Natural Pain Relief Options for Your Dog
Dogs are family. No one wants to see their poor pup in pain. Unfortunately, most dogs will experience some form of chronic pain and discomfort during their lifetime, just like humans do. There can be various causes for this, and it could include anything from injury to arthritis. So, what can you do for your puppy when they start to hurt or have discomfort?
Why Not Just Use NSAIDs (pharmaceutical drugs)?
If you take your dog to the vet for treatment of their chronic pain, they will often give you NSAIDs for your pups pain. There are several pet safe NSAIDs, but just because they can be an effective treatment for pets, doesn’t mean that they should. These include such medications as Rimadyl, Deramaxx, Previcox, and Metacam. Just like going to the doctor, if you don’t ask, most likely, they aren’t going to tell you the possible side effects of these medications. Some of these side effects can be quite bad for your pup. Some side effects of these conventional NSAIDs include digestive discomfort, ulcers, kidney toxicity, joint damage, and liver damage. While none of these are particularly common, they are not uncommon either. So, why risk your fur baby’s health when there are natural alternatives with no adverse effects?
Are Natural Remedies for Dogs Really as Effective?
Yes, but it depends. Some of the remedies covered later in this article are so effective that human patients are using them to reduce or even eliminate their opioid use when treating chronic pain. Big Pharma wants you to think that nothing natural can compete with its products. After all, it has spent millions of dollars developing this new drug, so it must be good, right? Not necessarily. Once a medicine has been on the market for 20 years, the drug patent expires. At this point other companies can manufacture and sell the drug under a generic name, usually the active ingredient such as ibuprofen. This means that the company that created the drug can no longer price gouge its customers, so it must create something new and make it seem better than ever. Once it does this, it gets a patent and gouges its customers for another 20 years.
In short, natural remedies can be just as effective and have been used for thousands of years all around the world. These are real remedies that have real medical properties that allow them to ease pain in humans and animals. It has only been in the last century that pharmaceutical companies have worked to discredit and even worked with the government to ban natural remedies to convince the public that the only way to ease pain is with a pill.
What should you try for your dog first?
Just like with humans, the first thing that you should try if your dog suffers from chronic pain is some light exercise. Yes, it may seem counter-intuitive to treat joint pain with exercise, but it works, provided you keep the workout low impact. One great workout for dogs with arthritis is hydrotherapy. Picture your grandmother at water aerobics. It is the same concept; the water reduces the amount of weight, and therefore, stress, that your pup’s joints have to take. This allows your dog to get exercise to strengthen their muscles and supporting tissues without their full weight impacting tender joints.
Unfortunately, many people do not have access to a dog-friendly pool. After all, your local YMCA is not going to be thrilled about you bringing Fido to the pool. If you can’t find a pool to use and your dog is too big for a kiddie pool, check with your local high school and see if you can use their track on the weekends. Many middle and high schools around the country are upgrading their old, hard packed tracks with rubberized tracks. This is to reduce the stress applied to students joints when they are running in P.E. or for track and field. This is also true for your dog. Just be sure to be a good citizen and clean up after your pooch if they make a mess. Cleaning up after yourself is the best way to ensure you will be welcomed back while failing to do so is a surefire way to get yourself and everyone else banned. If this isn’t an option either, try to find a field or even just run around your yard. The soft dirt and grass are much easier on their joints than the hard road.
What to do when Exercise and Rehabilitation doesn’t work for your dog?
If you have tried giving your pup exercise and rehabilitation, and they are still in pain, there are other remedies to try. This doesn’t mean that you should stop exercising them. On the contrary, unless the exercise is causing them noticeable pain, you should keep it up, but you can also add herbal remedies, supplements, and even CBD treats to help ease your pup’s discomfort.
Some herbs that you can try are comfrey, Boswelia, ginger, turmeric, and cayenne. These are all easily found at your local supermarket, and you may even have some in your kitchen right now. Comfrey is a commonly used herb that can be used either by mixing it with food or applied topically with a warm compress. If adding it to food, add ½ to 1 tsp of dried leaf to each pound of food. Do not use the root, however, as it contains 10x more pyrrolizidine alkaloids than the leaf. In small amounts this is harmless, but in higher concentrations, it can cause liver problems. While the amount in the root is unlikely to cause any issues, it is best to minimize exposure. If applying topically, put a handful of the dried leaf inside of a towel and fold the towel over. Then, submerge the cloth in warm water and squeeze out the excess water, then apply as a warm compress.
Boswelia, or frankincense, is usually used in conjunction with turmeric. It is quite effective at reducing inflammation. Give your dog five to 10mg per pound of body weight. Combine this with ¼ tsp turmeric per 10 pounds of body weight for an effective anti-inflammatory mix. Mix them with a small amount of water to create a paste for easy use. The only side-effect of this mixer is that Boswelia can cause diarrhea at high doses; however, this requires approximately 200mg per 10 pounds of body weight, far exceeding the recommended amount.
Next, raw ginger root is very effective at treating arthritis pain as well as digestive discomfort. It helps reduce arthritis pain by preventing the body from producing leukotrienes, which in turn prevents inflammation. You should peel the skin from the root, and the root should then be finely diced and mixed with food, for small breeds use ¼ tsp, ½ tsp for medium breeds, and ¾ tsp for larger dogs. Ginger can also thin the blood and reduce blood sugar and blood pressure, so be sure to consult your vet, especially if your dog has diabetes or heart problems.
Cayenne pepper is another useful anti-inflammatory herb that also increases circulation. There are numerous topicals available over the counter at many pharmacies and supermarkets, but a cheaper alternative is to add a small pinch to your dog’s food or water. Be careful not to add too much, however, as it can cause digestive upset in larger quantities. A pinch is all you need. You should also consider that your pup is likely unaccustomed to spicy foods, so you don’t want to make their food too hot by adding too much pepper.
CBD For Dogs may provide comfort and calming relaxation
It is no secret that CBD is being used to significant effect by people all over the country to treat pain as well as reduce stress and promote relaxation. Like humans, dogs also have an endocannabinoid system that can be affected by cannabidiol or CBD. CBD will not get your dog high – that effect is seen from a different cannabinoid, THC. CBD may reduce their pain and promote relaxation. There are many ways to give your dog CBD, but one of the easiest and most effective is with CBD infused treats such as you can buy from DesignWellness.com. Design Wellness is currently the only online store that sells Super Pups CBD dog treats, which are made with 5mg of CBD per treat (more than most competitors). The all natural treats are made with healthy barley and come in peanut butter and bacon flavors, so your pup is sure to love them. Also, Super Pups treats are made with hemp-derived CBD, not cannabis, so they are legal in all states and can be shipped anywhere in the country, straight to your dog door!
When consumed, CBD is effective at treating pain as well as promoting relaxation. This is because CBD has a calming effect on nerves on the brain and body. This calming effect reduces overactive nerves that can cause pain and stress. It can also be used topically to reduce pain and inflammation, but without promoting relaxation. While you can apply topical creams to your dog’s joints to reduce pain, it is recommended to purchase dog specific treats instead, such as the ones available from Super Pups. This is because your dog may be prone to lick off the topical cream. While it is unlikely to harm your pup, the oils in the cream could potentially cause digestive discomfort.
While giving your pup a pill may be the easiest way to treat their pain; there are several alternatives that you should consider first. Herbal remedies, as well as exercise, can provide just as effective pain management as pharmaceuticals, but without the side-effects that are the hallmark of NSAID pain killers. Perhaps try CBD if you haven’t yet, you can learn about the many potential benefits here.