There are few things worse than knowing that your beloved four-legged companion is in pain. Pet parents should be aware that dogs are notorious for hiding when they are in distress. Therefore, when they do start showing signs, the pain is usually pretty severe. A speedy trip to the vet will likely leave you with a medication you're unfamiliar with, and one that comes with a slew of potential side effects. It's no wonder so many people are searching for safe, natural pet products and remedies to help relieve pain.
Luckily, there is hope and we are here to help as much as possible. In this article, we will discuss the knowledge needed to dog pain symptoms, the dangers of conventional medication that you should be aware of, and finally, how to relieve and prevent pain. Let's get to it!
Is my dog in pain? Spotting the telltale signs
The first step in relieving pain and discomfort is being able to recognize it. Again, it's instinctual for dogs to hide the fact that they are in pain. Therefore, if you find any of the following dog pain symptoms it is important to act straight away.
Energy levels are a major clue when uncovering pain in dogs. If your dog is typically full of life and is now glued to the couch, it's very likely that something isn't right, be it pain or sickness.
Alongside energy levels is reclusiveness. If Fido is usually a social butterfly and is now hiding in the corner or under your bed when company arrives, chances are something is up. This is also in large part due to the fact that a dog in distress is nervous about being touched as playtime is now associated with pain.
The next sign of pain in dogs is both biting themselves and nipping at others. A dog in pain will oftentimes bite and lick the affected area. When someone or something gets to close to them, they tend to lash out in fear.
The most noticeably visible sign of distress is swelling and inflammation. While physical symptoms are more difficult to hide, you'd be surprised how many doting pet parents can still overlook these changes. It is imperative to keep a close eye on Fido and take note of any differences you may find.
Tail & eyes
Finally, dogs in pain often show it in their tail and eyes. If your dog's tail is typically upright and is now sagging between their legs, it is something to take note of. Additionally, dogs in pain will oftentimes have diluted pupils or bloodshot eyes. They may also have loopy, "sick" eyes like many people have when they aren't feeling their best.
Recognizing all of the aforementioned symptoms of pain require pet owners to know their dog's "normal." It takes knowing your dog's typical behavior and personality traits in order to distinguish when something isn't right.
The truth about conventional meds
Once you recognize that your dog is in pain it's only natural that you want to do anything and everything to relieve it. With that being said, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Conventional medications do not come without risk. While in some cases these drugs are necessary, other times they may not be worth the potential adverse reactions that they can cause.
- Ibuprofen – found in Advil, Motrin and Nuprin
- Acetaminophen – found in Tylenol and many decongestants
- Naproxen – found in Aleve
A quick Google search will lead you to articles claiming that these drugs are safe for dogs in small dosages. However, all dogs are different and there is no telling how your pup may react. Be sure to consult a veterinarian for trusted advice.
Furthermore, NSAIDs (or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are also commonly prescribed for dogs. Again, there are occasions that NSAIDs may be necessary, however, pet owners must understand the risks.
Potential side effects of NSAIDs include:
- Severe, painful intestinal issues
- Bleeding of the gastrointestinal tract
- Vomiting (with or without blood)
- Diarrhea (with or without blood)
- Lethargy and weakness
- Liver dysfunction
- Liver failure
- Kidney problems
- Kidney failure
As you can see, the use of NSAIDs should be closely monitored and used only when absolutely necessary.
Natural pain remedies for dogs
Thankfully, there are all natural alternatives for relieving Fido's pain that have virtually no potential adverse reactions.
Research continues to show that turmeric offers significant anti-inflammatory benefits. Turmeric for dogs is not only an effective way to relieve present inflammation and associated pain, but it also serves as a powerful preventative. Turmeric also has natural antioxidant properties that may help with joint issues and promote longevity.
Another all natural anti-inflammatory herb is feverfew. This herb traditionally has been used to address headaches and joint discomfort in people, and it can also be effective and safe for helping our furry friends.
Something that you may want to consider adding to your dog's diet is a glucosamine supplement. Glucosamine is a wonderful supplement for aging dogs and is incredibly effective in treating and preventing joint conditions such as hip dysplasia.
Finally, just like in people, a lack of exercise is directly correlated with a slew of health conditions. Don't underestimate the powerful preventative that proper exercise for pets can truly be. Making sure that your dog is getting plenty of activity (both physical and mental) can be one of the easiest ways for pet parents to ensure they live a long, happy life.
At the end of the day, you want what's best for your dog. We firmly believe that knowledge is power. Get to know your dog's state of normal; learn all there is about prescribed medications before administering them; and, finally, know that you have options. We genuinely hope that your four-legged friend feels better soon!