There are few things more upsetting than seeing your dog in pain. Worse yet, we can’t communicate with dogs via words, so they can’t tell us what hurts. At East Valley Animal Hospital in Gilbert, AZ, we’re experts at treating chronic pain in dogs. We’ll help you identify and treat the cause of the pain and provide you with tips for adequate pain relief for your dog.

Chronic Illnesses in Dogs

Different breeds and sizes of dogs are more susceptible to certain chronic health issues that can be very painful. The good news is that most of these can be treated to get your dog pain relief. Examples of common painful illnesses in dogs include: 

  • Diabetes. Diabetes is a common chronic illness among dogs. It can cause abdominal pain and leg pain from neuropathy, or nerve damage. While diabetes in dogs is not curable, it is treatable. 
  • Arthritis. Many older dogs suffer from chronic joint pain caused by inflammation.
  • Oral problems such as periodontitis can be very uncomfortable for your dog and can affect his ability to chew. 
  • Ear infections. Twenty percent of dogs develop painful ear issues at some point in their lives. Most ear infections are acute, but some breeds are more prone to chronic ear infections. 

How to Know if Your Dog is In Pain

Although dogs can’t communicate with words, nobody knows your dog better than you. Animals are experts at trying to hide their pain. However, there are subtle things you can look for to identify pain in your dog. You may notice sudden behavior changes, or he may exhibit physical symptoms such as: 

  • Odd or awkward stance. A dog with leg or joint pain will avoid putting weight on an affected leg, or yelp when they do so. Pain can cause a dog to hunch or crouch, or even hesitate to walk at all.
  • Whining or crying more often than usual, or at unusual times. Maybe your dog always whines when he wants you to open the door for him. But if he yelps and cries when nothing appears to be wrong, take it as a red flag.
  • Rapid weight loss or gain may be a sign of diabetes or another issue.
  • Changes in personality.  A once docile dog who now growls at everyone is cause for concern. Often, this indicates an internal problem.
  • Sluggishness. If your dog suddenly no longer wants to play and would rather lounge, it may be because something hurts. 
  • Eating grass. If your dog has started to eat grass, it may be a sign of gastrointestinal issues or discomfort. 

Pain Relief for your Dog 

Managing chronic pain can be tricky, but the good news is there are plenty of ways to relieve your dog’s pain, depending on the issue. Always consult your veterinarian before treating any pain in your dog. 

  • Medication. For conditions such as arthritis, vets often prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). NSAIDs will help ease your dog’s joint pain. Human NSAIDs, such as Ibuprofen, are toxic to dogs so it’s essential to only give your dog medication prescribed by a veterinarian.
  • A new diet. Dogs, like humans, don’t always agree with the food you give them. Talk with your vet at your next appointment to see if a change in food is warranted. Certain foods can contribute to painful inflammation. 
  • Vitamins and supplements. Vitamins such as omega 3 fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin can ease chronic arthritic pain in dogs.
  • Physical therapy, depending on the condition. 
  • Weight loss. Extra weight can put stress on your dog’s joints. 

Keep Your Dog Healthy!

Our priority at East Valley Animal Hospital in Gilbert is to make sure your dog is healthy. We will do whatever we can to relieve your dog’s chronic pain! Make sure to schedule and attend regular visits to keep your best friend healthy and happy.

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