As a dog owner, you will inevitably be interested in pain meds for dogs. Sometimes, witness your dog’s leg pain, limping, or headache after playing at work, in the hot sun, you will wonder, “what can I give my dog for pain relief?”
Not everyone has knowledge about dog medicine, especially new dog owners. Read this article to learn more about pain relievers for dogs, dosages of each, and how to deal with drug poisoning (such as Tylenol) in dogs.
We want our dogs to be happy. Pet parents need to be aware of the safe medications that can provide pain relief for their dogs.
A happy dog is one that is pain-free. You’ll be glad to learn that you have many options for pain relief, including OTC and prescription medications. Your veterinarian will also provide guidance.
It can be distressing to know that your dog is suffering. It’s understandable to want to do something-anything-to provide pain relief as soon as possible.
You should not be tempted to buy a human pain relief medication for your dog. Dogs can become very sick from taking OTC pain medication and other human medications.
Dogs should never be given aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Advil) unless a veterinarian has directed them otherwise. Acetaminophen (Tylenol(r), Paracetamol, APAP, N-acetyl-p-aminophenol) is a medication used for pain relief and fever reduction in people.
Acetaminophen is an over-the-counter, oral medication that is very popular. It can also be prescribed. Acetaminophen can be used as a single ingredient or part of a combination medication that contains other medications.
These medications include antihistamines and decongestants as well as opioids and other prescriptions. These medications are commonly used to treat headaches, pain, colds, flu, as well as menstrual discomfort.
Acetaminophen can be purchased in many forms, including capsules, tablets, gel caps, and meltaway tablets.
Acetaminophen can be found in pets’ homes. Pets may inadvertently take the medication from their owners, causing poisoning. Owners may give acetaminophen to their pets in some instances to relieve pain.
Dogs may need low doses of Acetaminophen for specific reasons. This should only be done under the supervision of a veterinarian.
Table of Contents
- 1 Signs and symptoms of pain in dogs
- 2 Over-The-Counter Pain Meds For Dogs
- 3 NSAIDs for dogs
- 4 Dangerous Drugs for Dogs
- 5 Holistic Pain Relief for Dogs
- 6 What Can I Give My Dog For Pain Relief?
Signs and symptoms of pain in dogs
In many cases, veterinarians will prescribe pain relief to dogs. These include pain relief for post-surgical and dental pain, pain after an injury, pain due to diseases such as intervertebral disk disease pain, nerve root pain, painful conditions of the skin, and osteoarthritis.
Dogs can show signs of pain by yelping or limping. Sometimes signs of pain in dogs can be hard to spot.
These behaviors could indicate that your dog is experiencing pain.
- Playing less
- More sleep
- Tail lowered
- Reluctance or inability to climb or jump stairs
- A decreased appetite
You are the dog’s owner, so you know your dog better than anyone. Pay close attention to the expressions of each dog, so you can determine if your dog is in pain or ill. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose your dog and prescribe medication.
If your dog seems tired or bowed, is anorexic, does not like people touching him, after playing a lot in the animal park, in the hot sun, your dog may be suffering from headaches.
Over-The-Counter Pain Meds For Dogs
Pet parents often look for Over-The-Counter (OTC) pain medication for their dogs when their dog is acting sore. This allows them to save money and has the same convenience as prescription medication. What OTC pain meds are available for your dog?
OTC pain relief is available for dogs in the form of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), however, not all OTC pain relief is safe. Aspirin is one example.
Pet parents often want to know if aspirin is safe for their dogs. Aspirin is safe for short-term pain relief in most dogs.
However, it is not recommended to be used long-term for dogs with severe bleeding disorders or stomach ulcers. Talk to your veterinarian before giving aspirin for the pain to your dog.
Dogs should not be given any OTC pain medication for dogs such as naproxen and ibuprofen.
These medications have very low safety margins and can cause severe side effects in dogs. Tylenol or Acetaminophen pose serious health risks for dogs. It should not be administered to them unless a veterinarian has advised.
NSAIDs for dogs
OTC pain relievers that are most commonly prescribed fall under the Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) category.
Aspirin and baby aspirin are some of the most common examples. All of them work by blocking an enzyme called Cyclooxygenase. This produces hormone-like substances known as prostaglandins, which promote inflammation, fever, and pain.
Prostaglandins play other important roles in the body. They maintain adequate blood flow to your kidneys and produce a layer of mucus to protect the inner linings of your gastrointestinal tract. They also allow blood to clot normally.
