If you’ve ever experienced back pain, you know how debilitating it can be. It’s also common in dogs, who can’t tell us what they’re feeling. According to a study by MDPI, a third of dog cases referred involved some form of a painful condition, and in some instances, the figure reached almost 80%.
That’s why it’s important to know the warning signs of a dog in pain and how to take care of them when they do feel this way.
How Do I Know if My Dog Is in Pain?
The best way to know if your dog is in pain is by observing their behavior. When dogs are in pain, they may exhibit one or more of the following signs:
- They seem to be favoring an area of their body.
- They refuse to jump up on furniture or get into the car.
- Their ears are pinned back against their heads, and they look away when you try to pet them. This could mean that they’re afraid of hurting themselves even more, or it could mean that something feels bad for them.
If you notice any of these behaviors, talk with your veterinarian about possible causes for the discomfort and steps that can be taken to help manage it.
Why Is Long-Term Pain Management Essential?
Pain is a major cause of suffering in dogs, and long-term pain management is important for your pet’s quality of life. If a dog is suffering from chronic or acute pain, it can interfere with his enjoyment of activities and the relationships he has with family members.
Pain can also lead to depression and anxiety, often mistaken for other behavioral problems. Your pet may become withdrawn and stop interacting with you as much as he once did. They can even act aggressively toward strangers or family members because he’s feeling fearful or insecure due to the pain.
Because chronic pain can be so debilitating, it’s essential to treat it promptly once it occurs. However, just because you’re treating your pet doesn’t mean that their condition will improve right away. It may take some time before they start feeling better again. This is why regular checkups are so important.
According to USA Today, how often you should take your dogs for a checkup depends on their age and breed. Puppies need to see a vet for vaccination every three to four weeks till they are 16 weeks old. However, older dogs may require it once a year. Vets recommend taking your dog for a checkup twice a year once they are seven to 10 years old.
How Can I Reduce My Pet’s Experience of Pain?
There are several ways that owners can reduce the discomfort experienced by their pets. These include:
- Massage, acupuncture, and physical therapy can all help to reduce pain in dogs.
- Exercise and stretching can also help with this as it encourages blood flow to the area and helps muscles stay supple.
- A healthy diet will see your dog feeling much better in general, which means they are less likely to experience pain or stiffness.
- Understanding your pet’s triggers is an important part of managing their discomfort. For example, if you know that being in the car makes them uncomfortable, then avoid taking them on long journeys until you have found a way to manage this issue, such as providing earplugs.
Which Medication Is Best for My Pet’s Pain?
Your veterinarian will develop a pain management plan that is tailored to your pet based on their specific condition and needs. They’ll consider factors such as the level of pain and discomfort, the type of injury or illness, how severe it is, what other medications your pet is taking, and how much experience he or she has with this type of treatment.
The most commonly used medication is Rimadyl 100mg for dogs. Rimadyl 100 mg is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that relieves inflammation and reduces pain in several ways: by reducing swelling, blocking enzymes that produce inflammatory prostaglandins, acting as mild sedatives, suppressing inflammatory cytokines, or inhibiting cyclooxygenase activity in certain types of immune cells.
NSAIDs are available in both oral and injectable forms. They are also sometimes combined with other analgesics like tramadol hydrochloride or gabapentin to enhance the overall benefits they provide to patients suffering from chronic conditions such as arthritis.
How Can I Help My Dog Manage Their Pain Without Medication?
To manage the pain in your dog, there are many things you can do. These include:
- Helping your dog maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight puts additional stress on your dog’s joints and muscles, increasing the risk of injury and further pain.
- Keeping their joints moving. If you have an older dog with stiffness or arthritis, massage therapy is a great way to keep them limber. According to the National Library of Medicine, osteoarthritis has been reported in 20% of all dogs in the US over one year of age.
- Avoiding stairs or jumping down from furniture whenever possible to prevent joint injuries that may cause unnecessary pain.
Pain will be an inevitable reality of your dog’s life, but you can help manage it. Understanding the signs of pain, knowing what types of medication are available, and taking steps to reduce the experience can all be part of a healthy and happy life for your pet.
If you’re not sure where to start with this process, talk with your veterinarian about their recommendations for managing your dog’s pain.