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Finding out if a dog is in pain can sometimes be tricky. However, just like with humans, a dog that is in pain certainly feels it. The pain can range from something that is tolerable to something that completely compromises the quality of their living. However, just like with humans, it can be hard to decipher if a dog is actually in pain.
Further complicating issues is that dogs cannot express their pain implicitly, like with humans. This article aims to help you identify if your dog is in pain and what you can do at home to help them manage it using home remedies for dog pain.
What is dog pain?
Pain is a mechanism found in most animals (including humans) that alerts it of a possibly damaging stimulus. The presence of the pain makes the organism seek ways to either withdraw from the stimulus or to indicate that a particular part of the body is actually failing. The presence of pain indicates the presence of injury or the threat of an injury. It can affect just about every part of the dog’s body, depending on where the stimulus lies.
Pain is felt subjectively, and different organisms have different levels of tolerance for particular types of pain. Beyond being a physical stimulus, the presence (and even the previous experience) of pain may have a psychological effect on your dog.
Feeling pain can greatly influence the behavior of dogs, and can even cause long-term alteration on their habits. However, it must be noted that the presence of pain, may it be acute or chronic, can cause alterations in your dog’s physiologic and behavioral states.
Natural home remedies for dog pain
There are multiple ways you can help your dog deal with pain at the comfort of your home. Pain medications are usually prescribed, but there are limitations to their use. Here are some remedies you can use that are less toxic and can actually complement whatever treatments they are receiving.
Herbs – There are multiple herbs that are being used for dealing with generalized pain with dogs. Licorice, ginger, yucca, and other herbs have shown various medicinal properties that help relieve pain in canines.
Cold and warm compress – The strategic use of cold and warm compress is a time-tested way of dealing with pain and facilitating healing. Cold compress reduces inflammation and soothes nerves, while warm compress facilitates tissue healing and relaxes stiff muscles.
CBD oil for dog pain
CBD oil – CBD oil is fast becoming a popular choice for pain management in dogs. An extract derived from hemp, the main active ingredient in this oil is cannabidiol (CBD). This compound is not only clinically proven to be effective for pain management, but it is also being used for treating anxiety.
There are other medical uses for CBD oil currently being explored, but at this time, it is fast becoming a great alternative medication for dogs dealing with different kinds of pain. Compared to traditional pain medications, CBD oil carries minimal side effects and has a good safety profile. While there is no established dosage yet for CBD oil, the amount to give depends on factors such as your dog’s size, age, and presence of other health conditions. For safety, make sure to consult your veterinarian to determine appropriate dosage and for proper monitoring.
Causes of dog pain
There are all kinds of possible causes for the dog to feel pain. It can be because they are looking to fill up a physiologic need (i.e.: food, rest, avoidance of weather extremes), they experienced a traumatic event (i.e.: injuries in any part of the body), or there is a destructive process happening at specific parts of their bodies. The presence of disease or injury is a common cause for acute pain, and it can progress to chronic pain if the cause is not properly addressed.
A common cause of pain in dogs is injuries in the musculoskeletal system. Bone or joint damage, ligament and muscle strains, and soft tissue injuries are common causes of both acute and chronic pain in dogs. Also, pain can be caused by problems in a specific organ of the body such as the gut, the lungs, the heart, and their urogenital system.
Pain can also be a manifestation of a generalized illness or an infection that causes an overall deterioration of their bodies. Lastly, pain may arise as a side effect from treatment for a particular disease.
Symptoms of dog pain
Because dogs cannot really vocalize that they are in pain, you need to have a critical eye to notice that your dog is dealing with pain. Each dog has a different way of expressing their pain, but the way they express it can provide essential clues that can help you find the underlying cause. Pain can be manifested in different ways; it would be convenient to divide these symptoms to different classes.
Mobility symptoms: Any alteration on how your dog moves can provide a not-so-subtle hint that they are dealing with pain. In fact, it may even help you see the specific cause of their pain right away! Changes in their stance or favoring sides of their body could be signs of pain. Limping, reluctance to perform certain maneuvers, or a refusal to move at all are major mobility signs of pain for dogs.
Physical symptoms: A dog can also manifest a number of physical symptoms if they are dealing with pain, whether they resist it or not. A dog may show muscle stiffening and trembling movements when dealing with pain, with its degree often directly proportional to the level of pain they are experiencing. Panting, increased heart rate, and making sounds also are significant signs of pain.
Behavioral symptoms: Changes in your dog’s behavior is also a sign that they are dealing with pain. Excessive timidity or aggression are signs that something is wrong with their body. Increased vocalization such as barking or crying can also be signs of dealing with pain. Also, things that used to satisfy them (like touch or play) don’t give them joy anymore. If you notice such behavioral changes, you might need to keep a closer eye on them.
How to prevent dog pain
The ultimate cure to prevent dog pain is to address the specific issue that is bothering your dog. This is why once you notice that your dog is having peculiar signs and symptoms, it is recommended that you seek the help of a vet. This is to ensure that a proper workup of your pet’s condition is done. Based on observations and your pet’s history, possible causes of the pain are identified. From there, procedures such as a detailed physical examination and use of diagnostic methods (ex.: imaging, blood tests) will help identify the most likely cause of your dog’s pain.
From there, a plan on how to treat your dog is created. Medications that aim to relieve pain and resolve the underlying cause of the pain are given. Home or hospital care may be given for the dog, depending on the severity of their condition. Rehabilitative or even surgical treatment might be recommended, if necessary. From there, appropriate home remedies may be provided for your dog if deemed necessary.
The bottom line is that the ultimate resolution of your dog’s pain depends on the identification of what causes it.
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