Dogs can get problems like:
- Appetite loss
- Bleeding disorders
- Diarrhea and vomiting (often bloody).
- Gastrointestinal ulcers
- Kidney dysfunction
- Liver damage (in some cases)
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to reduce swelling, stiffness, and joint pain in dogs. These drugs can provide relief for dogs with arthritis or who have just had surgery.
Don’t give your dog anything from your medicine cupboard. You should not give your dog acetaminophen or ibuprofen unless directed by your veterinarian.
Some of the NSAIDs are only available for dogs.
- Carprofen (Novox, Rimadyl)
- Deracoxib (Deramaxx)
- Grapipant (Galliprant).
- Meloxicam (Metacam)
- Firocoxib (Previcox)
Dog NSAIDs are generally safe and do not cause side effects. However, in certain cases, they can cause or worsen problems with the kidneys, liver, and digestive system.
It is possible to determine if your dog has a reaction to an NSAID. The BERT is a simple way to recall the signs.
- Behavior changes
- Eating less
- Reddening of the skin, scabs
- Tarry stool/diarrhea/vomiting
These symptoms should be noted immediately and your veterinarian notified.
Aspirin can be purchased over-the-counter as an NSAID. If your dog has an injury or other short-term condition, your doctor may allow you to give it to them for a brief time.
Because of the increased risk of side effects and the possibility of gastrointestinal bleeding, it is not recommended that dogs use it long-term. The stomach is the best place to take coated aspirin.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol), although it is not an NSAID is just as dangerous for dogs. It does not affect inflammation, but it is unclear how it reduces pain and fever.
Dogs who consume toxic amounts of Acetaminophen can have their liver cells destroyed, damage the kidneys, and hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying molecule found in the blood) is converted to methemoglobin. This results in poor oxygen delivery and tissue damage.
Multi-pet households should be aware that cats can become extremely sensitive to the adverse effects of acetaminophen. In fact, a single tablet of regular strength can cause severe toxicosis and even death.
You can also give the pills with meals. Talk to your vet about how often and how much you should take.
Dogs can die if they are not given the right treatment. Without first speaking to your veterinarian, it is not safe to give your dog aspirin, ibuprofen(Advil), naproxen, or any other anti-inflammatory medication meant for humans to dogs.
Cats are more sensitive than cats to the adverse effects of NSAIDs. However, dogs are more likely to be exposed to these medications than dogs. This means that dogs have more cases of NSAID toxicities than cats.
The Less-Obvious Dangers for Dogs from NSAIDs
There are other problems that can occur when NSAIDs are administered to dogs.
NSAIDs can be more dangerous than usual if dogs are taking corticosteroids and/or have other health conditions such as gastrointestinal, liver, or kidney disease.
Some dogs can be sensitive to NSAIDs formulated specifically for humans. Even if the correct dosage is administered, side effects can still occur.
Sometimes, an owner or dog will give a dog an excessive amount of one or more drugs.
Dangerous Drugs for Dogs
The bedroom is one of the most dangerous rooms in the house for accidental poisonings due to its nightstand right next to it.
Adult dogs and puppies are often found sleeping in the same bed as their parents, so they have easy access to the medication on the nightstand.
Boredom can also result from medication left on countertops in bathrooms and kitchens.
The original container should be brought to the vet in case your dog ingests human medication.
You can find out which drug was involved, the strength of the pills or tablets, as well as the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding poisoning.
Dog poisoning is caused by the most common human drugs:
Many nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), are readily available and widely used. These drugs can be used to treat fever, inflammation, pain, and fever.
NSAIDs are aspirin and ibuprofen. NSAIDs that are taken orally by dogs are quickly absorbed. Most dogs reach peak blood levels within three hours. These medications can cause gastrointestinal irritation or damage to the GI tract.
NSAIDs are safe for the kidneys at recommended doses. However, overdosing (and chronic use) can cause renal damage.
Kidney dysfunction can result from the simultaneous use of two NSAIDs.
Overdose of NSAIDs can cause liver disease and clotting problems. These drugs may also interact with other drugs.
Acetaminophen is another readily available human medication that can be used to treat pain in dogs and inflammation in their joints.
Acetaminophen, also known as Tylenol or other brands, is available over-the-counter and in prescription preparations.
Dogs are most often exposed to acetaminophen administered by well-meaning but uninformed owners who intend to treat pain, fever, and inflammation. Poisoning can be caused by a single or repeated exposure to a high dose.
Acetaminophen poisoning can cause liver injury in dogs. Lethargy, loss of appetite, stomach pain, jaundice, and belly pain are all possible signs. Common signs include swelling of the face or paws.
