What Can I Give My Dog For Pain

What Can I Give My Dog For Pain

  • Kirsten Thornhill - 11.02.2020

One of the worst feelings as a paw parent is knowing that your pup is in discomfort. Dogs are infamous for hiding pain or discomfort. Once a pet parent realizes their fur child is in pain, it’s most likely that their pup is hurting badly.

Knowing that dogs aren’t the best at letting us know about their discomfort, it makes sense that most of the most frequently asked questions that veterinarians are asked is “what can I give my dog for pain?”

A quick Google search on your phone or laptop later, and bam - you’ve got pages and pages of results with all sorts of pain medications that claim to help cure your pup’s issues. But, do note, not every pain remedy for your pup that you browse through online works, let alone is even safe.

More so, some of these “cures” or “remedies” can be extremely dangerous to your pup’s health. 

In today’s article, we will touch on what exactly dogs should be given for their pain and why paw parents should keep their fur children away from the medication cabinet. 

How DO I Tell If My Dog Is In Pain

If you doggo is showing and signs of pain or discomfort, you should act quickly. Like we mentioned earlier, dogs are known to be great hidders of their pain or distress, so act fast if you start to see signs of discomfort. By this time, whatever condition or issue they are potentially suffering from may be a relative progression.



Before you’re able to help heal your pup, paw parents must first recognize that their four-legged friend is in discomfort. 

Of course, more often than not, a trip to the vet may be in order. Luckily, paw parents don’t have to have insane mind-reading capabilities, there are some classic signs that your fur child is in pain. 

1. Appetite

When us humans are in pain, we don’t really feel like getting up and heading to the fridge for a snack. When our dogs are in pain, their appetite is usually suppressed too. If you notice that your pup isn’t eating or drinking per usual, pain may be the reason. 

2. Energy

You may notice that your dog isn’t as energetic as usual, this may be an easy-to-spot sign that your pup is in pain. Paw parents - make sure you know your dog’s “normal” energy levels first. 

Each and every dog is different here though. For instance, if your pup tends to be a lazy one on the energy spectrum, a little extra laziness may not be something to worry much about. 

If your pup is typically bouncing off the walls with energy and excitement but is now glued to their bed, it is likely a sign that they are experiencing discomfort or pain.

3. Vocalizing

Doggos can make up quite the noise when they’re in pain. Whining, howling, barking, grunting, groaning, and yelling are just some examples of sounds that your dog may make when they’re experiencing any sort of pain. 

If your pup keeps you up at night with their groaning or whining, it’s time you figure out what’s causing the discomfort. 

4. Biting

Another sign or discomfort or distress is chewing or biting - this includes them biting themselves or even biting others. If your pup doesn’t want anyone near them or touching them, it may be a clear sign that pain is present. 

Remember: even if your pup is always sweet and friendly, they may bite and nip at you if they’re in pain. 

5. Swelling

Inflammation and swelling are two classic signs that something isn’t quite right with your pup, whether it is a condition, disease, or temporary injury. 

Paw parents should keep an extra close eye on their pup and see if any changes are occurring with their pup’s behavior or physical body. 

6. Tail Tuck

Is your dog’s tail tucked away? This may be another indication that your pup is in pain. If your dog’s tail is usually swaying back and forth, but is now stoic and tucked away, it’s probably because they aren’t feeling too well due to pain or discomfort. 

7. Those Puppy Dog Eyes

If your pup is feeling any pain, they will likely have bloodshot eyes and or dilated pupils. Sounds silly, but if your pup has sick-looking eyes, he or she may be feeling under the weather. 


What Not To Give Your Dog For Pain

Ready for what NOT to give your pup when they’re hurting? Welp, here’s the cream of the crop of information you need to make sure you don’t mistakenly give these to your pup. 

Common human over-the-counter (OTC) medications are a HUGE NO for dogs. These medications may do more harm than good for your pup, and possibly leading to your pup being in even more discomfort.

Stay Away From:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Advil
  • Motrin
  • Nuprin
  • Acetaminophen
  • Tylenol 
  • Naproxen
  • Aleve

Now that you’ve got the bullet points of importance listed first, here’s our explanations as to why and how these human medications should stay far far away from your doggo. 


