Pain Meds for Dogs

Pain meds for dogs can be used to treat minor, moderate, or even severe pain. Most of these medications can be used safely with little to no side effects. However, some pain meds should not be used in dogs. Before administering any type of pain medication to your dog, you should be aware of what is available and what is appropriate for pain control management in your dog.

Prescription Pain Medications

If your dog is being treated by a veterinary professional for chronic pain management, chances are that your dog will be given a prescription pain medication. These types of medications can only be purchased from an authorized veterinarian. There are an array of different pain meds for dogs, each with their own separate benefits and side effects.

Some of the more common pain meds for dogs include:

  • Deramaxx – An NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory) medication. Works to relieve pain and reduce inflammation associated with pain. It is predominantly used to control pain of the joints due to chronic osteoarthritis and degenerative joint diseases. Because Deramaxx can interfere with digestive function and kidney function, regular blood testing is usually done while on this medication.
  • Adequan Canine – Used for arthritic pain management in dogs. Adequan works to control pain by aiding in the repair of cartilage lost during cases of degenerative arthritis. Its active ingredient is polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, which the body uses to produce more cartilage. Because Adequan is given in injection form only, pain control can be realized much quicker.
  • Prednisolone – A corticosteroid that essentially blocks the body’s response to allergens and inflammatory triggers. It controls pain for a variety of medical conditions by reducing the associated swelling and inflammation. It can also be used to depress the immune system and its inflammatory response to disease. Prednisolone is a pain med for dogs that is most commonly used in conjunction with conditions such as cancer, kidney disease, lupus, asthma, allergies, and colitis.
  • Tramadol – Used for moderate to severe pain. It is different from most pain meds for dogs in that it should not be used as a long-term solution to pain management. Its effects are similar to that of morphine, which blocks receptors in the brain that transmit messages of pain.
  • Etodolac – Although this NSAID is typically used to control pain in dogs with osteoarthritis, it also has benefits for dogs suffering from acute pain. Acute pain can be from either trauma or short-term injuries that leave a dog’s quality of life temporarily disrupted.

Nonprescription Medications

The most common over-the-counter pain med for dogs is aspirin. It carries similar properties to most NSAID medications, and it actively reduces inflammation and relieves pain. An aspirin regimen can typically be given for chronic pain management in dogs, but this should first be approved by a veterinary professional. Of note, Tylenol is highly toxic to dogs and should never been given as a pain medication.

One of the most common nonprescription pain meds for dogs is Traumeel, a homeopathic remedy used as a substitute for NSAID therapy. It can be used for temporary pain relief from sprains, lacerations, or minor injuries.