Cats are more sensitive to acetaminophen than dogs – ingesting one tablet can cause clinical signs.
Amphetamine is a powerful stimulant and medication used to treat attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity.
Dogs can be exposed to these medications and experience life-threatening seizures, tremors, and elevated body temperatures.
Blood Pressure Medications
Beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors can increase blood pressure and cause weakness and stumbling.
Dogs can become lethargic from taking sleep medications like Ambien, Valium, and Xanax. In some cases, dogs may feel intoxicated or have a dangerously slow breathing rate.
Dogs can become very agitated after taking these medications.
Holistic Pain Relief for Dogs
Video: Natural Home Remedies for Dog Pain (Safe for Long-term Use) from Top Dog Tips Channel on Youtube
There are many options available for natural pain relief in dogs. CBD oil is claimed to be a natural painkiller and was recently published by Cornell.
Natural pain relief for dogs can also be found in fish oil, which contains the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.
A 2016 study found that fish oil significantly improved osteoarthritis symptoms in dogs. It was administered at 75 mg per kg of body weight daily.
Turmeric is being widely reported for its anti-inflammatory and pain management properties. Turmeric isn’t well absorbed in dogs’ gastrointestinal systems and is not effective for pain control.
Although these natural remedies are an option, it is important to discuss any supplements with your veterinarian.
Certain supplements might be contraindicated for certain conditions, meaning they should not be used in certain circumstances, and/or interact with prescribed medications.
Natural painkillers for dogs don’t usually provide sufficient relief for dogs suffering from moderate or severe pain. Therefore, additional medication may be required to give adequate relief.
Always consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about the best painkillers for your dog.
What Can I Give My Dog For Pain Relief?
For the reasons stated above, it is not a good idea to give NSAIDs (like aspirin or ibuprofen) or pain relievers such as acetaminophen to dogs or pets without consulting a veterinarian.
Certain pain medications for pets have been created by drug companies that are safer for dogs and more effective than those for humans. Your veterinarian will be able to prescribe pain medication that is safe and effective for your pet.
Your vet can diagnose and recommend the right medication for your dog based on your dog’s history and health.
Common NSAIDs for dogs are etodolac (carprofen), meloxicam, and etodolac.
Other pain relief measures
Prescription medications are not the only option for dogs who need pain relief. Many chronic inflammatory conditions, such as osteoarthritis, respond well to diet modification.
For more severe cases, physical therapy, cold laser treatment, and acupuncture may be an option.
Talk to your veterinarian to find the right medication or treatment for your dog.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if my dog ate a 500mg Tylenol?
If you find that your dog has eaten a 500mg Tylenol tablet, first, quickly take him to the nearest veterinarian for timely treatment. If your pet has not shown any symptoms of illness after exposure, call the Animal Poison Control Center veterinarian at 800-213-6680. The chances of a successful and safe outcome are higher if your pet is treated promptly.
If your cat or dog is in distress, you should immediately take them to the nearest veterinary emergency clinic or veterinarian. You should always bring the remaining pills and the pill bottle with you.
Some pets may not show any signs at first. Acetaminophen may cause liver damage and decrease red blood cell ability to carry oxygen (due to methemoglobinemia). Early red blood cell changes are more common in cats than in dogs. However, liver damage is more common in dogs. Red blood cell damage and liver damage can occur depending on the number of red blood cells.
Within 4-12 hours, red blood cell changes may occur. Pets can become depressed and weak.
They may also stop eating, develop rapid breathing, high heart rate, panting and abdominal pain, vomiting, or drooling.
Cyanosis is a condition in which the mucous membranes of the eyes, as well as the tissue and gums around the globe, can develop a bluish-colored color.
Methemoglobin accumulation may cause these areas to turn a chocolate brown color.
After ingesting Acetaminophen, some pets experience swelling in their face, paws, or forelimbs.
It is possible for liver damage to be delayed for several weeks. You may also notice dark urine, yellow skin discoloration, enlarged abdomen, increased drinking, urination, and discolored feces. These signs should be treated immediately to prevent death.
Dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis) can also be caused by acetaminophen poisoning. This condition can be characterized by squinting, eye pain, discharge, pawing at your face, and squinting.
Additional signs can occur if acetaminophen is ingested in combination with other medications. They may include weakness, wobbliness and depression, disorientation, vocalizing, vocalizing, changes to heart rate, pale gums, or seizures.
It is crucial to include as much information about the medication and the dosage, as well as the time and timing of the ingestion.
