Dogs are mammals just like us. But, can you give the same pain relief treatments humans use to treat pain in dogs? Some people think it is safe to give dogs the same medications we take. Nothing could be further from the truth! Do not make this mistake! Many of the medications that work well for humans are downright poisonous for dogs. This includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Tylenol, Advil, Aspirin, or Alleve. There are NSAIDs specifically made for dogs, however, these NSAIDs come with a list of potential side effects as well. This leaves many pet owners wondering, “what can I give my dog for pain relief?”
Fortunately, there are natural remedies you can try, to make things easier. We have compiled this list of the top 12 home pain remedies for dogs. Although, before we go over these remedies it is important to cover the different symptoms of pain in dogs. Knowing all of the symptoms will help you to better recognize if your dog is in pain. The sooner you notice that your dog is in pain the quicker you can address it.
How Do I Know If My Dog Is In Pain?
Caring for a dog’s health is different than caring for a person’s health. Dogs cannot speak to us and tell us what may be bothering them. This means that we, as attentive dog owners, must pay attention to other signs. We have to always be aware of how our dogs are acting and pay attention to their overall behavior.
If you think your dog is in pain it is important to note the severity and how often the pain is. First of all, if the pain is intense or chronic you should take your dog to the vet right away. However, if the pain is minor or acute you may be able to address the issue at home. Although, we always recommend to get a veterinarian’s advise if your pet is in pain.
Second of all, depending on the severity and frequency of the pain may determine the dosage size of some of these remedies. Therefore, before we start applying these natural pain relievers let’s first look at the possible symptoms of your dog’s pain. The type of symptoms your dog displays and how often they occur can help to determine the severity of the pain. Knowing why your dog is in pain can also help determine what you want to give them for pain relief.
Signs that your dog may be in pain:
Antisocial or aggressive behavior:
Remember that dogs are highly social animals; they crave interaction. If they are hiding or avoiding contact, then there may be something wrong. Additionally, a dog in severe pain may act aggressively towards humans or other dogs.
Changes in sleeping, eating, and drinking habits:
Dogs are like humans. They are creatures of habit. If those habits change, something may be wrong. A change in behavior may signal your dog is in mild to severe pain.
Being more vocal:
Because dogs are so social, they communicate vocally. If they are in pain, they may exhibit excessive snarling, yelping, growling, or even howling. Canines have an instinct to hide their pain. If your dog becomes more vocal it may be in severe pain.
Dogs will instinctively clean their wounds by licking them. This is also true if your dog has internal pain and they may be licking themselves to soothe their symptoms. They will most commonly focus on their paws and they may even bite at the skin until they give themselves “hot spots” or sores. Continuous licking of paws could be a sign of an underlying ailment, you should see a vet if it persists. An increase in grooming could be due to mild pain. If the grooming is excessive or creates wounds the pain could be severe.
Excessive panting or labored breathing:
It is perfectly normal for a dog to pant. In some cases, panting is a sign of happiness or contentment. However, if it is excessive or if their breathing is shallow, it likely means that something is wrong. If breathing increases due to pain it is probably mild.
Issues with mobility:
If your dog is limping or moving about stiffly, they are probably in pain. They may be reluctant to leave their beds or unable to climb stairs. A mobility issue could be a signal of severe pain or a severe problem. This is also a common sign of dogs with arthritis, which main symptoms are pain and inflammation.
If your dog appears restless by pacing back and forth, being unable to get comfortable, or barely sleeping, they are likely experiencing (severe) pain or extreme discomfort.
Swelling and changes in posture:
If your dog’s face, legs, and/or paws are swollen, then they may have serious inflammation and pain. In some cases, it may even be cancer. They may also have a hunched and rigid stance or even take on the “prayer” posture where their front legs are on the ground and their bottom is up in the air. If your dog presents either of these symptoms you should consider it a signal of severe pain. Swelling could also signify an allergic reaction which may require immediate medical attention.
Trembling or shaking:
This is a serious symptom and it may even indicate poisoning, kidney disease, and/or pancreatitis. Excessive or continuous trembling or shaking could be a sign of severe pain.
***This is an informative guide, it is not intended to replace your veterinarian’s advice. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms or if you notice an overall change in their behavior, it is a good idea to take them to a veterinarian and get them checked out, especially if your dog is displaying any of the more severe symptoms.
Below you will find 11 more options to help keep your dog healthy and happy. Not only do these remedies treat pain in dogs, but most of them also help with inflammation. Inflammation relates to pain in the mammalian body.
Neosporin is an anti-bacterial ointment that you can use on both humans and dogs. You apply it to the outside of the body, typically directly on wounds. Doctors refer to it as a topical treatment. An easy way to remember this is that you use it “on top” of the skin.
Neosporin disinfects wounds and keeps infections from developing. It does so with antibiotics in the ointment. These are usually bacitracin, neomycin, and/or polymyxin. These are generally very safe and well-tolerated with very few allergic reactions. Neosporin also helps to treat pain in dogs via a chemical compound called pramoxine. This is a numbing agent that dulls the sensation of pain on the surface of the skin.
