Dogs instinctively hide their pain. This might sound odd at first, but it actually makes a lot of sense. If a dog out in the wild was displaying signs of pain, they would quickly become dinner for a predator. Any predator will go after the dog who appears weaker.
That’s why you know if your dog is showing signs of pain, they are in some serious pain. It’s heartbreaking to know your dog is hurting. All you want to do is help, so naturally you open up your medicine cabinet and see what painkillers you can give your pup…but then you wonder “are human painkillers safe for my dog?”. The answer to that is a big fat NO!
Later in this article, we will be going into detail on why human OTC NSAIDs are harmful to dogs, but right now you probably just want the quick answer on what you can give your dog to alleviate some of that pain.
The best home remedy for dogs in pain is CBD. This is by far the most natural form of a pain killer you can give your dog and it works better for most issues than just about any other remedy out there. Studies on CBD and dogs have shown that it’s completely safe and effective.
The Best Painkiller That’s Safe For Your Dog – CBD Oil and Treats
CBD has been gaining a lot of popularity these past few years, and there’s a big reason for it! Many humans claim that CBD has done miracles for them. From curing insomnia to getting rid of back pain, CBD seems to treat everything.
However, it’s not just for humans, CBD is safe for dogs, and many dog owners (ourselves included) have seen incredible changes when using CBD to treat and manage pain in our pups.
Three Different Forms
All 3 of these work great. We prefer using treats because it can be a pain to get your dog to take pills, and some dogs don’t like the taste and smell of the oils.
How To Properly Dose Your Dog
Most CBD products will range from 1-20mg. The amount to give your dog depends on their size and weight. Bigger dogs require more milligrams. A good CBD product will have dosing recommendations on the box. We highly recommend following the products recommendations.
But what if the product doesn’t give any recommendations? If that’s the case, you can use the formula below:
Bodyweight x 0.25 = recommended dose in mg
For example, if your dog weighs 12 pounds, the formula would like like this:
12 x 0.25 = 3mg
If your dog weighs 60 pounds, the formula would look like this:
60 x 0.25 = 15mg
How Many Times Per Day?
Usually, just one dose per day will do the trick. However, if you notice your dog is still in some pain, you can increase it to two doses per day, once in the morning and once in the evening. If your dog is still in pain after that, CBD may not do the trick for your dog.
What if CBD Doesn’t Work?
No problem! Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work. There are still plenty of other painkillers you can give your dog. It’s all about testing until you find the one that works for your k9 friend.
Before we discuss what else you can give your dog for pain relief, let’s briefly touch up on why you should never give your dog meds that were made for humans.
Dogs Are Not Just Small Humans
Simply put, dogs should never take NSAIDS that were made for humans. These can be extremely toxic and lead to several issues such as gastric ulceration and kidney failure.
Symptoms of NSAID Toxicity Poisoning
- Abdominal Pain
You might be thinking, “But I’ve given my dog NSAIDs for humans in the past, and everything turned out fine.” That may be the case, but you don’t want to roll the dice again. The risk of overdosing is too significant. You can have two dogs of the same breed, and one might be much more sensitive than the other. That’s why all OTC meds should be avoided, even ones that are low dosage such as baby aspirin
NSAIDS Designed For Dogs
If the CBD oil does not work for your dog, the next best painkiller to try would be NSAIDS that were designed specifically for dogs.
These will help reduce any swelling, joint pain, and stiffness.
The main NSAIDs for dogs include:
You can order most of these online, but be sure you talk to your vet before purchasing. You want to make sure you buy the one your vet feels would be most effective for your dog’s specific situation, and you’ll also want to make sure your vet gives you the correct dosing recommendations.
It’s important to remember that your dog can still get toxicity poisoning from taking medication made for dogs. This means you’ll want to keep a close eye on them for the first few weeks.
Glucosamine For Joint Support
If your dog is experiencing pain because of joint issues such as arthritis, you may want to consider a joint support supplement in addition to either the CBD oil or the NSAID designed for dogs.
The one that has been tested the most and the one we recommend is glucosamine. Humans have been using this supplement for years, and in low doses, it’s also safe for dogs.
Glucosamine can help your dog is they are suffering from:
- Hip dysplasia
- Spinal disc injury
- Or any joint pain
How Does it work?
That’s the funny thing. We aren’t entirely sure. There is a theory that is “probably” correct but has yet to be proven. It states that glucosamine works because it helps repair damaged cartilage, which fights against joint degeneration.
How Much Glucosamine Should I Give My Dog?
Below are the recommended daily dosages based on weight.
- 5-20 pounds: 250-500mg
- 20-45 pounds: 500mg
- 45-90 pounds: 1,000 mg
- 90+ pounds: 1,500mg
Ice and Heat – Grandma Knows Best
One of the best ways to help relieve your dog of pain is to go back to your grandmas advice and use ice and heat. When we think of how to eliminate pain, we often think about some sort of pill or supplement to take, but ice has always been (and will always be) one of the best home remedies to eliminate (or significantly reduce) pain…your dog may not like it at first, but once they realize it’s helping with the pain, they’ll be ok with it.
Pain in dogs is usually (but not always) caused by inflammation. The more you can reduce the inflammation, the more you can reduce the pain.
However, in order for this method to work, you need to know where the pain is. If you can’t tell where your dogs pain is, you’ll have no idea where to apply the ice.
If you know where the pain is located, hold an ice pack to that area for 10 minutes, then apply a heat pack for 10 minutes. Repeat this a couple times throughout the day. Although this may not “heal” whatever is causing the pain, it should help with pain management.
The reason this works so well is because the ice helps constrict the blood vessels and the heat helps open the blood vessels. This pumps blood away from the source of inflammation which causes the pain to decrease.
Know The Source of Pain
Before we wrap up this article, we need to ask an important question. Do you know WHY your dog is in pain? If the answer to this is no, then you should schedule an appointment with your vet ASAP. A healthy dog won’t be in pain, and if you let the pain continue without seeing a vet it could be causing serious damage. Plus, the course of treatment may be different depending on what’s causing the pain. For example, treating arthritis is much different than treating hip dysplasia.
We understand it can be tempting to give your dog a painkiller that was designed for humans. You’ll do just about anything to temporarily relieve the pain they are feeling. But remember, even though there may be temporary pain relief, you are doing more harm than good.
We have noticed amazing results with CBD treats. They are entirely safe for your dog, and you’ll likely see a difference in behavior within a day or two (sometimes within an hour or two). If you know the pain is from bad joints, you can also give supplements like glucosamine a try. Although this technically isn’t a pain killer, it will help strengthen the joints and get to the cause of the pain rather than just masking the pain.
Regardless of whether you use CBD, glucosamine, or one of the many other painkillers discussed in this article, the important thing is to avoid human OTC meds at all costs.
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