Just as humans, our dogs can suffer various forms of aches and pain. As the pet parent, we are not always aware of how they feel as they cannot literally tell us in words. That is why it is so important to be in tune to your dog’s normal attitude and behavior. Many times if our dog exhibits some type of pain, it may be minor and subside on its own while more serious pain will linger, get worse and need medical attention to find relief.
Acute pain that your dog may be suffering from may be due to an injury and/or infection, many times due to surgery. This type of pain is short-lived and can come on suddenly. If it is due to surgery, as the healing occurs, the pain will subside. If the pain is due to an unanswered injury or infection, once a diagnosis can be made with the problem treated, the hurt will diminish.
Chronic pain is ongoing and is usually the result of some kind of condition that your dog is going through. This type of pain can begin gradually and is hard to pin point by observing symptoms in your dog. Many times it is the result of a disease or as your dog ages, developing arthritis.
So, I am sure you are concerned as to how you can help your dog find comfort and relief through any type of pain. Helping your pet begins with recognizing that he/she has a problem to begin with. Unless you have been able to hear your dog actually verbalize those feelings, it will be necessary for you as the pet parent to notice signs, symptoms and differences in your dog’s behavior. Some things that signal a problem are when your dog is suddenly aggressive (a sign something hurts), overly submissive and/or affectionate than usual, unresponsive, lethargic, biting/nipping, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, whining, whimpering, howling, frequently licking certain areas and favoring a certain part of the body such as the ear. Any or all of these signify that something is causing your dog pain and distress. Call your veterinarian for an appointment.
Once your doctor performs tests and diagnosis to pinpoint the specific cause, a treatment plan will be recommended. Once the cause is determined, medication, physical therapy and/or medication may be prescribed. Surgery is usually advised only in extreme cases. A prescribed medication and physical therapy may be recommended. Be sure that your dog is getting proper nutrition through diet and your veterinarian may counsel you on specific exercises which are also important for pain management.
Massage therapy can sometimes be very beneficial if the limbs are the source of the pain. Your vet can demonstrate a proper technique that can help your dog find comfort.
Medication therapy can be the best option if your dog has no difficulty taking it. Choices include chewable, pills, tablets, gel caps and patches. Speak with your vet to find the best choice for your dog. There are many ways to coax your dog into taking his/her medication without problems such as putting it in some type of food or using “pill pockets” purchased at pet stores to hide the pills.
There are many solutions and options available to help your dog through any type of pain. Our goal and responsibility as pet parents is to provide the best, happiest and healthiest quality of life for our four-legged family members.