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.