Is Your Dog in Pain Due to a Medical Condition?
Here's How to Help Them


Dogs are the most common pet in North America, and dog ownership has been on a steady rise for years. Dogs have also been shown to reduce life-threatening health risks such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and depression. 

The American Veterinary Association estimates that there are nearly 74 million dog owners in the United States alone! And yet many dog owners don't know how to tell if their dog is sick or injured. In fact, it's estimated that up to 50% of dog owners ignore warning signs because they just don't know what those signs mean. This article will explore why so many people fail to recognize these warning signs and offer some tips on how you can help your pup feel better with the right medicinal treatment.

stuffed dog with bandages

Common Medication to Relieve Dog Pain

What dog owners may not realize is that dog pain can be due to a number of different medical conditions. Though it's hard for dog owners to see their dog in pain, there are ways they can help them manage the discomfort. Often this will start with taking your dog to the veterinarian. The veterinarian will try to determine what kind of illness or injury your dog has and determine how best to treat their condition. One common medication used by veterinarians is tramadol for dogs. It's an opiate-based pill that relieves pain but also doesn't cause the dog to feel sleepy or lethargic. If you suspect your dog may be feeling some type of pain, one quick way to detect it is through dog body language.

Signs Your Dog is in Pain

A dog will usually show physical signs that they're in pain and discomfort through their dog's body language and behavior. If your dog is rubbing or scratching a certain area of their body, it's likely that they have an injury or condition there that's causing them pain. They may also lick, bite at, or paw at themselves if they're having trouble moving around.  If your dog is being unusually still, it could be a sign they're not feeling well. If they have trouble getting onto or off of something, or having a difficult time going up and downstairs, it's possible they have a condition that's causing them discomfort.

If your dog is normally very active and then starts to slow down or become ill-tempered, this can also be a sign of dog pain. If your dog doesn't want to play with their toys as much as normal, this could also mean they're not feeling well. Many dog owners will realize their dog seems to be more shy than usual; this may make them feel uncomfortable around other dogs and new people which can lead them to snap or bite out of fear.

dog not feeling well

Don't Smother Them Too Much

Though dog owners will want to comfort their dogs in pain, it's important not to smother them. Dogs are often uncomfortable when dog owners act too clingy or touchy because they don't know how to handle this behavior. If you want your dog to feel better, it's best that you let them roam around the house and give them some space if they need it. This can help the dog in pain feel more comfortable and decrease stress in the dog's life. However, dog owners should still make sure their dog has fresh water to drink, a food bowl full of food (if they like eating when they're sick), and an area where they can go lay down if needed. 

Treatment For Your Dog

Before dog owners give their dogs any medication, it's best that they talk to a veterinarian. Veterinarians will be able to recommend the types of pills or treatment that can help your dog feel better and recover faster. They'll also know if more serious treatment is necessary; such as surgery or taking your dog into an animal hospital for further observation. 

Though some dog owners like giving their dog ibuprofen, this isn't recommended by veterinarians because ibuprofen can cause damage to a dog's stomach and other organs in larger doses. It's best not to give dogs ibuprofen unless directed by a vet and even then, you should only give them small doses at a time so that they don't get sick. 

Natural Treatments for Dog Pain

There are also some natural dog pain treatments dog owners can do at home to help manage their dog's discomfort and dog pain. Since dog owners can't really tell if dogs are in pain, it's often up to the dog's body language and behavior to give away that they're not feeling well.

  • Aspirin & Acetaminophen: This medication can help with dog pain, but it's recommended to be used carefully and sparingly since aspirin can cause problems for dogs such as ulcers in the dog's stomach. However, dog owners shouldn't give acetaminophen to their dogs unless they've talked to a veterinarian because it can be extremely toxic to them. Tylenol (acetaminophen) poisoning symptoms in dogs include diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst and urination, trembling, and rapid breathing. 
  • Water: Dogs often like drinking water when they're sick. This can help dog owners control the dog's water intake by making sure they have fresh water to drink all day. 
  • Canned Food: Some dog owners will want to feed their dog canned food when they're sick because it makes the dog feel better because the dog is eating something moist and warm. 
  • Get Plenty Of Rest: It's often difficult for dog owners to determine if their dog has a fever because dogs don't sweat, but make sure your dog gets plenty of rest during this time. Keep them in a cool room where they won't overheat themselves because overheating can lead to other health problems if not treated right away. Ensure them that you'll be nearby so you can keep over them until they feel better.
dog suffering pain

Dogs are loyal, loving animals that will do anything for their owners. Unfortunately, dogs can also suffer from various illnesses and pain which is why dog owners should be mindful of the signs to look out for in order to provide proper treatment. If you notice any changes in your dog's behavior or physical appearance like lethargy or lack of appetite, it may be time to take them to see a veterinarian who can diagnose what kind of illness they have and prescribe appropriate medication if necessary.