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What Can I Give My Dog For Pain?

What Can I Give My Dog For Pain?

For us, humans, pain is a very bad feeling that we sometimes tend to stay in bed, moan in agony and even take medications to ease it. Pain can come and go, but sometimes they also linger a bit long which extends our unwanted suffering. Lucky for us, humans, that we can express our pain verbally, or through writing (if you can’t talk). But what will happen for those who cannot convey their feelings of pain such as our pets, particularly our dogs? Will we be able to know if there are in pain through some signs and symptoms? Can we do something to help our dogs alleviate the pain that they are feeling? Now that brings us to the question – ‘What can I give my dog for pain?’

All of these questions are the focus of our discussion, and once we reach the end of this discussion, we will ensure that you are able to have new knowledge and understanding about dog pains.

what can i give my dog for pain

Pain For Dogs

Pain is defined by the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of Wisconsin as the ‘unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.’ Animal pain is subjective to them and they also have what we call as pain tolerance. Your pet dog may have a low level of pain tolerance, while some dogs have higher tolerance.

If there are two dogs with the same degree of injury, one dog may howl in pain while the other one can still walk and play. This is because of the subjectivity of pain that each dog perceives it differently. But no matter how they perceive pain, it is still important that it should be properly treated.

Signs That Your Dog Is In Pain

Though our dogs can’t tell us directly if they are in pain or not, there are still some ways for us to check  through observing their behaviors and alterations on their daily routine activities. Once we observe these signs being manifested by our beloved canines, it is best if we seek professional help from licensed veterinarians.

The signs that may mean our dogs are in pain are:

  • Continuous grooming of themselves. If they have a visible wound, dogs will tend to it by licking the wounded area for cleaning. However, if there are problems internally that are not visible to the naked eye, your dog will also do the same. If you observe that your dog is constantly licking the same part every time, then it is one sign that there is a problem on that area. When it comes to eye pain, your dog might not lick the eye, but rather, he’ll lick his paw and use it to rub his eyes.
  • Changes on the breathing pattern. Basically in humans, we have a ragged breathing if we are in pain. This is also the same with dogs. If you notice that your dog is panting, or its breathing becomes shallow or deep, it might be that he is in pain.
  • Changes in gait. Normal dogs can walk normally. However, if you can see that there is a change in the way your dog is walking such as limping or hobbling, it is an indication that he is in pain.
  • Being too loud. If your dog is being too loud such as constant whining, whimpering, howling or growling, it might mean that he is having pain in parts of his body that is too much for him to handle and it needs treatment.
  • Eye changes. If your dog is having eye pain, his pupils will become smaller. But if it is pain on the other parts of his body, the pupils will get bigger. A dog in pain is also squinting a lot.
  • Changes in sleeping and eating habits. Like in humans, dogs who are in pain also tend to sleep more because they don’t want to feel the pain and they want to try to heal themselves. There is also a loss of appetite which can lead to some weight loss if pain is already chronic.
  • Loss of energy. Most dogs are very lively, but if you can observe that your dog is being lethargic and weak, it means that he is feeling something and it is probably pain.
  • Affection changes. Dogs who are in pain will either constantly seek your affection, or withdraw and hide from you.
  • Aggressive behavior. If you have a friendly dog and he suddenly changes his aura and demeanor over little things by snapping at you, it may mean that he is in pain. Dogs who are in pain will be defensive and they will try to protect themselves from other people, including you, because they are afraid that you will hurt them. However, if your dog is already aggressive, he may show the exact opposite and becomes an affection-seeker.
  • Bad posture. Dogs have regal postures. If you notice that they are fidgeting, rigid or hunching, then it is a clear sign that something is bothering them and that they must be in pain.


What Can I Give My Dog For Pain?

What can you give a dog for pain varies on the extent of pain as well as the recommended medications and treatment by your dog’s veterinarian. Though you can use some over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications to treat the pain of your dog, it is still important for you to be guided accordingly to ensure that you are giving the right medication with its correct dosage.

Before using some human medications for your dog, you need to do a good research first because some human pain medications are quite harmful for your dog to use.

1. Aspirin

Aspirin can be used to treat pain in dogs. It is generally safe to use and it lessens inflammation and swelling, as well as aids in reducing your dog’s fever, if he has any. It is important to note that aspirin should only be used on a short-period of time as long-term use will lead to the destruction of cartilage and will make joint problems worse.

Dosage: 5-10mg per pound of your dog’s body weight given twice a day (one dose every 12 hours)

Dangerous For Dogs with:

  • Bleeding disorders
  • Internal ulcers or bleeding
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver problems
  • Pregnant dog mothers
  • Nursing dams
  • Vitamin K deficiency
  • Puppies below 8 weeks old
  • Corticosteroid-taker dogs

Side Effects: lethargy/weakness, loss of appetite, diarrhea


2. Tylenol

Though Tylenol can be given, it is usually not recommended as it can cause toxicity to your dog. It is important that you consult your veterinary first before giving this medication to your dog who is in pain.

