If your dog is limping, crying out, not eating, or not acting normally in general, your dog may be in pain. We always want to help our dogs feel better, but there are some things you should know before you decide what to give your dog for pain relief. In this post, we’ll cover:
- Human Pain Medication and Dogs
- Pain Relief Intended for Dogs
- Natural Pain Relief for Dogs
Can My Dog Use the Same Pain Relief I Use?
What Medicines are Safe for My Dog?
Your own medicine cabinet might be the first place you turn when looking for dog pain relief. You should talk to your veterinarian before you give any medication to your dog, but it’s smart to be educated on what would be safe for your dog in an emergency.
In general, it’s not a good idea to give your dog anything from your medicine cabinet--your medications are of course safe for humans but often dangerous for dogs. Let’s go through a few common pain relief medications and whether or not you can give them to your dog.
Ibuprofen for Dog Pain Relief - Never
Ibuprofen is a very common NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug) for humans that you should never give to your dog.
Ibuprofen is toxic to dogs. It causes damage to the gastrointestinal tract and kidneys.
If you’re not sure what is in your pain relief medication, check the active ingredients. If it contains ibuprofen it will be listed there.
Advil for Dog Pain Relief - Never
You should never give Advil to your dog because it contains ibuprofen, which causes damage to the gastrointestinal tract and kidneys.
Motrin for Dog Pain Relief - Never
You should never give Motrin to your dog because it contains ibuprofen, which causes damage to the gastrointestinal tract and kidneys.
Tylenol for Dog Pain Relief - Sometimes
You should not give your dog Tylenol without consulting your veterinarian.
The active ingredient in Tylenol is acetaminophen. Acetaminophen can be used for pain relief and fever reduction in dogs with veterinary supervision.
Tylenol may cause damage to the gastrointestinal system, kidneys, and liver, so be sure to talk to your veterinarian before giving your dog Tylenol.
Aspirin for Dog Pain Relief - Sometimes
If your veterinarian says it's alright, you can use aspirin to relieve pain for your dog.
Aspirin should not be used without your veterinarian’s guidance. Aspirin can cause gastrointestinal upset or bleeding disorders in some dogs.
Aleve for Dog Pain Relief- Sometimes
Aleve should only be given to dogs who cannot tolerate other NSAIDs with the supervision of a veterinarian. Aleve was used for dogs more commonly before its toxicity became better known.
The active ingredient in Aleve is naproxen. Aleve can cause gastrointestinal and kidney damage.
Pain Relief for Dogs
NSAIDs for Dogs
There are NSAIDs designed especially for dogs. All FDA-approved dog safe NSAIDs are available only with a prescription from a veterinarian, so talk to your veterinarian about getting a prescription for your dog.
The NSAIDs your veterinarian might prescribe for your dog are:
- Carprofen - marketed under several brand names including Rimadyl and Novox
- Deracoxib - Deramaxx, Doxidyl
- Firocoxib - Previcox
- Grapiprant - Galliprant
- Meloxicam - marketed under several brand names including Mobic and Vivlodex
- Robenacoxib - Onsior (only to be used for a maximum of three days)
Natural Pain Relief for Dogs
Herbal Pain Relief for Dogs
If you want to avoid medications altogether, you can give your dog pain relief with herbs. You should research and talk to your veterinarian before using herbal treatments for pain relief for your dog. Some commonly used pain relief herbs are:
- Comfrey - ½ to 1 teaspoon of dried herb for each pound of food
- Boswellia - 5 to 10 milligrams per pound of your dog’s weight
- Licorice - 12 to 20 drops of low alcohol tincture per 20 lbs of body weight twice daily
- Devil’s Claw - read the dose on the container as meant for an 150 pound person and adjust to your dog’s weight
- Ginger - ¼ teaspoon for miniature breeds, ½ teaspoon for dogs up to 35 pounds and ¾ teaspoon for larger dogs
- Yucca - ½ teaspoon of dried and powdered root per pound of food daily
- Alfalfa - a pinch of dried herb per 10 pounds of body weight to your dog’s food per day
- Horsetail - ¼ teaspoon of tincture daily per 20 pounds of body weight
- Turmeric - ¼ teaspoon of paste per 10 pounds of your dog’s weight
- Cayenne - add a small pinch of the powdered herb to your dog’s food
There are benefits and risks for these herbal treatments--remember to do your research and ask your veterinarian before providing your dog with herbal pain relief treatment.
CBD Oil for Dog Pain Relief
There is some research (and pet owner experience) that suggests you can use CBD oil for dog pain relief. CBD is a compound derived from hemp and is different from marijuana--CBD will not get your dog high.
CBD oil can be used to soothe both chronic and acute pain in dogs. Although support for CBD oil as effective pain relief in dogs is largely anecdotal, it is considered safe for dogs. The only known negative side effect is the possibility of an upset stomach.
Many companies sell CBD products especially for dogs, including chewables, oils, and treats. Talk to your veterinarian before you decide to treat your dog with CBD oil.
Fish Oil for Dog Pain Relief
Fish oil supplements can provide pain relief for dogs by increasing levels of omega-3 fatty acids in your dog’s blood. The anti-inflammatory properties of fish oil have been shown to reduce pain in dogs.
If your dog has chronic joint pain or arthritis fish oil supplements may be a great choice for pain relief. Studies have proven fish oil to be effective in helping dogs with osteoarthritis when the dogs were given 75 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day.
Going into your own medicine cabinet to find pain relief for your dog is probably not good for your dog. Contact your veterinarian about your dog’s pain and find out whether they think a prescription NSAID, a natural remedy, or some other medication will be the solution to your dog’s pain.