No pet parent wants to see their dog in pain. From minor cuts to lifelong diseases, every pup experiences their fair share of physical discomfort. As a loving pet parent, you’ll do whatever it takes to alleviate some of their pain. Unfortunately, conventional pain medication comes with a long list of side effects that might give your dog even more health problems.
Pet parents can take away their dog’s pain without a prescription. Natural remedies like supplements and holistic treatment can promote healing, ease muscle tension and reduce inflammation. Here are some of the most effective all-natural methods for relieving pain in dogs.
Fish oil is very beneficial for dogs dealing with chronic pain. This supplement is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for their ability to reduce inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids relieve your dog’s pain by blocking the immune response that floods the bloodstream with inflammatory cells. Fish oil’s anti-inflammatory effects can reduce swelling from injuries and joint diseases. Vets also recommend the supplement for dogs with skin irritation.
Another anti-inflammatory supplement is licorice root. In addition to reducing inflammation, dogs can quickly metabolize licorice root for fast-acting pain relief. Licorice also contains a compound called glycyrrhizin, which has a synergistic effect when combined with other pain-relieving herbs. Licorice possesses a mildly sweet taste that’s pleasing to the palate, making it easier to administer to dogs. This supplement is usually given through a tincture or homemade licorice root tea.
Pet parents may notice signs of discomfort without knowing the exact cause. For general aches and pains, try giving your dog an herbal supplement that provides pain relief with minimal to no side effects. These supplements usually contain ingredients like turmeric, ginger and rosemary because they’re highly effective at regulating the nervous system. Ask your vet for dosage recommendations based on your dog’s age, size and breed.
Heat and cold therapy
Heating pads and ice packs can provide immediate pain relief for dogs. Heating pads are good at easing soreness and relaxing stiff muscles. For these reasons, heat therapy is an effective treatment for senior dogs with arthritis and hip dysplasia. Apply a heating pad to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time. Be sure to use a pet-friendly heating pad, since the ones designed for humans may be too hot for your dog’s skin.
Much like with humans, ice packs are ideal for dogs who have sustained minor injuries. The cold temperature reduces swelling around sprains and torn ligaments that may result from roughhousing too much at the dog park. A vet may also recommend cold therapy to help dogs recover from surgery. Apply a cold pack for no longer than 10 minutes, since leaving an ice pack on for too long can actually widen the blood vessels and increase swelling to the affected area.
Massage therapy provides numerous benefits to your ailing pup. The gentle circular motions increase blood flow to muscles, joints and connective tissue, which helps deliver the nutrients and oxygen necessary to heal damaged cells. Massage can relieve stiffness and restore mobility to dogs with arthritis or those recovering from reconstructive surgery. The practice is also a good way to relax tense muscles, which is especially important for dogs that suffer from stress and anxiety.
Keep in mind some dogs will tolerate massage more than others. Introduce the practice gradually and gauge their response as you work on various parts of the body. Dogs are most receptive to massage when they’re calm and open to cuddling with their owners. Respect your dog’s boundaries, since forcing a massage session may cause stress and worsen their discomfort.
Many holistic vets offer acupuncture at their clinics. Acupuncture is a part of traditional Chinese medicine that was recently adopted into western cultures. The vet inserts long, thin needles into the skin at certain points to stimulate the nervous system. This practice is designed to promote the body’s natural healing powers. Acupuncture further reduces pain by loosening muscle tension, which allows the dog to relax physically and mentally.
Some pet parents might be skeptical of acupuncture at first, claiming their dog wouldn’t appreciate being poked with needles. However, acupuncture is often a positive experience for dogs because the needles are so thin, your pup won’t feel them enter the skin. In fact, acupuncture can lift your dog’s mood because stimulating the nervous system releases endorphins.
Prescription drugs aren’t your dog’s only option for pain relief. There are numerous at-home remedies that will offer your dog some reprieve without the damaging side effects. Talk to your vet before adding new supplements or pain-relieving methods to your dog’s routine. A vet’s guidance will ensure your dog is on the right path to comfort and a better quality of life.