Dogs are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. Only 20% of dogs lived past six years old in 1900, but this has more than doubled to 44% as recently as 2010. Just like humans, dogs can become more prone to illness and injury as they age. In many instances, veterinarians prescribe expensive drugs that also carry some risk of side effects. But did you know that there are many effective natural home remedies for dogs that help to relieve pain and other symptoms? Read on to learn more but please consult with your vet first before giving your dog any pain remedies.
It can be hard to know when your pup is in pain. Dogs can be very stoic, and will do their best to carry on as normal despite pain. That’s why it’s so important to recognize signs of discomfort in your pet to avoid the pain escalating into something much worse.
Below are some common signs of discomfort or pain to look out for.
Looking at a dog's physical appearance is a good way to see if they’re in good health. If their posture or balance is off, it could be a sign of health problems.
A few physical signs to look out for are:
Noticing mobility is another good way of determining whether your dog is in pain. Look out for potential mobility changes including:
Pain can cause changes in your dog's behavior. You may notice your dog becoming aggressive or antisocial, especially if you touch them in a way they don't like. Pain-elicited aggression can be seen more as a defense mechanism.
Keep an eye on the following changes:
We’re often asked, “What can you give dogs for pain?” Because we are not medical professionals, we highly advise that you consult a vet for any pain remedies, but read on for a few possible solutions. Aside from pharmaceuticals, there are some natural painkillers for dogs that can be very beneficial. These remedies have anti-inflammatory properties, but research on how effective they are at relieving pain is still ongoing. Read on for a few home remedies for dog pain.
The benefits of warm and cold compresses for dogs are widely recognized. A warm compress helps to dilate blood vessels and promote greater blood flow that reaches deep within a dog’s muscles. It greatly benefits tight or twitching muscles in particular and is usually more effective at treating chronic pain such as arthritis in dogs.
A cold compress has the opposite effect of a warm compress. It reduces blood flow to certain injured areas, thereby inducing a feeling of numbness that can act as a local anesthetic. Cold compresses are best used on injured or swollen areas on your dog.
If your dog becomes agitated by the compress, remove it immediately because the temperatures may feel very unnatural to them.
For a warm compress, you simply need a clean cloth soaked in warm water. Apply this to the area for 5 to 10 minutes a few times a day. Re-warm the cloth in warm water once it cools.
For a cold compress, throw some crushed ice into a ziplock bag ensuring excess air is removed, and then place it on the injured area. A bag of frozen vegetables will suffice. Hold the cold compress in place for 15 minutes, and then remove. Repeat this every 6 to 8 hours as necessary.
Otherwise, you can purchase a reusable warm or cold compress to use as a temporary pain relief for dogs.
Humans are increasingly incorporating CBD oil into their lifestyles to help ease pain, but will this natural remedy have the same effect on dogs?
While research to determine whether CBD oil is beneficial for dogs is still ongoing, some studies suggest that it can minimize pain levels and increase activity in dogs with osteoarthritis. There is also evidence showing epileptic dogs having significantly less seizures after being given CBD oil in addition to their seizure medication, compared to dogs that were given their seizure medication along with a placebo.
CBD is one of 80 active chemical cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant. In contrast to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — perhaps the most popular of all cannabis compounds — CBD is not psychoactive.
CBD oil works similarly to ibuprofen. The two substances share multiple pathways, including those that control inflammation and blood clotting.
Giving your dog CBD has the potential to help with the following problems:
Numerous manufacturers develop natural and non-toxic CBD oils made specifically for dogs to safely consume. They can either be given as treats, an oral application, or mixed in with normal pet food. Just remember to always consult with your vet before giving your dog any CBD oil.
Before giving your pup CBD oil, it’s important to be aware of possible side effects your dog may experience.
Research has shown that CBD oil can reduce saliva production, which ultimately leads to a dry mouth. Saliva production in dogs is quite beneficial for dental hygiene and digestion. If their saliva content reduces, it could affect their overall health. Therefore, it’s best to only ever give your dog CBD oil in small doses.
Dog parents sometimes give their fur babies CBD oil to calm them down. However, this can have a negative effect on the dog's health by causing drowsiness and lethargy, which can be harmful.
CBD oil is known to cause a slight temporary drop in blood pressure in humans. Since dogs are smaller in size, one or two drops of CBD oil can cause them to become light-headed.
Another natural pain remedy for dogs is ginger — a common plant that has been used for millennia to treat nausea and vomiting — but it can also be used for many other ailments.
Ginger is known to:
These properties make ginger useful for preventing nausea and vomiting, but also helpful in treating osteoarthritis and memory problems in dogs.
Raw ginger can be eaten by dogs. A dog should never eat more than one teaspoon of ginger at any given time. If your dog eats too much, they may experience some unpleasant side effects including becoming gassy or nauseous.
To use raw ginger in your dog's food, you must:
Never give your dog ginger before surgery. It can thin their blood, making it harder for them to recover. Ginger also lowers blood sugar, so avoid feeding it to dogs that are diabetic or have a heart condition. Please consult your vet for more information.
Yucca or Cassava root is a potato-like plant similar to yams that’s often used medicinally. The Yucca root is known to offer several health benefits for your dog including:
You can use yucca in three different ways:
Yucca is a very good source of vitamins and minerals for your dog, but it can also upset their digestive system. To prevent this from happening, the recommendation is to give your dog a two to three-day break from yucca every week.
Alfalfa is a nutrient-dense herb that’s high in protein and contains a number of minerals including potassium, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, and magnesium. It should only be used as a supplement for your dog's diet.
Potential benefits your dog can receive from consuming alfalfa include:
You can sprinkle the leafy, green vegetable on your dog’s food. One teaspoon per 10 pounds of dog food or 1/4 of a cup for a 50-pound dog is the recommended amount. You can also make alfalfa tea by boiling 4 teaspoons of dried alfalfa in 1 quart of water for about 20 minutes. Add this tea to your dog’s food or water at a ration of about 1/4 of a cup per 10 pounds of dog weight.
It’s important to note that Alfalfa seeds contain a toxic amino acid, which shouldn’t be used. Your dog should only consume alfalfa in its pre-bloom state to avoid any allergic reactions.
While supplements are the go-to remedy for dealing with joint pain relief for dogs, dog parents should know that there are natural anti-inflammatories they can give their pets as well.
Cinnamon is a great herb for dogs. As pets age, they can develop joint problems such as arthritis. Cinnamon helps manage pain and swelling. The recommended dose is to mix 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon with one tablespoon of honey and use it as a supplement.
Turmeric has been used for hundreds of years to treat joint pain and inflammation. It contains a compound called curcumin — a powerful antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals and prevent damage and inflammation to the joints affected by arthritis.
As you can see, there are numerous natural remedies to relieve dog pain and help your fur babies live happier and healthier lives. Natural remedies may not be as strong as some medications, but they offer the benefit of far fewer side effects, which spells good news for your pup’s wellbeing. Get in touch with your vet to learn more about the potential benefits of natural pain remedies for dogs.