Pain Relief for Dogs

Pain relief for dogs is a combination of medical treatment and rest to help the pet recuperate. Dogs suffering from pain refrain from play and outdoor activities, and appear depressed or lethargic. Pet owners may also notice stiffness or lameness in the joints along with the pain or discomfort. Since pain is generally localized to specific parts of the body, it's necessary to administer medication that targets the underlying ailment. The type of underlying ailment or injury is also often directly related to the location of pain. Pet owners should seek prompt medical help to confirm diagnosis and commence treatment early.

Types of Pain

Acute pain is generally short term in nature and subsides once the primary health concern is treated. It's more common in pets suffering from accidental injury, eye infections or urinary tract disease. Chronic pain is more persistent in nature and develops in dogs suffering from arthritis, degenerative bone disease and cancer. The type of pain treatment administered to the dog varies according to the severity of pain or inflammation and its origin.

Managing Pets in Pain

Pet owners that find dogs limping or crying in pain should avoid the use of over the counter pain medication. Instead, it's best to conduct a thorough vet examination. Diagnostic tests reveal the presence of bone damage, tumors or internal inflammation. If the pain is caused due to an accident or fracture, it's important to use techniques of first aid without moving the dog and seek emergency medical help.

Pain Medication for Dogs Include:

  • Novox
  • Rimadyl
  • Etogesic
  • Tramadol
  • Phenylbutazone

Dosage and Administration

Most medicines require a prescription and pet owners should follow vet instructions during administration of tablets. The class of drug prescribed varies according to the underlying cause of pain. Pet owners should also inform the vet about other medicines prescribed to the dog, as several pain relief medications have drug interactions. Since arthritis is very common in older dogs, the vet may recommend glucosamine and chondroitin supplements to improve joint mobility and reduce friction.

Treatment Options

Steroid medications are the most commonly used drugs to reduce pain and inflammation after surgical intervention. However, steroids have severe side effects that make them ineffective for prolonged use. Several pet owners are also considering holistic treatments, herbal formulations and acupuncture to bring pain relief to dogs.

Holistic Treatment

This is a multi-pronged approach that looks at the well being of the dog as a whole. It involves treatment of illness or pain with proper diet, exercise and rest. Pet owners that use holistic treatments feed their dogs natural diets and aim at total body health, instead of treating specific parts of the body.


This involves insertion of fine needles at specific pressure points in the dog's body to stimulate blood flow and reduce pain. Although acupuncture works effectively for some pets, it may not benefit all dogs. Pets suffering from life-threatening conditions or dogs that require surgical intervention may not necessarily benefit from acupuncture.

Herbs for Pain Relief in Dogs Include:

  • Licorice
  • Ginger
  • Yucca
  • Feverfew

Although pain subsides after certain health concerns are treated with surgery, dogs with minor pain respond favorably to oral medication and herbal remedies. It's best to talk with your vet about long term pain relief for dogs, using solutions suited to your individual pet's needs.