Does your dog hurt?
The question of “how do you know if your dog is in pain?” is an important one. If you aren’t aware, your dog could have all kinds of health and behavior issues caused by experiencing pain that go unaddressed. That doesn’t do them any good and it doesn’t help your relationship with your dog.
Sometimes, dogs hurt. It’s not fun, but it’s true. Maybe it will pass quickly on it’s own, but it might not. Just like us, they could have a headache, achy joints, old injuries that flare up, stomach troubles or something really serious……….but they can’t tell you where the problem is. And they can’t tell you how to make it better.
Since they can’t tell you, you have to figure it out.
You have to do the detective work to figure out if there’s an issue and then what to do about it. The way your dog acts, looks and other nonverbal communication are some of the areas that can provide clues. Things like:
- poor appetite
- limping, favoring, guarded movement
- not wanting to do activities that they usually want to do
- dull, rough coat
The vet is also a good resource and you should always check with them once you notice something is wrong. They can diagnose or rule out serious issues that are sources of pain and hopefully resolve them.
Once you and your vet have addressed and resolved any possible serious issues, you may or may not have found a way to relieve your dog’s pain. At least, you’ll be able to feel confident that there isn’t anything life threatening that has been missed.
What if the pain isn’t going away?
So, now that the more serious problems are hopefully taken care of, how do you know if your dog is in pain? Many issues result in chronic pain, like arthritis, hip dysplasia or old injuries. If your dog is having ongoing discomfort, you’ll often see the signs I listed above if you pay attention.
If your vet has prescribed medication, that can help. But it isn’t always enough. Or the side effects of the medication might rule it out as an option. If your dog still needs something to provide relief, you might need to consider some alternative treatment options.
We’ve had some rescue dogs with various issues and have been trying some alternative therapies;
- CBD oil has been helping with hip dysplasia and arthritis pain. The doses can be increased quite a bit to reach a level of relief and it’s relatively inexpensive to buy.
- Cold laser therapy has been providing some relief, although it takes some time and consistence. Our dogs don’t always like to lie still for it, making it a bit more difficult to complete. And buying a quality cold laser is pricey! Read more here.
- Reiki is a form of energy healing that can help. I got trained in it through an online course in a couple of months and at a reasonable cost, so it’s fairly accessible. Read my post about Reiki for more information. I have been able to help relax our dogs and relieve their pain in many instances.
- Acupuncture and chiropractic are provided by our vet. The dogs really seem to enjoy it and feel better afterward.
There are quite a few therapies out there that sound promising. I’ll be doing some more research and trial in the future. I’ll let you know what my experience is and my opinion of how it works.
If your dog has ongoing pain, recognizing how you know if your dog is in pain will help.
Chronic issues tend to flare up from time to time, so if you know what to watch for and what has worked to relieve your dog’s discomfort, you’ll be ahead of the game.
Read my posts, Joint supplements; useful or not or Fish oil for dogs; pros and cons, to find out how supplements can help chronic pain. Knowing if there’s a connection between events, weather, etc. and the pain getting worse can also help you anticipate and get ahead of the pain.
Other ideas for pain management
We’re always looking for new ways to help our dogs. Magnetic therapy is supposed to improve circulation, thereby assisting healing and easing pain. We have recently purchased a bed cover for the dogs to try. I’ll have to let you know what they think of it. My horses certainly like their magnetic blankets so I have high hopes.
For more information that might help, read this post from Dogtime. There are tons of great resources online.
I’d love to hear about your dog and the therapies you’ve found to help with discomfort or pain. Tell me about it in the comments, below.