Find out how to help prevent pain, and what to do if your pet is in pain.
5. Dog Beds
10. LASER Treatments
Our pets can experience pain just like us. They can cry out if it is acute or just happened, if they move in a way that causes pain, they could have injured something, have arthritis, have internal pain (something on the inside), cancer pain, surgery pain, infections, tooth pain, etc.
Treating and preventing pain is important because it can cause stress and disease to organs. Just like us, there are many different ways to help with pain. The first thing to do is to take away the cause of the pain like a foxtail (a weed that can get stuck in different places on our pets), any type of object that is stuck in the mouth or paw, take care of infections, remove masses or lumps if possible, remove teeth if having mouth pain, etc. If your pet is stiff or cries out when getting up or after laying down for long periods of time, try changing where they lay. Getting softer or off-the-ground beds may help to reduce pressure on the joints they are laying on.
If your cat is having a hard time jumping or getting up to higher places than they normally like, it could be a sign of pain. Typically, this includes arthritis, joint, or back pain.
Signs to watch for pain in your pets include but are not limited to sitting differently, walking differently, not running or playing like normal, hiding, avoiding or clinging to people or other animals, not being able to use normal position to have a bowel movement or urinate and/or paying more attention to an area of the body. If it is sudden pain, you should go to the vet to find out if something is broken or what they can do to help manage the pain. If it is an older animal that you have noticed getting worse over time there are things that you can do to help but if they do not help you should see your vet to get prescription medications to help alleviate pain and/or treatments.
For cats that seem to have trouble jumping make sure to move their beds, food, water, and litter boxes to more accessible areas. For the litter boxes make sure to have one per cat plus one and as the cat gets older you may need to get litter boxes that have lower sides to make it easier for them to get in and out of the box.
For dogs get cots or beds that will not cause pressure sores, get elevated food and water bowl holders so they do not have to bend down, stairs or ramps to help them get on and off furniture, use rugs and/or runners where they walk so they do not slip (make sure they do not move and the corners are not folding up as this can cause them to trip and cause more harm).
Make sure your pet’s nails are kept short to help keep their feet and joints in the correct position and do not cause more pain on the wrists and/or ankles. For large dogs try (https://amzn.to/3LQzh5I) and for cats try (https://amzn.to/3BRH920). See my article on Senior Pet Helpful Tips and Senior Issues for more information and tips on senior health.
Supplements can be helpful for pets with pain, especially chronic pain. If your pet has arthritis pain, which is very common in older dogs and cats and pets that have had joint injuries, adding glucosamine and chondroitin supplements or a joint supplement that is formulated for pets can really help. These types of supplements normally take a few weeks to notice a difference. If your pet has been having joint pain for a while it can take up to two months to determine if the supplements will be effective. At first, there is normally a loading dose, or an increased amount, given than what they will get long term. Once you notice an improvement you can reduce to the normal daily dose. All of this information will be on the bottle but if you have questions please call your vet.
To help with inflammation you can add fish oil supplements for pets. Before you add or change any supplements or food make sure to talk to your vet to make sure it is ok for your pet. Some pets, especially cats that experience pain, can also have anxiety. There are supplements that can help with anxiety as well.
If you think your pet has arthritis, consider getting X-rays done. X-rays can show if something needs to be corrected or if they just need to keep the pain and inflammation down. For example, if there is a disc in their back that is misaligned your pet may benefit from getting chiropractic adjustments, massages, acupuncture, herbs, and/or LASER therapy (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation). If your vet does not offer these services they might refer you to someone that does offer these services or you can search to see who offers them.
LASER treatments can help to keep inflammation down and can help with a lot of pain issues whether they are acute (just happened) or chronic (been going on for a period of time).
For pets, with chronic pain, it is going to take longer to reduce the pain. LASER treatments start out being administered frequently and then extend longer between treatments. Most of the time if your pet has cancer you do not want to use LASER treatments but there are exceptions and something that should be discussed with your veterinarian.
Check out my article on Low-Level Laser Therapy or LLLT for Pets to learn more about LASER therapy.
We love our pets and want to make sure they are healthy, happy, and comfortable. Paying attention to their behaviors can help determine if they are experiencing pain. There are many options for easing their pain from standard medicine to holistic approaches.