Pain is a personal thing, and when you see your canine friend in pain, you can almost feel it yourself. Whenever you have a throbbing headache, if you verbalize it, you will get help from family members, eager to ease your pain. It is not that easy for your dog, though, since he cannot verbalize what hurts. Dogs suffer in silence too frequently, and you’ll want to do everything you can to alleviate his pain and make him more comfortable.
Pain Management in Pets
Managing pain in pets is now a higher priority for veterinarians and their clients, alike. Veterinarians know that we need to better understand our dogs’ pain, so that we can manage it effectively. In this way, we give our dogs a better quality of life, even though they can’t tell us what hurts, verbally.
Your role is a major one, in easing canine pain and discomfort. Learn to recognize his cues that indicate discomfort or pain, and become proactive about pain, too. You will serve your dog well if you speak as his advocate when he needs medications for pain, and when you deal with the causes of canine discomfort.
Partnering with Your Veterinarian
A partnership between you and your veterinarian can benefit your dog. It is only through communication and cooperation that your dog’s pain can be managed. Canine pain is an unpleasant emotional and sensory experience that is associated with potential or actual damage to tissue. It is subjective in canines, and it is difficult to measure.
You may have even seen a dog hobbling into your vet’s office with a sore leg, still happily wagging his tail. Another dog with the same problem may cry with pain and panic. The verbal dog obviously needs help, but how do you judge the level of pain of the dog that is stoic?
Recognizing Canine Pain
After injuries that are obvious, or surgeries, you will know that your dog is experiencing pain. In looking over the body, sometimes large breed dogs can be more easily assessed as to their level of pain. Little breeds of dogs may be more difficult to diagnose, unless they are verbal. If there is only subtle evidence, you will need to trust your intuition and train yourself to be a keen observer.
Most dogs feeling pain change their patterns of behavior. They may be listless or depressed, even if they are normally happy dogs. If your dog becomes inactive or withdrawn, they may also not like handling, and this may indicate that something is wrong.
Many mature dogs have back pain, especially those of larger breeds and breeds with longer backs. You may have witnessed older dogs struggle to rise to greet their people, or maybe refuse to stand after a period of lying down. Arthritic dogs endure pain every day. Watch for these and other signs that your dog needs help in managing his pain.
When you are at your veterinarian’s office, be your dog’s advocate, to ensure that he gets relief. Some dogs need strategies for managing pain more than others do. At home, you can use products prescribed by your veterinarian, to help your dog enjoy a life with less pain. Ask your vet before you use any non-prescribed pain medication for your dog, to make sure it is safe for him.