Your dog may weep, scream, shake, droop, or cuddle up in its favorite area and refuse to move if it is uncomfortable. Sometimes a dog’s discomfort is more subtle. They may be listless, hesitant to play or leap, or unable to keep food down.
Research indicates that between 38% and 56% of all canine visits to emergency veterinary hospitals are due to pain. No dog owner enjoys witnessing their companion in pain, which can result from various sources, such as accidents, ear infections, dental problems, arthritis, and surgical procedures.
The question then becomes how to alleviate the suffering of a dog. How to comfort a dog in pain is covered in detail here, along with other fundamentals of canine first aid.
What to Do If Your Dog Is in Discomfort
A dog’s happiness and quality of life can be negatively impacted by any discomfort they endure, whether temporary (like after dental work) or chronic (like after surgery). Dogs in discomfort will be less interested in their typical household activities.
Your veterinarian can diagnose the problem and provide a treatment plan based on the specifics. While it may be tempting to go for an over-the-counter pain reliever for pet owners, you should refrain since most of these pills are highly hazardous to dogs.
There are other methods to ease a dog’s suffering besides giving it medication prescribed by a physician.
How to Make a Hurting Dog Feel Better:
Prescription painkillers for dogs should be given regularly. To avoid giving your dog a double dosage or a dose earlier than necessary, which might raise the risk of adverse effects, set a reminder on your phone.
Make a Protected Zone
If a dog is in discomfort, it may require more rest and less desire to socialize. Providing your pet with a kennel in a separate bedroom or other peaceful location will help them heal without further aggravating their suffering.
Create a Safe Space
Regarding your dog’s well-being, “you want to provide a space where he or she feels safe and protected.” This will keep them from having fight or flight reactions and possibly reinjuring themselves.”
Crate rest and restricted activity may be prescribed by your vet as well.
Remember that for some pets, particularly those with separation anxiety, being restricted to a separate room may increase their anxiety levels, causing them to exacerbate their pain. It may be best for these dogs to set their safe space in an area you frequent.
Keep Them Cozy
Providing an orthopedic bed and soft blankets will keep your dog comfortable. At the same time, they recover from an injury or surgery or rest during illness — but think twice before setting up a heating pad.
“Heating pads can be helpful but most likely should only be on for a short time. “If your dog cannot get off the heating pad, a thermal burn could occur.”
Keep their water bowl and food bowl nearby so your dog doesn’t have to move too far to eat or drink when they aren’t feeling well.
Consider Complementary Therapies
When managing pain in dogs, massage or acupuncture could help.
Dogs with musculoskeletal pain due to injuries, arthritis or other orthopedic conditions showed improved gait, posture and behavioral issues. They were more able to engage in daily activities after receiving a massage.
Acupuncture can also improve the quality of life for dogs suffering from neurological disorders and musculoskeletal diseases: cold laser therapy and physical therapy for dogs in pain.
“Not every veterinarian offers these services, but make sure to ask your vet who does offer these services, as we usually know what is available in your area.
Make Movement Easier
For dogs experiencing pain due to arthritis or other chronic illnesses, adding ramps up to the bed, couch, or car makes it easier for them to get to their favorite spot without jumping and putting added pressure on their joints.
Installing non-slip mats or carpet runners on hardwood or tile floors can prevent your dog from slipping and improve their ability to move around the house.
For acute pain due to injuries or post-surgical pain, an Expert suggests veterinarian-prescribed anti-inflammatory medications. Still, supplements could help dogs deal with arthritis or other chronic pain.
Among dogs diagnosed with osteoarthritis, a supplement containing glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate was found to be “significantly beneficial” for alleviating pain and reducing symptoms. CBD supplements may be another option, with one study at Cornell showing that 80 percent of dogs that received CBD supplements experienced decreased osteoarthritis pain.
Talk to your veterinarian about which supplements might be helpful if your dog is in pain, and confirm that supplements are safe to use with their current medications.
Prioritize Quality Time
Pain may make it difficult for your dog to go for long walks or play in the backyard, so it’s essential to prioritize their well-being while they heal.
Set aside a particular time for bonding and gentle snuggles to provide comfort — but make sure your dog welcomes the attention. Some dogs may prefer to be left alone (and pain may sometimes cause fear or aggression), so watch for clues that your dog takes comfort in gentle petting, the reassuring sound of your voice, or whether they would prefer to have some alone time.
Alternatively, buying a new squeak toy or particular bone that your dog can play with on their cozy bed can provide the necessary mental stimulation.
“Puzzle toys can also help occupy their time if your dog can no longer do everyday activities.
Watch for Signs
Sometimes pain management plans need to be tweaked. Watch for signs that medications, supplements, alternative therapies and lots of TLC aren’t easing your dog’s pain.
Looking for things like limping, a hunched back, a stiff gait, shying away from being touched, ears in a down position, or laying in unusual positions, adding, “If signs of pain are seen, you should bring your dog to the vet for an exam to determine the source and receive treatment.”
It’s hard for pet parents to see their four-legged companions in pain. Working with your veterinarian to identify the source of the pain, creating an appropriate treatment plan, and incorporating strategies to ease your pup’s discomfort can help them feel a little better while they rest and recuperate.