In case your pet vomits or becomes nauseated during the ride, it may be a good idea to bring a blanket or towel. Before throwing out vomit, make sure to check for medication residue and take note of the amount.
You can save your vomit if you are unable to do so. The veterinary staff will be able to examine it.
Keep calm and give as much information as possible to your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline.
All pets who have access to the mediation should receive information. This information is crucial to determine the risk of poisoning in your pet and make the best recommendations for your cat or dog.
Information that could be requested includes:
- Age, weight, and breed of pet
- Time is taken for ingestion
- The amount of medication taken (If you know the original number of pills in the bottle, count the remaining pills and determine how many were ingested).
- The strength of the medication (in milligrams per pill, or in ml).
- Other ingredients in the pills (e.g. antihistamines, caffeine, etc.
- Information about the pet's medical history, including any other medications they may be taking.
- Any symptoms currently present
Can i give my dog Aspirin for a limp?
You should keep an eye on your dog's progress at home if he seems tired after a hard play session. Encourage your dog to rest the rest of the day and then monitor his progress over the next 24hrs. Your family veterinarian should examine your dog if the limping continues for more than a day.
A veterinarian should immediately evaluate any dog that suddenly becomes severely disabled. To prevent more damage and pain, serious conditions such as bone fractures must be treated immediately.
Do not attempt to ease your dog's pain with over-the-counter medication, such as ibuprofen or naproxen (e.g. Aleve), acetaminophen(e.g. Tylenol), and aspirin. Human anti-inflammatories can cause life-threatening toxicities in pets, and you should give your dog only veterinarian-prescribed medications.
Can you give dogs Tylenol for pain?
It can be distressing to know that your dog is suffering. It's understandable to want to do something-anything-to provide pain relief as soon as possible.
You should not be tempted to buy a human pain relief medication for your dog. Dogs can become very sick from taking OTC pain medication and other human medications.
Dogs should not receive ibuprofen (Advil), Acetaminophen [Tylenol], Aspirin, or any other pain relief medication made for humans, unless directed by a veterinarian.
What medicine can you give a dog for fever?
Tylenol (acetaminophen), can be administered to dogs to treat mild fever and pain. However, Tylenol can be fatal to cats and should NEVER be given to them. Acetaminophen can also be a problem for dogs. Acetaminophen can cause liver problems in dogs, as well as lower oxygen-carrying ability.
Tylenol dosage for dogsYour veterinarian should be consulted before you give any medication. There are many better options for managing pain and fever in dogs, so it is not recommended that acetaminophen be administered routinely.
Dogs should be given 5 to 7.5 mg per pound (10 to 15 mg/kg) twice daily. Two times per day are recommended if the dog is given more than five days.
The condition being treated, the response to the medication and any adverse effects will all affect the duration of the administration.
If your veterinarian has not directed otherwise, you must complete the prescription. Even if your dog is feeling better, you should still follow the treatment plan to prevent relapse.
How much Tylenol can i give my dog?
Tylenol is commonly given to dogs at a dose of 5 to 7 mg per pound. This should be taken two times daily. It should not be administered unless a veterinarian has recommended it. Depending on the dog's condition, there are safer and more effective pain medication options.
is Tylenol safe for dogs?
For many reasons, veterinarians do not recommend acetaminophen for dogs. It is not recommended for cats. Safety is one reason.
Acetaminophen IS NOT as safe as it is for humans. Acetaminophen is considered to be low-risk for pets by many veterinarian toxicologists.
A veterinarian may prescribe acetaminophen to dogs in severe pain.
Tylenol can be used alone to treat pain in dogs. However, it doesn't affect inflammation so it is not a good choice as a single drug for treating multiple pain conditions in pets.
Many medications have been specifically labeled and tested for dogs and are approved to treat pain and inflammation. These anti-inflammatory and pain medications are recommended by veterinarians.
Tylenol has also been considered off-label for animals. This means that there have not been any government-regulated approvals and very few studies on its use in dogs.
What are the signs of acetaminophen (Tylenol) poisoning in dogs or cats?
Initial signs may not be apparent in all pets. Acetaminophen can damage the liver or reduce red blood cells' ability to carry oxygen (due to methemoglobinemia).
Red blood cell damage can be more common in cats than it is in dogs. Depending on the dose, liver damage or red blood cell changes may occur in either animal.
It is possible for red blood cells to change within four to twelve hours. It is possible for pets to become depressed and weak. They might also become depressed and stop eating.
The cyanosis may occur in the mucous membranes of these patients, which includes the tissues and gums surrounding the globe of their eyes.