You should note that Neosporin does not treat the underlying source of the pain; it only treats the wound on the surface level.
Turmeric is an incredibly useful and widely-used health supplement. It is related to the ginger plant. It usually comes in a bright yellow/orange powder with a strong and distinctive flavor. They make the powder by grinding up the roots of the plant. Turmeric can be great to give your dog for pain relief.
This supplement has a long history of human consumption. It has various positive effects on the mammalian body (for both humans and dogs). In moderate amounts, it can aid in digestion and settle an upset stomach. At greater doses, it is highly effective at treating pain, stiffness, and inflammation. It decreases the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA), and bursitis. These are all painful inflammatory conditions that both humans and dogs suffer from.
Studies have also shown that it may be effective at preventing joint inflammation. This means that it is best if you use it as a kind of everyday supplement to keep the inflammation from occurring.
Remember that ginger and turmeric are related plants. They are also both made up of phytochemicals, which is just a fancy word for the chemicals in plants that give them their medicinal qualities. Ginger consists primarily of two phytochemicals: gingerol and shogoal.
Much like turmeric, ginger has been shown to be highly effective in treating pain, stiffness, and inflammation. It should be noted that both of these compounds treat these symptoms all over the mammalian body. A recent study concludes that ginger alone reduces pain and stiffness in knee joints by 40%. When you combine ginger with turmeric, it becomes a super-power. Ginger may also be effective at settling an upset stomach as well as decreasing nausea.
Another plant with the ability to kick pain’s butt is cayenne. It’s major phytochemical is capsaicin. This not only gives cayenne peppers their spicy kick, but it also blocks a compound known as substance P. This compound is responsible for pain transmission in the mammalian body.
Consequently, cayenne can treat all types of pain in dogs, including arthritis, bruises, spinal pain, and even a kind of nerve pain associated with diabetes called neuropathy. Hopefully, you can see a pattern emerging with these supplements; they’re delicious and good for you!
Yucca plants are a kind of shrub from the southwestern United States and Mexico. They have been used by indigenous peoples for thousands of years for their powerful healing properties. The phytochemicals of the yucca plant are steroidal saponins and phenolics. Both of these are powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic compounds.
Yucca is a stage 2 herb which means you can administer it safely in small doses. Do not use it more than 4-5 times per week. Avoid usage if your dog is pregnant. Do not use for more than a month or two at a time giving ample time between usage. Mixing Alfalfa and Yucca may effectively help treat arthritis pain.
There are also very high amounts of folic acid and vitamin C. Both of these are crucial in the skin and eye health. You can use Yucca to treat a variety of skin conditions in your dog, including:
- Cuts and/or sores
- Skin infections
These various conditions can be treated by rubbing the Yucca extract directly on the skin like an anti-bacterial ointment. You could even say that it’s Mother Nature’s Neosporin! Still wondering “what you can give your dog for pain relief?” Continue reading for more natural remedies and information on combining them to increase their efficiency.
Arnica is another plant with anti-inflammatory and painkilling properties. This is an herb that grows predominantly in Siberia, central Europe, and certain parts of North America. It has been used in folk medicine by various indigenous peoples for many years.
Another name for Arnica is the “mountain daisy” or “leopard’s bane” because of its bright yellow/orange flowers. The medicinal phytochemicals are found in these flowers and can be used to make ointments, creams, gels, and/or oils. Arnica is another topical treatment for general and arthritic pain in dogs. However, it is toxic for both humans and dogs if they use it on an open wound.
Holistic veterinarians may suggest using Arnica to help treat bruising, fractures, and sprains. It works great for circulating blood to the injury to promote a quicker recovery. This is because it can help dilate blood vessels which increases blood flow. Use sparingly though, whole herb Arnica can be toxic if your dog consumes it. We recommend consulting your veterinarian for advice before using it.
#7 Green Tea
This is a very famous and widely-known medicinal supplement. Phytochemicals known as catechins give green tea its various health benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation often comes with pain, therefore decreasing inflammation lowers pain.
These phytochemicals are antioxidants. The presence of these antioxidants decreases the chances of cancer. Antioxidants work by neutralizing small compounds in your dog’s cells that can cause damage and premature aging.
It is also a rich source of vitamins and minerals that can be administered with topical ointments. Green tea contains vitamins A, D, E, C, B, B5, H, and K as well as manganese, zinc, chromium, and selenium. Look at all those vitamins! It’s like the whole alphabet!
When using green tea for your dog you want to make sure you use a green tea that has no caffeine. Caffeine can be toxic to pets. To administer green tea to take one tea bag, combine with 4c of water and let sit for 15 minutes. You can store this in your fridge for up to 3 days. For small dogs, you should add 1/8 cup to its morning and evening meals. Give medium dogs give 1/4 to 1/2 cup twice a day and 1/2 to 1 cup twice a day for large dogs.
