Here at Animal Medical Center, we encounter the need for dog pain management on a daily basis.  Whether it is from arthritis, surgery pain or bladder pain from a stone, we address it to give the dog relief.  Dogs are wired to hide pain symptoms so sometimes it is difficult to know if pain is present.

Below is a list of common signs that we look for to evaluate possible pain:

  • Vocalization
    • Whining/whimpering
    • Howling
    • Yelping
  • Activity
    • Decreased activity level
    • Restless, won’t settle down
    • Shaking and pacing
    • Clingy with owners
  • Self Protection
    • Lays on or protects painful body part
    • Hides
    • Limps
    • Reluctance to be held
  • Daily Behavior and Attitude
    • Sleeps more
    • Sleeps less
    • Won’t eat normally
    • Lethargic
    • Panting excessively
    • Aggressive
    • Less grooming
    • Excessive licking of painful area
  • Posture
    • “Prayer Position” – front end down on the ground and the hindquarters raised up
    • Laying on one side


Once we diagnose pain, first we try to figure out the cause.  Sometimes just removing or treating the cause is all that is needed.  For example, a dog that is painful with a urinary tract infection usually finds relief in the first 24 hours of antibiotic therapy.  Many patients, however, need pain medication for immediate relief.  This can be short-term use (as in surgery patients) or long term (as in arthritis patients.) Below is a list of common medications we use at Animal Medical Center.

  • Non-steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs – Commonly called NSAIDS, this is the most common class of drugs used for pain in dogs.  It provides quick relief and also reduces inflammation.  We have a variety of NSAIDS that we use which includes Rimadyl, Deramaxx, Metacam and Gallaprant.
  • Gabapentin – This medication is used for pain associated with the nerves.  We commonly use this in pinched nerve cases and painful neck/back cases.  It sometimes causes drowsiness but usually is well tolerated.
  • Tramadol – On rare occasions, tramadol is added to a pain medication regimen to help.  Research proving the effectiveness of pain control with this drug is limited.  Still, we find some patients benefit from its use.
  • Supplements – We have many patients that benefit from glucosamine chondroitin    and/or omega 3 fatty acid supplements.  With long term use, these supplements can decrease the amount of daily pain and limit the need for the drugs mentioned above.


It is VERY important that human medications not be used in dogs, especially NSAIDS.  Dogs have different ways of processing drugs.  Therefore, they can get very sick from taking some human drugs.  The only pain medication that is occasionally used is Aspirin.  This is only acceptable after a veterinarian recommends the use of Aspirin and gives an appropriate dose.  It is not recommended for long term use.


We are proud to announce we are now offering laser therapy, an innovative new way to treat pain and inflammation in pets. Laser therapy uses specific wavelengths of light to create therapeutic effects such as improved healing time, pain reduction, increased circulation and decreased swelling. Multiple studies have shown laser therapy can help with a variety of problems including arthritis, joint pain, ligament sprains, muscle strains, dog/cat bites, feline acne/asthma, hotspots, post trauma/surgery pain, hip dysplasia, lick granulomas and snake/bug bites.


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