Pet Health, Senior Dogs

9 Things to Do if Your Dog is in Pain

cream colored medium size dog holding paw up to human in a close up picture and seemingly crying out in pain

Many times we may be made aware that our dogs are experiencing chronic pain they may yelp at the touch or when they move.  If your dog is communicating pain as we discuss in our article 3 Types of Chronic Pain Your Dog Maybe Hiding you may feel helpless and not know where to start.  However, here are some items that you can do right away if your dog is in pain.  


What to do if your dog is in chronic pain:

  • Get Help From the Experts. 

consult vet

Contact your veterinarian if you see any changes in your dog’s behavior or see any signs that they are communicating pain.  Many sources of pain will increase if left unmanaged so it is best to immediately understand the source and see if you can help your dog.   A visit to your vet or other health expert will help you determine the source of your dog’s pain and help with a treatment plan.

  • Document the Pain. 

Have you ever left your veterinarian or your doctor for that matter and thought I forgot to mention that?  Or, wondered to yourself if you imagined certain symptoms your dog was having?  This where documentation comes in.  Note the signs and symptoms of pain that your dog is experiencing and you will be able to tell your veterinarian as much as possible when questions arise.

  • Confine Your Dog and Make Him Comfortable.  

Additional movement can exacerbate injuries.  Limit movement and space to avoid additional injuries. Kennels, pens, and leashes should be used to reduce your dog’s activity when advised by a veterinarian.  Your dog will also appreciate having a comfortable space to relax.  

  • Comfort Your Dog

German Shepherd

Comforting your dog is different than keeping your dog comfortable.  Comforting your dog is making them feel loved and understood.  So, along with making your dog feel comfortable ensure your dog feels like their needs are being met and they will feel that way if you are kind and compassionate.

  • Get Guidance Before Administering any Medicines. 

Not only should dog owners not give medicines or treat pain without guidance from a veterinarian but giving pain medications before your vet has had a chance to assess the chronic pain could prevent them from being able to do a thorough exam.  Also, vets advise to never give your pet human medications.

  • Consider Non-pharmacologic and Natural Options for Pain Management. 

There are many alternative methods to manage pain that pharmacologic drugs, including acupuncture, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, laser therapy,  and chiropractic care.  Find a complete list of natural ways to manage dog pain associated with arthritis here and other ways with the help of non-veterinarian practitioners that you can support your dog here.  

  • Work on Reducing Your Dog’s Inflammation

Pain results from inflammation and there are many ways to reduce inflammation including through diet and supplements  (See 5 dog foods to reduce inflammation here.)  Inflammation does play a role in recovery in that it calls blood to the area to heal, at the same time a large amount of inflammation can prevent the body from healing quickly.  Focus on food and supplements that reduce inflammation, like the ingredients found in Relieve Plus hemp spray for dogs.

  • Monitor Dog Pain During Your Regular Exams. 

Dog vetAlthough we are talking here about what to do if your dog is in pain preventive and pain management which starts with your regular exams is important.  At least annually and as part of regular exams, your vet can objectively monitor, measure, and manage pain.

  • Watch for Signs of Aggression

Some dogs become aggressive when they had no prior behavioral issues of aggression when experiencing pain.  (see discussion of aggression in dogs in our article CBD for Aggressive Dogs.)  Keeping your dog confined and comfortable will help with this but note that the onset of aggressive behavior could be due to pain.  

Since it is estimated that 40% of dogs suffer from chronic pain it is a real issue that should be dealt with.  Follow these steps so you can support your dog and find a way to make him more comfortable and happy.