These areas can also become chocolate brown due to methemoglobin accumulating. Some pets may experience swelling in their faces, paws, and forelimbs after taking acetaminophen.
Some liver damage can be delayed for several hours. Other than the above signs, you may notice dark urine or yellow discoloration of your eyes or skin, increased drinking or urination, and possibly discolored feces. If these signs aren't treated promptly, it is possible for death to occur.
Dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis) can also be caused by acetaminophen poisoning. Eye pain, dry eyes, discharge from the eye, pawing at the face, and squinting are all signs of this condition.
Additional symptoms may develop if the acetaminophen intake was made with other medications. Additional signs include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, depression, anxiety, depression, hypoactivity, agitation, and vocalizing.
What are the chances of recovery for dogs and cats who have been exposed to acetaminophen?
It all depends on the individual factors that are most important to you, such as your initial health, how much you eat, what other drugs you have taken, and how long it took for treatment to take effect.
Pets with early treatment are less likely to have long-term side effects. Some pets could develop permanent liver damage. Even though this is uncommon, it can happen with high doses of medication or if treatment is delayed.
Does ibuprofen work on dogs?
Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that can be used to relieve pain and inflammation in people. Although it can be used in dogs, it is not recommended as it could cause toxic effects.
What painkillers are safe for dogs?
NSAIDs available only for dogs are generally safe for dogs and have few side effects. Here is a list of some painkillers that are safe for dogs:
- Carprofen (Novox or Rimadyl)
- Deracoxib (Deramaxx)
- Firocoxib (Previcox)
- Meloxicam (Metacam )
- Grapipant (Galliprant)
Is ibuprofen safe for dogs?
Although NSAIDs are relatively safe for humans, ibuprofen can be very dangerous for dogs. Pets can become poisoned if they come in contact with their owners' medications. Sometimes owners may be able to use ibuprofen before consulting a vet to relieve their pet's pain. You should not use too much ibuprofen. Before giving NSAIDs your dog, it is best to consult your vet.
what can you give a dog for pain relief over the counter?
Aspirin can be purchased over-the-counter as NSAIDs. If your dog has an injury or other short-term condition, your doctor may allow you to give it to them for a brief time. Because of the increased risk of side effects and bleeding, it is not recommended for dogs to use for long periods.
Dogs can be given aspirin doses ranging from 5 to 10 mg per pound. Start your dog at the lowest possible dose, 5 mg per pound. Then increase the dosage until the dog has pain relief. Do not give more than 10 mg per pound.
Can I give my dog Benadryl for pain?
Benadryl can be used as a safe and effective dog medication if it is administered according to veterinarian instructions. To ensure that your dog doesn't have any adverse reactions, it is important to closely monitor them after administering any new medication. A typical dosage is approximately 1 mg per pound. This should be taken two to three times daily.
Is Aleve safe for dogs?
Aleve was once prescribed to dogs at a low dosage to be administered every other day. However, Aleve is now only recommended for dogs who cannot tolerate other NSAIDs. Aleve can cause kidney damage or gastrointestinal damage in dogs and should not be administered unless prescribed by a veterinarian.
What is safe to give dogs for joint pain?
Dog joint pain and inflammation can be controlled with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Prescription medications such as Galliprant, Carprofen, and Meloxicam are safer options than non-veterinary over-the-counter products for managing pain and inflammation.
What can I give my senior dog for arthritis pain?
Your veterinarian may recommend an anti-inflammatory medication for your pet if your pet is experiencing severe pain. There are many prescription-strength NSAIDs (non-steroid anti-inflammatory) that may be suitable or you may find a combination of Omega 3 fish oil and glucosamine works well for your dog.
What can I give my 15-year-old dog for pain?
Prescription NSAIDs such as carprofen or meloxicam have very high safety and efficacy rate. I believe the side effects are worth the risk. These medications can provide a significant improvement in the quality of your pet's life while posing a minimal risk.
Does CBD Work for Dogs? https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/does-cbd-work-for-dogs/
Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2018.00165/full
Cornell University Research Could Help Hemp Entrepreneurs (And Make Dogs Feel Better) https://www.forbes.com/sites/julieweed/2018/12/13/cornell-university-research-could-help-hemp-entrepreneurs-and-make-dogs-feel-better/?sh=1d878166783c
Fish Oil for Dogs https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/fish-oil-for-dogs/
List of veterinary drugs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_veterinary_drugs
Get the Facts about Pain Relievers for Pets https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/get-facts-about-pain-relievers-pets