Can you give dogs human pain relief?

We can all recall watching our animal companions romp through the wilderness as if they were unstoppable. Morning walks and carefree playtime with our pets may rank among some of our favorite pet memories. Get your dog back on all fours as soon as possible when they exhibit signs of pain.

Is it safe to give dogs over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin? The short answer is no. But what is the best way to reduce dog pain?

Changing your dog’s diet can help reduce pain. Learn how Wild Earth dog food can help.

Sensitivity to touch and behavioral changes, such as an increase in aggression or submissiveness, depending on the dog, are two indications that your dog is in pain. The first thing you should do if you see signs of pain or limping in your dog is call your veterinarian.

Recognizing When Your Dog is in Pain

Knowing your dog’s pain cues will enable you to seek assistance from your veterinarian. Once your pet starts taking any medications, it’s crucial to keep an eye on their development and any indications of pain. Pets should be able to enjoy the things that make them happy and have a high quality of life.

There are several animal pain scales that allow you to rate your pet’s pain level, such as the canine acute pain scale created by Colorado State University veterinary school.

The following are a few indications that your dog may be in pain:

  • Restless or distracted easily
  • Looking uncomfortable
  • Whimpering, crying, groaning, or howling
  • Licking, rubbing, biting, or chewing wound or surgery site
  • Droopy ears, looking worried (shifty eyes, arched eyebrows)
  • Not responding when called
  • Not moving all or part of their body
  • Not interacting with people
  • Shifting their weight or limping to protect certain areas
  • Growling, flinching, pulling away, crying, biting, or whimpering when touched
  • What Can You Give a Dog for Pain?

    Depending on the kind of pain your dog is experiencing, your veterinarian will collaborate with you to create a personalized treatment plan. This may include:

  • Vet-prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which help relieve pain by decreasing inflammation. Note that even though ibuprofen and naproxen are also NSAIDs, they should never be given to your dog—always consult with your vet before giving your dog a new pain medication.
  • Opioids, which work in the brain to limit pain perception (these are typically reserved for more severe pain).
  • Other drugs can affect the nervous system at various levels that can limit pain signal perception.
  • Supplements are used in cases of mild to moderate pain, or with other medications to limit the amount of a drug your dog may need to take.
  • Combinations of physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation, and environmental modifications for pets that cannot tolerate medication well.
  • The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the use of specific nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in dogs for the purpose of reducing pain and swelling in those animals who have osteoarthritis. This class of medications alters how the body reacts to pain by acting at various points along the inflammatory pathway.

    But as a drawback, the drugs may prevent vital bodily processes like supporting platelet function, protecting the lining of the stomach and intestines, and preserving blood flow to the kidneys.

    Only NSAIDs recommended by your veterinarian should be administered to your dog, and you should consult with them frequently while they are taking them. NSAIDs come in both over-the-counter and prescription forms. Some pets may not be able to take this class of medication, such as dogs with pre-existing liver or kidney disease.

    Before beginning these medications and/or after your dog has taken them for a predetermined period of time, your veterinarian may want to perform some tests. In order to use an NSAID on your dog safely, the tests can help reveal how his body and organs are functioning.

    NSAIDs can be used in a variety of ways and are useful for treating inflammation and pain.

  • Your veterinarian may prescribe them for a short time after performing surgery such as a spay, neuter, or dental procedure.
  • The vet may also prescribe them longer-term, for diseases such as hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis.
  • NSAIDs can also be used safely with some other medications including tramadol, gabapentin, or joint supplements.
  • These are some NSAIDs that vets commonly use:

