Pain Medication For Dogs, What Can You Give Safely?

Pain medication for dogs, choose wisely

What is the Right Pain Medication for Dogs?

Dogs are family. When they’re hurting, we want to help them any way we can. But giving your dog pain medication can be risky. It’s important to know the right pain medication for dogs. Know which ones can help your pet and which ones can do them harm.

Is My Dog in Pain?

Dogs may display any number of unusual behaviors when they are in pain, including:
– Loss of appetite
– Excessive vocalizations (including snarling/growling)
– Limping
– Pacing/restlessness
– Acting aggressively when touched
– Shaking/Shivering
– Heavy breathing and panting

For a more in depth read our article on Is my dog in pain? Initial signs of pain, illness or injury

Where Does it Hurt?

As expressive as dogs can be, sometimes they just can’t tell us what is bothering them. However, there are some tell-tale signs to look out for. If your pooch is refusing to eat, they may be experiencing dental pain. If they are limping or having trouble sitting comfortably, they might have a leg or hip injury.

Can I Give My Dog ‘Human’ Pain Medication?

This is the most important and most commonly asked question. The answer is the main reason for understanding the right pain medication for dogs. By and large, pain medication intended for humans is not safe for dogs. Many over-the-counter pain pills like Tylenol, Advil and Aleve contain compounds that are toxic to canines. Tylenol and Aspirin can sometimes be given to dogs in small doses but prolonged usage can cause bleeding in the stomach and intestines. However please consult your vet to make sure it is safe to give to your dog and what dosage they suggest. For more information read our article on human medications that are safe for dogs.


NSAIDS or Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs can be effective in treating pain in both humans and canines. Carprofen and Meloxicam are intended for dogs and are generally considered safe. But again the human version can cause harmful side effects that can make the situation worse.Though they can sometimes cause kidney and liver problems.

Other Options

If NSAIDS aren’t right for your dog, there are other options available. Opioids like morphine and codeine work by interfering with a dog’s ability to sense pain. Steroids like Prednisone mitigate pain by reducing inflammation. As well as various homeopathic options. Some people have noticed great improvement with various herbs given to dogs, however these take time to work, and often used to treat symptoms of chronic illnesses. If this is due to an injury or illness and your dog needs quicker relieve most homeopathic options might not work fast enough.

My Dog Wont Take Their Medication!

Knowing the right pain medication for dogs is important, but giving your dog pills may pose a whole different challenge. Many pet owners hide them in food like hot dogs, peanut butter or cheese. Pill pockets can be a great way and healthier to administer the pills. You can also ask your vet about “compounding” your dog’s medication with flavoring to make it more palatable.

That’s the Spot

Dogs are a gift. They’re energetic, loyal, protective, dopey and playful. And they deserve everything we can give them to ensure they’re comfortable, happy and pain-free. Just remember to always consult a veterinarian before giving your dog medication of any kind.

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