Dosage: 5mg per pound of body weight given thrice a day (every 8 hours)

Side Effects: kidney or liver damage (this is the reason why Tylenol is not usually prescribed, it may treat pain temporarily but the damage that it will create is greater)


3. Codeine

Codeine is a narcotic drug, and though many mistake it as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), it is not. It is use to treat moderate to severe pain in dogs and it is very effective in what it does. You cannot buy codeine as an OTC drug, hence, you really need your vet’s prescription.

Dosage: 0.25mg – 1mg per pound of body weight given three to four times a day (every 6-8 hours).

Side Effects: lethargy, drowsiness, vomiting, hard to pass out stool, slow heartbeat, labored or slow breathing, urine retention



Another human pain medication that you can give to your dog is Tramadol. Just like codeine, tramadol is not an NSAID. It belongs to the opiate category that works similarly as morphine. This drug is actually safer to use than NSAIDs because it has lower side effects, however, you need to ensure accurate dosage because tramadol is very powerful.

Dangerous For Dogs with:

  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory problems
  • Pregnant dogs

Dosage: 0.5mg – 1.8mg per pound of your dog’s body weight given two to three times a day (every 8 to 12 hours)

Side Effects:: nausea, weakness, constipation, constricted pupils, dizziness

Signs And Symptoms Of Tramadol Overdose: abnormal heartbeat, shallow breathing, hallucinations, anxious behavior

Aside from human medications that you can give to your dog, what you can give dogs for pain are pain-killers that are specifically created for them. These medications can be used if your dog has developed some untoward reactions in using human pain medications.


What Can You Give A Dog For Pain Includes:

1. Rimadyl

Also known as Carprofen, this is actually the first NSAID that was ever made for dogs. Aside from treating pain, it is also used for swelling and stiffness. There is a generic form of Rimadyl which is known as Novox, but is only available in a caplet form.

Dosage: 2mg per pound of your dog’s body weight given as a single dose

Side Effects:: appetite loss, lethargy/weakness, eye dryness/irritation, signs of internal bleeding (vomiting, pale gums and tongue, and diarrhea), signs of liver problem (increase urination and excessive thirst), and signs of seizures (dizziness, stumbling, paralysis, disorientation)

**Internal bleeding, liver problem and seizures are life threatening side effects of the drug which requires immediate supervision of your dog’s physician.



Most commonly known in names under Deracoxib and Novartis, this is a popular dog pain reliever. This is available in oral tablet form only. Dermaxx is used to treat osteoarthritis pain and inflammation as well as an after-surgery medication.

Dosage: After surgery pain – 1.4mg to 1.8mg per pound of your dog’s body weight given once a day

Arthritic pain and inflammation 0.45mg to 0.91mg per pound of body weight given once a day

Side Effects: same as with the side effects of Rimadyl, you need to be cautious of the same adverse effects and consult your veterinarian as soon as possible once you can see these side effects on your dog.


3. Previcoxx

This is the most recent NSAID that has been created for your dog to use when he is in pain. It is effective in controlling pain as well as in reducing inflammation. Previcoxx is also a fast-acting drug which makes it a good choice for pain reliever.

Dosage: 2.27mg per pound of your dog’s body weight given once a day

Side Effects: same effects as of Rimadyl and Dermaxx.


Important Key Notes To Remember In Dog Pain

  • Do not give ibuprofen because it is harmful and fatal for your dog at any dosage. If in any case that your dog accidentally ingests the medication, you need to bring him to the veterinary as soon as possible so that he can’t absorb too much toxin.
  • Double check all medications that you are giving to your dog. Ensure that you have the right medication, and the right dosage to be given. Also check that the drug you are giving is not yet expired.
  • What can you give a dog for pain should include proper calculation in dosage, one wrong calculation will put your pet’s life in immediate danger.
  • If you have given a wrong medicine or a wrong dose, seek professional help immediately as it may lead to harmful effects to your dog.
  • If you have any questions regarding supplements and other medicines, or if you have any clarifications about the medicine that you are giving, do not hesitate to ask your dog’s veterinary. There is no harm in asking, but there is harm when you give medications in doubt.

These pain medications are created to help your dog ensure an optimum well-being of health and lessen the discomfort and uneasy feeling brought about by pain. As your dog is a great companion and considered as a man’s best friend, it is best if you treat him nicely and take good care of him. After all, if you have a happy and a good conditioned dog, it will ensure that you can spend more time with your beloved canine friend.

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