Alfalfa is a widely known plant that people also refer to as Lucerne. It has been grown and fed to livestock for centuries because of its incredible vitamin, mineral, and protein content. It has high levels of vitamin C, vitamin K, copper, manganese, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, and iron.
In addition to this density of nutrients, it has various medicinal benefits. It is incredibly effective at lowering cholesterol. Believe it or not, dogs have high cholesterol too! This is because they possibly are being fed human food. Alfalfa also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can help alleviate the symptoms of arthritis.
Most vets suggest using alfalfa sparingly with your dog. Avoid administering large amounts to your pet and beware of using low-grade alfalfa. Low-grade alfalfa may contain alfalfa seeds which contain an amino acid that can be toxic to dogs.
This is another plant that is used to make medicine. It is absolutely chock-full of phytochemicals, including flavonoids, phenolic acids, alkaloids, phytosterols, tannins, and triterpenoids. As you may imagine, having all these active compounds means it has a wide variety of uses.
It can treat the following conditions in your dog:
- Urinary tract infections
- Incontinence (inability to control urination)
- Various kidney and/or bladder conditions
- Joint diseases
- Weak bones (osteoporosis)
- High cholesterol levels
Much like the other plants on this list, it has anti-inflammatory properties as well. It is particularly good for treating stiffness and swelling from arthritis. It is a powerful diuretic, however, so it should not be taken in high amounts.
The leaves, roots, and stems of this plant can be used to make medicine. If it is taken by mouth, then it can treat an upset stomach, including nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. It has been shown to be effective in treating ulcers as well.
The same mechanism that makes it effective at treating ulcers within the body makes it a powerful topical treatment too. You can apply it to open wounds and sores to reduce pain in dogs and fight off bacteria. In many ways, it is similar to Yucca and is another one of Mother Nature’s Neosporin treatments. It can also treat inflammation in the joints and arthritis due to the presence of tannins and rosmarinic acid.
The final remedy that we will discuss is the herbal extract known as Boswellia. It is sometimes referred to as “Indian frankincense” and it comes from a tree that is native to Africa and Asia. As with many of the plants on this list, it has been used for centuries in indigenous medicine. If your dog is in pain try to give it some Boswellia for pain relief.
This is an incredibly powerful anti-inflammatory supplement. You can use it to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It does so by preventing the formation of leukotrienes in your dog’s body. These leukotrienes are a primary way that inflammation is triggered in the mammalian body.
Like many of these natural remedies, Boswellia dosage sizing directly correlates with body weight. General dosage size of Boswellia for dogs is typically between 10-20mg per kilogram of bodyweight. You should always administer the dose with an average size meal.
Much like turmeric, Boswellia may also be useful in preventing the development of some forms of cancer. Studies have shown that Boswellia is especially effective when combined with turmeric. Any product that contains both these supplements will be incredible at preventing pain and inflammation.
#12 Cannabidiol (CBD)
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural extract from the hemp plant. Although it has not yet been approved to prevent, treat or cure any ailments or diseases, let’s take a look at what it actually is.
CBD is in a class of natural plant compounds called cannabinoids. These are compounds that can interact with cannabinoid receptors spread throughout your dog’s body. This system of receptors is called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
When a cannabinoid naturally occurs in the body, it is referred to as an endocannabinoid. CBD comes from a plant so it is referred to as a phytocannabinoid. Every mammal and almost every living creature is born with an ECS which is capable of interacting with both endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids.
Even though it comes from the hemp plant, CBD is not psychoactive. This means that it does not cause intoxication. Some people might find this disappointing, but remember that intoxication is frequently unpleasant or distressing for dogs. It may cause agitation or even aggressive behavior in the intoxicated animal.
Wondering How Much CBD Should I Give My Dog? Checkout our CBD Oil Dosage Chart For Dogs & Cats
There are a variety of natural remedies which can help give your dog some pain relief. However, when you combine them with CBD, you may create a more powerful soothing effect. CBD generally has little to no side effects.
So, what else can you give your dog for pain relief?
Combining Natural Remedies For Dogs In Pain
Some pet owners combine various natural remedies to give their dog for pain relief. If you wish to try this, be sure to approach with caution. You do not want to complicate your dog’s situation. We suggest consulting with your vet before applying any concoction of these herbal remedies to your dog. They should be able to safely guide you through the process.
If you wish to avoid a costly vet visit, another option is to look for supplements specially formulated for dogs which contain a combination of these herbal remedies in order to increase the effects. These can be healthy treats specially made for and tested by animals for the safety of consumers. Our pumpkin spice and cinnamon CBD dog treats are a great example of this. These dog treats combine CBD with the powerful abilities of Turmeric, and Boswellia.
***When introducing any new supplement to your dog it is always recommended to consult with your vet. Doing this will help you figure out what supplements are ok for your dog along with their proper dosage sizes. Furthermore, it’s best to start off low just in case your dog has an adverse reaction to any remedy. Once you know your pet can tolerate it you can gradually increase the dosage size.