A dog at the vet getting checked out to see if it has any pain.

What Can I Give My Dog For Pain?

6 mins |

Pain is a distressing sensation brought on by disease, injury, or tissue damage. So, when that happens, it’s normal to wonder, “What can I give my dog for pain?” When a dog is ill and showing signs of pain, you should consult a veterinarian to determine what is causing the pain. So, if it is not treated in a timely manner, it might stress your dog out by affecting its sensor nerves.

The origin and severity of the pain determine the precise course of treatment for the dog’s pain, which should be determined by a veterinarian. However, NSAIDs like meloxicam and carprofen are advised by veterinarians to reduce the pain. Additionally, opioids are also used to treat the dog’s pain, and some natural herbs can help as well.

Causes Of Dog Pain

Physical harm, disease, or infection are all potential sources of pain for a dog. The canine body is lined with pain receptors, just like the human body. These pain receptors transmit messages to the brain in the event of an accident, trauma, illness, or infection, causing the dog to experience pain in that specific area of the body. 

The following are some causes of pain in a dog:

  • Physical trauma
  • Pancreatitis
  • Bone cancer
  • Peritonitis
  • Arthritis
  • Ear infection
  • Cystitis
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Periodontal diseases

How Can I Tell If My Dog Is In Pain?

A vet checking out a dog.
Vets do a great job with our pets, don’t they? Let them help you whenever they can.

The indications and symptoms of a dog in pain can vary. Dogs communicate their feelings and emotions through expressions and gestures since they are very intelligent animals. 

Aggressive behavior, heavy panting, agitation, lethargy, shaking, twitching muscles, restlessness, excessive licking, and an inability to lie down or get up are common symptoms of a dog in pain.

Medications For Dog Pain

There are a variety of ways to reduce dog pain. A veterinarian must see the dog though. They will give the appropriate medication for dog pain. The most common medications vets recommend for dogs are below.


NSAIDs stands for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They aid in pain relief by working at the site of pain to reduce inflammation. They work by blocking the cyclooxygenase enzymes, which reduces pain and inflammation. 

Cyclooxygenase enzymes are involved in the synthesis of cell mediators such as prostaglandins and thromboxane. Prostaglandins cause inflammation, and thromboxane causes blood clotting. NSAIDs relieve inflammation by inhibiting the cyclooxygenase enzymes (COX-1 and COX-2) and preventing the production of prostaglandins. 

According to how they work, NSAIDs can be classified as either selective or non-selective NSAIDs. Non-selective NSAIDs inhibit both COX-1 and COX-2, whereas selective NSAIDs only inhibit COX-1 or COX-2.


Most important, opioids suppress the brain’s ability to sense pain. To do this, opioids interact with opioid receptors. They suppress the ability of receptors to detect the pain sensation. As a result, pain receptors do not send a signal to the brain. Opioids relieve pain by acting on opioid receptors found on the cell membrane of neurons. 

Additionally, they prevent neurotransmitters from releasing at the presynaptic location. The gastrointestinal tract, the central nervous system, and the peripheral nervous system all have opioid receptors. As a result, opioid medications affect these receptors and provide analgesic effects similar to those of morphine.


Most commonly, veterinarians use steroids to treat severe pain, neuropathic pain, and bone pain. They can also lower the dosage of opioids. Leukocytes and epidermal cells play a part in the immune system’s anti-inflammatory response, which lowers inflammation. Steroids alter these cells’ activity.


Veterinarians use gabapentin to relieve pain due to its modest calming effects. It alleviates inflammation and pain in the nerves. Gabapentin, which also lowers neural excitability, blocks inflammatory mediators, which reduces pain and inflammation.

Other Medications And Supplements For Dog Pain

NSAIDs, opioids, and steroids are the most popular medications used to treat dogs’ pain. To maintain the treatment, some veterinarians will additionally prescribe other medications, herbs, and supplements.


A natural joint supplement called glucosamine can help reduce pain by repairing cartilage. Dogs with osteoarthritis can also benefit from the use of glucosamine. It repairs the cartilage layers in the joints that produce joint fluid and helps in cushioning the joint.

Glucosamine Sulfate

Another joint supplement, chondroitin sulfate, reduces discomfort by lubricating the joints and reducing inflammation. It reduces pain by inhibiting the deterioration of the cartilage in the joints

Glucosamine and chondroitin, which also preserve the cartilage’s structure, protect the chondrocytes. Therefore, the usage of these supplements to alleviate canine joint pain is justified.


The supplement CBD (cannabidiol) is well known for its ability to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. Additionally, it works well for seizures, spinal disc deterioration, and nervous system diseases.

Cannabinoids assist in reducing brain inflammation by preventing the release of neurotransmitters and neuropeptides from nerve endings. The proliferation of lymphocytes, cytokines, and other immune cells at the site of inflammation is decreased by CBD, which also reduces pain and inflammation.

What Medicines To Avoid When A Dog Is In Pain

Some medications can effectively treat pain in humans but can have negative consequences for dogs over the course of a short or long time. Most important, even a small dosage increase can result in renal failure, liver damage, and bleeding ulcers.

Some anti-inflammatory medications used to treat pain in humans but not dogs include aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen. These medications may be harmful to dogs and may result in digestive issues.

What About Relieving Dog Pain With Natural Herbs And Supplements?

Another option, natural herbs, and supplements are other forms of pain relief that pet parents provide for their animals at home. These herbs can aid in the dog’s relief from inflammation-related symptoms such as headaches, nausea, earaches, nervousness, and stomachaches. 

Turmeric, ginger, devil’s claw, cinnamon, and alfalfa are some herbs that are used to reduce the pain and inflammation in dogs. Consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog one of these options though.

How To Help Older Dogs With Pain?

For older dogs, it is recommended to include natural herbs and supplements in the diet that help to reduce the pain by preventing the deterioration of cartilage. However, the supplements and medications should be used with the prescription of a vet.

What Happens If I Don’t Treat My Dog’s Pain?

Long-term pain neglect might have a negative impact on the dog’s health and behavior. Moreover, dogs with chronic pain have high levels of stress, anxiety, aggression, and fear. Therefore, as soon as you notice your dog is in pain, visit a veterinarian right away so they can determine the cause and give your dog pain meds.

Conclusion: What Can I Give My Dog For Pain?

To conclude, a veterinarian must oversee and guide the treatment of a dog’s pain. Also, a veterinarian will assist your dog in eliminating the source of pain without changing the dog’s normal behavior. 

So, what’s going on with your dog? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Dr. Dilber
Dr. Dilber
Dr. Dilber is a veterinarian, who studied veterinary medicine at the Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam. After completing the degree, he worked as a veterinary surgeon in different vet surgeries and clinics in Pakistan. He is also working for Animal Welfare and Animal Rights in Pakistan. Besides this, he is giving lectures, some of them at the University of animal sciences, Lahore, and publishing articles about pet health, nutrition, diseases, and animal welfare issues. As an expert and animal rights activist, he often has to be at court of justice to support lawsuits regarding animal welfare.