  • Carprofen (Novox or Rimadyl)
    • Prescription medication
    • Tablet, caplet, or chewable tablet
    • Prescribed once or twice daily
    • In use since the late 1990s
  • Deracoxib (Deramaxx)
    • Prescription medication
    • Chewable tablet
    • Prescribed once daily
    • In use since the early 2000s
  • Firocoxib (Previcox)
    • Prescription medication
    • Flavored chewable tablet
    • Prescribed once daily
    • In use since the early 2000s
  • Meloxicam (Metacam)
    • Prescription medication
    • Flavored tablet or liquid
    • Prescribed once daily
    • In use since the early 2000s
  • Grapipant (Galliprant)
    • Prescription medication
    • Tablet
    • Prescribed once daily
    • In use since 2016
    • Compared to some other NSAIDs, this one may have fewer side effects. Unlike the majority of other NSAIDs, it acts at a different stage of the inflammatory pathway.
  • Aspirin
    • Over-the-counter medication
    • Tablet
    • As stated on the label, it might be necessary to administer multiple times per day.
    • Not FDA-approved for use in dogs
    • Compared to other prescription drugs, this one might cause more side effects and toxicity.
  • When used as directed, NSAIDs are frequently secure, efficient painkillers for dogs. It’s critical to keep a close eye out for adverse effects and toxicity symptoms in your pet.

    In the event of an overdose or if your pet is not responding well to the medication, veterinary assistance is required.

    Opioid medications relieve moderate to severe pain by activating receptors in the brain. They may be prescribed following surgery or utilized in anesthesia protocols.

    Opioids come with rules, restrictions, and monitoring because they have a high potential for abuse in people. They must be prescribed by a veterinarian, and because they are controlled substances, your veterinarian is required to maintain a dispensing log that the DEA may audit.

    Pets who take opioids may experience side effects such as panting or slower breathing, salivation, nausea, vomiting, vocalizing, sedation/lethargy, or hyperexcitability.

  • Morphine
    • Liquid, extended-release tablet, or extended-release capsule
    • used for severe trauma or surgical pain (such as orthopedic procedures)
    • Short-term use only
  • Buprenorphine
    • Liquid
    • It is squirted into the mouth rather than being swallowed so that blood vessels under the tongue can absorb it.
    • Used for surgical pain, cancer pain, or trauma
    • Short-term use only
  • Codeine
    • Liquid or tablet
    • used for the treatment of severe arthritis pain, recurrent tracheal collapse, or post-operative pain
    • Short- to medium-term use
  • Butorphanol
    • Liquid or tablet
    • Used for surgical pain
    • Short-term use
  • Fentanyl
    • Liquid or transdermal patch
    • Used for surgical pain
    • Short-term use
    • Patches need to be handled carefully to prevent opioid absorption through the skin.
  • Human Medications That Are Bad for Dogs

    There are some over-the-counter drugs for humans that dogs should never take. These over-the-counter painkillers for people are toxic to dogs:

    Ibuprofen is the main ingredient found in over-the-counter pain relievers like Advil, Motrin, and Nuprin.3 While these medicines are safe for humans in the appropriate doses, it just takes one pill to cause severe problems for your dog. Dogs and cats can get stomach ulcers or kidney failure from these toxic medications.4

    Naproxen is the active ingredient in Aleve, which is a pain reliever that is available without a prescription in the United States. It can be used to treat symptoms related to inflammation, pain, and fever.

    Naproxen should not be used unless a veterinarian specifically recommends a low dosage. Dogs have a low threshold for naproxen toxicity. 5.

    Acetaminophen, commonly known as Tylenol, has long been used as a pain reliever, even in young children. However, the same cannot be said for our furry friends; in dogs, small amounts of Tylenol cause liver failure.6


    What human painkillers are safe for dogs?

    Do not give your dog ibuprofen or acetaminophen. The following NSAIDs are only available for dogs: deracoxib (Deramaxx) and carprofen (Novox or Rimadyl).

    What can you give a dog for pain relief at home?

    Natural Pain Relief for Dogs
    1. Hot and Cold Therapy.
    2. ​Ginger.
    3. Turmeric.
    4. Boswellia.
    5. Devil’s Claw.
    6. CBD Oil.
    7. Acupuncture.
    8. Fish Oil.