Knowing that your dog is in pain is one of the worst feelings as a pet parent. Just like us, dogs can experience pain for a number of reasons. These include chronic conditions, illnesses, injuries, and infections.
While your veterinarian may provide prescription pain relievers, there are many ways you can manage your dog’s pain at home. In this article, we’ll explain how to identify pain in dogs and share eight home remedies to ease your pup’s discomfort.
How to Tell if Your Dog Is in Pain
Dogs display pain differently than we do. Many of their signs are subtle, so you need to pay close attention to any changes in their behavior or temperament to recognize the symptoms.
Dogs can show pain symptoms in three ways: physical symptoms, behavioral changes, and mobility issues. Your dog may become aggressive, start to bark more frequently, or recoil from your touch. You may also notice them limping, walking more slowly, or struggling to lie down or get up. Other potential signs of pain in dogs include:
- Arched back
- Lowered head
- Tight or twitching muscles
8 Ways to Relieve Your Dog’s Pain at Home
Contact your veterinarian right away if you think your dog is in pain. After a thorough examination and diagnosis, these home remedies can help relieve your dog’s pain, in conjunction with treatment options offered by your vet.
Most chronic pain is caused by inflammation. Ginger is a good source of antioxidants, which are known to help reduce inflammation, and it’s also a circulatory stimulant.
In addition to its pain-relieving properties, ginger also helps as an anti-nausea and anti-vomiting supplement for your pup. Simply grate a little fresh ginger over your dog’s food for them to enjoy the health benefits.
Turmeric is another ingredient with natural anti-inflammatory properties. It contains curcumin, a compound that’s been shown to fight arthritis, diabetes, cancer, gastrointestinal issues, and more in dogs.
Studies have shown that curcumin is as effective as common anti-inflammatory drugs, and fights pain more efficiently than both ibuprofen and aspirin. Mix a small amount of turmeric with fish oil or coconut oil to make it easier for your dog to digest and use.
3. Hot and Cold Therapies
If your dog’s joints are the source of their pain, hot and cold therapy can help. Depending on the underlying cause of the joint pain, either heat or cold may be more beneficial.
If your dog has a chronic condition like arthritis or hip dysplasia, use a heat pack on their joints for up to 20 minutes to relax the area. If they have an injury that’s caused the joint pain, try a cold pack briefly to help them recover.
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 supplements, like fish oil, offer a variety of health benefits for your pup, from allergy relief to a healthy, smooth coat.
The EPA (eicosatetraenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in fish oil benefit your dog’s body by reducing inflammation, which helps relieve many types of chronic and acute pain. The easiest way to give Omega-3s to your dog is in supplement form, typically as a gel capsule.
5. A Change to Your Dog’s Diet
If your dog is overweight, the additional pressure can put a strain on their joints, leading to pain. Talk with your veterinarian to determine an ideal weight for your dog and develop a nutritional plan to help them reach their goal safely.
Feeding too many calories per day is a common reason for obesity in dogs. Adjust your dog’s diet accordingly (with the assistance of your vet) to help relieve their pain and prevent other health conditions in the future.
6. Glucosamine and Chondroitin Supplements
Glucosamine and chondroitin are often found in joint supplements for dogs. They are both naturally produced in animal cartilage and have been shown to help lubricate and protect the joints, providing shock absorption and preventing cartilage from breaking down.
You can get both of these supplements in capsule form or as a powder to sprinkle on your dog’s food. They typically take a few weeks to start working, but they’re a safe and effective way to relieve pain from arthritis or other joint conditions.
7. CBD Oil
While research is still limited on CBD oil for dogs, many pet parents have shared their own anecdotal evidence that it helps treat pain and seizures in their dogs.
CBD is a cannabinoid that interacts with receptors in your dog’s endocannabinoid system, like those in your central nervous system. These receptors are responsible for maintaining many of the body’s regulatory systems, including how the body reacts to pain. CBD oil can change the way your dog’s body reacts to pain, helping them to find relief.
8. Boswellia Serrata (Frankincense)
Boswellia, also known as frankincense, has been used for centuries in humans as a pain reliever. It’s an herbal extract found in the Boswellia tree, a native tree to India, Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula.
This natural, anti-inflammatory ingredient can help improve your dog’s circulation, increase joint lubrication, and reduce inflamed tissue around their joints. Boswellia works by preventing your dog’s body from producing a specific type of leukotriene that impacts their immune response to inflammation.
The herbal extract can also be used to soothe skin irritation, promote healthy digestion, and manage symptoms caused by diseases like asthma and cancer.
Which Home Remedy Is Best for Your Dog?
While many of these home remedies can help relieve your dog’s pain symptoms, some of these solutions may not be right for your dog. Always consult with your veterinarian if you suspect that your dog is experiencing pain. They can help determine the underlying cause and offer potential treatment options.
From there, these home remedies can help work in conjunction with your vet’s treatments to keep your pup happy, healthy, and comfortable. You can also discuss which home remedies may work best for your dog’s specific condition.
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