When it comes to your dogs, their discomfort is pretty much the same as the discomfort of anyone in your family. When so much as a whimper escapes your dog or if you notice your dog acting lethargic, it is natural for you to bolt for the nearest medication you know in order to ease the pain. However, it may be wise to consider certain medications as opposed to haphazardly thinking that the medicine will work without a hitch.
If you find your dog in pain, here are some things that you can do:
Be careful with medication
It is best to avoid medication such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen. Keep in mind that human medication can be very dangerous if dispensed improperly to your dog.
One of the most common over-the-counter pain relievers are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs work by inhibiting cyclooxygenase, an enzyme that is responsible for producing prostaglandins that stimulate inflammation, fever, and pain.
Giving NSAIDs to your dogs may lead to some problems:
- There might be times that the owner will give the dog an unnecessarily high dose. If your dog is sensitive to these drugs, it could cause harmful side effects even if the dose is correct.
- NSAIDs could create more risks if you are dispensing other medication to your dog or if your dog has other existing medical conditions.
When dogs lethal ingest acetaminophen (or Tylenol), it could destroy their liver cells and damage their kidneys. The drug can convert hemogoblin to methemogoblin, which results in reduced oxygen delivery throughout the body and, consequently, damaged tissues. Unless your veterinarian says so, do not administer over-the-counter painkillers without proper supervision.
Drug companies have created pain medication designed especially for dogs. Dog-friendly medication such as carprofen, deracoxib, etodolac, and meloxicam are much more effective that having them ingest medication created specifically for humans.
Check if it’s related to weight
Giving appropriate medication is not the only way to alleviate your dog’s pain. Conditions such as arthritis respond well to dietary modification. Try supplementing foods with omega-3 fatty acids. This can reduce joint inflammation and the pain that your dog experiences from it. Dietary changes can also help your dog if he or she is overweight.
If you are helping your dog lose weight, try giving him foods with a lower calorie density but with normal amounts of protein. This can help maintain muscle mass and strength while aiding your dog in losing weight. When it comes to weight loss in your dog, reducing body fat and encouraging lean body mass decreases the stress on joints and inflammation throughout the body.
How to tell if your dog feels pain
There are many ways to tell if your dog is in pain. Generally speaking, dogs will let their owners know if they are in pain but there are other dogs who will keep the pain in as a survival instinct. Generally, dogs have a higher pain tolerance than humans.
Dogs can give off subtle hints of pain, so if you are familiar with how your pet acts, it will be easy to recognize them. There are some telltale signs that show if your dog is feeling out of sorts.
Limping is one of the most straightforward signs of pain. This can indicate injury, sore paw, or a reaction to the pain of arthritis. Other signs that may indicate pain are issues with being mobile or changes in posture.
The closest a dog can come to voicing out their pain is whining and whimpering or just plain crying out in pain. Carefully examine your dog’s body to find where the pain is. A dog that is quite vocal may be quiet when experiencing pain, which is why it helps to be aware of your dog’s daily routine and behavior.
Stomach troubles may be harder to recognize but there are some telltale signs. Watch out for excessive drooling, as it can indicate nausea, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea. Dogs tend to eat less normally if they are in pain. Loss of appetite could indicate pain from stomach ailment, oral discomfort, and other ailments.
Panting, restlessness or changes in sleeping habits are other indicators that your dog may be in pain. Excessive panting can be an indicator that your dog is in pain, especially if accompanied with trembling. Pain can cause irregularities in breathing and respiratory rate.
Pain causes restlessness in the sense that your dog could experience an inability to feel comfortable. It can also affect sleep patterns, leading your dog to either sleep more or sleep less.
Much like humans, pain can also alter a dog’s behavior and temperament. Some lapse into more aggressive behavior and may bite, especially if you probe the area in pain. In order to prevent further pain, it is an animal’s natural instinct to attack.
Some dogs tend to be needy when in pain. If you notice them latching on to you more than usual, then you may need to make a trip to the vet. Dogs also have the tendency to avoid other people and pets when they are in pain.
If your dog normally enjoys being touched or being in contact with others but then suddenly avoids your touch, your dog may be in pain. Watch out for other cases like depression and lethargy mixed with the avoidance.
Dogs are just as sensitive to pain as we humans are. It may be even harder to know whether they are experiencing discomfort or not since it they cannot voice out whether they are in pain or not. Regardless, do not be haphazard with care and always consult an expert. When it comes to medication, do not throw caution to the wind and assume that the medication that you take for your pain will alleviate the discomfort of your dog.
Keep in mind that animals have a different biological make-up than we do. Assuming that whatever works for you will work for your dog can create more risks rather than deplete them. Turn to your veterinarian whenever your dog is feeling out of sorts, unless you are already aware with what to do with your dog. Be aware of the daily behavior of your pets in order to give them the right attention that they need.