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Although our beloved canine companions often seem tougher than we are, they are not invincible. Despite being notoriously good at hiding signs of pain, most dogs will show the following signs when they are not feeling well:
- Becoming socially withdrawn and refusing to play, interact or exercise
- Loss of appetite and thirst
- Increased heart rate
- Refusing to move
- Grumpy temperament
- Panting or crying
In such situations, you wonder, what can I give my dog for pain? Many wonder what kind of pain relief for dogs is available in today’s market. If you’re considering the question of “can dogs take Tylenol?” the answer is no — absolutely not.
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, such as Tylenol, can be fatal for your precious pooch. You should never give your pet human medications such as Tylenol, Advil, or aspirin unless directly advised to do so by a trusted veterinarian. These medications can destroy your dog’s liver and kidneys, as well as disrupt oxygen delivery throughout the body, leading to widespread tissue damage.
What Alternatives Are There for Dog Pain Relief?
You should consult your veterinarian about what kind of medication and dosage is most appropriate for your dog. This can vary depending on several different factors. Dogs are not small people; what works for you will not necessarily work for them.
Accordingly, the answer to the question, “Can dogs take Tylenol” (or any other kind of human pain meds), is always an emphatic no.
Typically, a veterinarian will prescribe pet-friendly non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for your fur baby’s pain and inflammation, which include:
- Rimadyl (carprofen)
- Metacam (Meloxicam)
- Deramaxx (deracoxib)
- Firocoxib (Previcox)
You need to trust your veterinarian’s prescribed treatment plan for your fur baby. Changing medication or increasing the dosage, frequency, and the length of time you use the drug can be dangerous to your dog’s health. This is why it is important to seek professional advice.
If your dog starts showing the following side effects, however, you need to immediately stop giving her the medication and talk to your vet:
- Kidney failure
- Loss of appetite
- Bleeding disorders
- Stomach and intestinal ulcers
Natural Supplements for Dog Pain
In addition to prescriptions, natural supplements such as glucosamine can help dogs struggling with arthritis and joint pain. Make sure to discuss what kind of supplements you are thinking of adding to your dog’s diet with your veterinarian.
Some joint supplements may be harmful in certain dosages, especially when dosing is not dependent on your dog’s weight. Other supplements may be low quality and can even contain toxic chemicals and bacteria (such as lead, arsenic, and Salmonella).
Turmeric can also work as a type of pain relief for dogs. Many studies have shown that turmeric outperforms anti-inflammatory drugs, arthritis medication, steroids, and painkillers in reducing pain in pups.
You can give your dog turmeric by adding around ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon of turmeric per day per 10 pounds of your dog’s body weight. The spice is healthy for humans, too, and there aren’t any dangerous side effects to consuming it.
Before buying turmeric for your dog, you need to check whether the turmeric:
- Is of medicinal quality (since culinary turmeric is produced for taste, not for the quality of its curcuminoid compounds)
- Has been identified using various testing methods (macroscopy, DNA, microscopy, and HPTLC) and can be fully traceable
- Is from a reputable company
As with glucosamine, make sure to consult your veterinarian before deciding to feed your dog turmeric. Not every canine can handle every supplement well, and a too-high dose can result in an upset tummy.
Cannabidiol (CBD) Oil for Dog Pain
CBD oil is another option for pet parents looking to relieve their dog baby’s pain.
Made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, CBD oil does not contain delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), so don’t worry — giving CBD oil to your dog will not make your dog high. CBD oil, however, will give her the pain relief she or he needs. CBD oil has anti-inflammatory effects and can also help reduce anxiety, manage seizures, and fight cancer.
In general, there has been little research on how CBD affects dogs, so we suggest you talk to your veterinarian before deciding to give your dog CBD oil. To minimize any potential side effects, follow the manufacturers’ dosage suggestions, start out with small amounts, and closely monitor the effects.
Diet for Dogs in Pain
You can also reduce your pet’s pain by changing his or her diet. Since pain and inflammation are often linked, try feeding your pet anti-inflammatory superfoods such as cranberries, rosemary, spinach, blueberries, oranges, and cherries (remove the pits).
For older dogs with joint issues, you should also try weaning them off dog food containing rice hulls, cottonseed, soybean, corn bran, and modified corn starch. These foods lack nutritional value and can negatively impact joint health.
Physical Therapy for Dog Pain
In addition to supplements, you can also give your dog physical therapy to alleviate their pain. Consult your veterinarian to see what kind of physical therapy best suits your pet. There are many types of therapy available, including but not limited to laser therapy, massage, acupuncture, and various walking exercises.
Physical therapy in the form of exercise can also help to ease some pain, particularly for those pups who are packing a few (or more than a few) extra pounds. Being overweight can exacerbate your pooch’s suffering by causing health issues such as pancreatitis and sliding kneecaps.
Eliminating Your Dog’s Pain For Good
There are many forms of pain relief for dogs. However, as previously established, the answer to the question, “Can dogs take Tylenol” is always no.
Tylenol and other human pain medications are not suitable for your canine companion. Your first course of action should always be to contact your veterinarian — whether you are planning to give your dog CBD oils, a change in diet, or physical therapy. Listen to what your vet has to say — he or she will prescribe your pooch the perfect treatment plan.