of side effects. Sometimes, however, acupuncture treatments need to be repeated and finding a canine acupuncturist can be challenging is some parts of the country.