One of the most commonly purchased OTC medications for pain alleviation is Naproxen. Naproxen is commonly found in human medications, like Aleve. 

NSAID, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that are known to treat various ailments, including arthritis. Anti-inflammatory medications help to decrease swelling and reduce fevers.


Human NSAIDs are helpful for humans. To be crystal clear, human NSAIDs are not for dogs! In fact, NSAIDs are incredibly toxic and harmful to dogs and should never be considered an option for pup pain relief. 

Instead of helping your pup’s arthritis or pain, human NSAIDs could cause a laundry list of health issues.

Ibuprofen and Dogs

This NSAID can be used to treat a wide range of illnesses, including fever, arthritis pain, inflammation, and swelling. However, paw parents should never give their pup ibuprofen for pain relief or management. It can cause SERIOUS HEALTH PROBLEMS, including stomach ulcers, kidney failure, coma, seizures, and sudden death. 

Aspirin and Dogs

Your vet may prescribe baby aspirin for short-term pain relief from minor injuries or conditions, yes. If your vet does advise you to do so, paw parents should give their pup a coated aspirin, being easier on your pup’s stomach. 

Also, when administering your pup baby aspirin, make sure it’s always given with food!

Aspirin has a high risk of internal bleeding and possible kidney damage. Thus, you should follow the dosage prescribed by your vet, always.

Aleve and Dogs

Aleve is a human NSAID that can cause horrible side effects for your pup. Stay away from Aleve when deciding on what options are available for pain management for your pup. 

NSAID Side Effects

If you dog eats NSAIDs made for humans, the side effects may be severe and life-threatening. 

Side effects include:

  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Live and kidney failure
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Weakness 
  • Vomit
  • Diarrhea
  • Severe intestinal issues
  • Bleeding GI tract
  • Sudden death


Is Tylenol Ok To Give To My Dog

Even though OTC medications are regarded as safe for human consumption, they can be a death sentence for dogs.    

Is Tylenol an NSAID

Nope. Tylenol is not an NSAID. However, it is just as dangerous as an NSAID and should not be given to your pup for pain relief for any reason.


Novox, also known as Carprofen, is an NSAID that is formulated for doggos! Woo. It is typically prescribed by your vet to treat arthritic pain and inflammation. 

Because Novox is formulated specifically for dogs, it is significantly safer than any OCT human medication we talked about listed above.

But, Novox does have its slew of potential side effects. Including:

  • Vomit
  • Diaherra
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increase urination
  • Eye irritation
  • Jaundice
  • Death
  • Dizziness
  • Kidney failure or issues

Although dogs can benefit from taking Novox, the list of side effects are scary paw parents and make them wary of using this medication for their fur baby. 



Tramadol relieves pain, dog pain. Vets advise pet owners that they must slowly decrease their dog’s dosage once the pain has diminished. 

This drug has some bad withdrawal side effects that may be just as bad and pain as the original pain to begin with.

Side effects of withdrawal include:

  • Nausea
  • Diaherra
  • Chills
  • Tremors
  • Jitters
  • Respiratory issues

Side effects of Tramadol in general:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomit
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Convulsion
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Respiratory issues
  • Anxiety
  • Skin irritations



This is another commonly prescribed drug that veterinarians often prescribe for older dogs that are in pain from seizures or chronic inflammation. 

Although Gabapentin can be prescribed for many different ailments and has been known to treat these issues effectively, it has also had its slew of side effects that paw parents should be aware of. 

Side effects of Gabapentin include:

  • Vomit
  • Depression
  • Bulging eyes
  • Sedation
  • Loss of coordination
  • Diarrhea

Are There Natural Options I Can Give My Dog For Pain

Why yes, they are! There are all-natural, herbal supplements that paw parents may want to explore more. For example, comfrey has been proven to provide natural pain relief associated with joint injuries. Feverfew and turmeric are also great, natural alternatives for anti-inflammatory relief. Other natural pain killers include:

  • Licorice
  • Horsetail
  • Cayenne
  • Boswellia
  • Devil’s Claw
  • Yucca
  • Ginger

What Can I Give My Dog For Pain: Final Thoughts

Working with an all-natural, holistic veterinarian can help in determining which natural remedy may be best for your personalized pup. 

Many can be used safely in pups to treat and manage a wide array of issues, conditions, and injuries. 

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