There is no love quite like between a dog and its owner, and that bond can make it hard to know how to help when your pet is in pain or suffering from an illness. Getting help is a simple process when humans struggle with pain: Allergy sufferers can choose to take Benadryl or Zyrtec, for example, while those who struggle with frequent headaches or chronic back pain might take ibuprofen or another aspirin product.
The process is a bit more complicated when it comes to dogs, however. Many human medications are toxic to them, and understanding the correct dosage and treatment instructions is vital to the overall effectiveness when you do find the correct medications.
This overview will dig into some of the most popular pain medications for dogs, including when and how they should be given.
Understanding Doggie Dosages
Just like with humans, the appropriate amount of medication is important when treating your canine companion. There is one vital distinction in treating dogs: Medication dosage is given in terms of weight rather than age, which means a 40-pound great dane puppy would receive a different dose than a 10-pound senior chihuahua.
Your veterinarian will generally give you specific dosing details when prescribing meds for your dog, but you should contact their office if you have any questions about how much to give your dog and how often. It is always better to be safe than sorry, and using the correct dosage will help your dog get on the road to wellness that much quicker.
5 Types of Medication That Are Safe for Pups
Most human medications are not safe for dogs, including such pain relief staples as ibuprofen and Tylenol. There are plenty of effective, safe pain relievers for dogs that will help to keep furry friends feeling their absolute best, however.
Here’s a look at some of the top picks for pain relief that your vet might be likely to prescribe.
Generically known as deracoxib, Deramaxx is a common nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) pain reliever for dogs. Your vet might prescribe this medication if your dog suffers from chronic back pain or has had a major injury, such as a broken leg or foot. As with any NSAID pain reliever, it is important to monitor liver and kidney function if the medication is taken long term. Your veterinarian can help with this.
Tramadol is a medication that is designed to treat severe pain, such as serious back pain. It is most commonly prescribed to older dogs and is one of the few medications that is prescribed for use in both humans and pets. It is a highly effective medication, but it is very important to closely monitor the dosage. An overdose can have serious consequences.
A drug that was originally developed for human use, Amantadine has proven to be very effective for treating chronic pain in dogs. It is most commonly used to treat arthritis, cancer, disk disease, and other neurological pain.
A medication that is used to reduce pain and inflammation in dogs, Meloxicam is often prescribed for chronic conditions, as well as for short-term, acute pain. It is available in both tablet and liquid form, so speak with your vet as to which is best for your pet.
If your pet suffers from epilepsy, your veterinarian is likely to prescribe Gabapentin. It has been proven to reduce seizures and give dogs who experience chronic pain a better quality of life. As with all canine pain medications, dosage depends on the size of your dog, so consult with your vet on exact dosing instructions.
Just like in people, putting your pet on a long-term pain maintenance program should involve consulting professionals and understanding all your options. If your pet does not seem to be healing after a surgery, or seems to still be in pain after taking the prescribed medication, consult your veterinarian to set up an evaluation and discuss your options.
5 Natural Doggie-Safe Pain Remedies
Pets that aren’t experiencing severe pain or trauma may not need a heavy dose of medication, but might instead respond well to natural remedies. You might be interested in a natural approach to alleviating a senior pet’s arthritis discomfort, for example, or to mitigating the effects of mild environmental irritants instead of getting a prescription for allergy meds.
Always consult your vet before deciding to treat with a natural remedy to make sure you aren’t harming your pup by withholding pain meds, but here are a few of common home remedies that may help with mild symptoms:
1. Coconut oil
Many pets suffer from allergies, whether food or weather-related. Coconut oil is an all-natural anti-inflammatory that could give your pup some relief. It has also been shown to improve the appearance of skin and fur, so your furry friend might be able to enjoy some seriously luscious locks if you add a bit of coconut oil to his or her food.
2. Joint supplements
Senior pets could be more prone to arthritis and aching joints, but adding a joint supplement to their diets could mean they enjoy improved lifestyles and greater ease of movement — without some of the side effects that traditional medication can cause. There are many high-quality joint supplements on the market, so consult your veterinarian about adding one to your pet’s routine.
3. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements
Omega-3 is said to be one of the most effective home remedies for treating arthritis pain in older dogs. You can add omega-3 fatty acid to your dog’s diet by feeding him or her high-quality dry food or by giving them capsules. Either option can help to reduce arthritis pain and give them a better quality of life.
For older pets who suffer from arthritis, other sources of chronic pain, or even seizures or cancer, holistic treatment methods such as acupuncture and physical therapy can be very beneficial. While you can do light massage at home, remember to consult a professional regarding treatments like acupuncture.
5. Hypoallergenic diet
Many pets have food allergies, which can cause skin irritation and even serious stomach issues. Some pet owners have found success in alleviating these symptoms by switching their dog to a hypoallergenic diet. The key is to begin with an elimination-style diet, then slowly add foods back in, one by one, until you can identify the offending ingredient that is causing the allergic reaction. Then, simply remove that ingredient. You can also have allergy testing done at your vet’s office if the situation seems severe to get a quicker remedy.
If your dog is experiencing any sort of pain, following these tips and tricks will hopefully get your furry friend back to health as quickly as possible. Always consult your veterinarian if you have concerns about your pet’s health and wellness, or if you’re considering changing his or her normal routine to make sure you’re giving your pup the best possible treatment!
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