How Can I Relieve My Dog’s Back Pain?
We all love our furry friends, but sometimes they can be a little bit… tortured.
Imagine your dog in pain—their little face scrunching up in discomfort, whimpering every time they move. It can be heartbreaking—not fun for them, and certainly not fun for you to witness.
Dogs are prone to back problems for a variety of reasons: herniated discs, arthritis, genetics, obesity and even just age. Many of these conditions lead to chronic pain and, over time, can severely limit your dog’s mobility.
So, what can you do to relieve your dog’s back pain and help them get back to their happy, wagging selves? Read on for some tips.
What Causes Back Pain in Dogs?
Before we get into how to relieve your dog’s back pain, let’s quickly go over some of the common causes. As we mentioned, obesity is a big one—after all, extra weight puts extra strain on the spine and joints.
Dogs with short legs are also more susceptible to back pain because of the way their spines are built. Dachshunds, for example, are well-known for their back problems.
Other causes of back pain in dogs include:
Herniated discs act like cushions between the vertebrae in your dog’s spine. If one becomes ruptured or pushed out of place, it can pinch the spinal cord and nerves, causing pain.
Arthritis: Here, the cartilage between the vertebrae breaks down, leading to pain and inflammation.
Genetics: Some dogs are simply born with abnormalities in their spine or joints that make them more prone to back pain.
Injury: A fall or other accident can cause the discs or vertebrae in your dog’s spine to become damaged.
Age: Like humans, dogs can experience degenerative changes in their spine as they age.
Signs Your Dog May Be in Pain
If you suspect your dog is in pain, there are a few signs to look for. They may be reluctant to move or walk, cry out when touched, have a poor appetite or become more aggressive.
You may also notice that your dog is licking or chewing their back more than usual or that they’re holding their tail lower than normal. Either way, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and take your dog to the vet for a check-up.
Other signs that your dog may be experiencing back pain include:
- Sleeping more than usual
- Whimpering or crying out when touched
- Licking or chewing their back more than normal
- Hunching their back or holding their tail lower than normal
- Appearing less active or playful than usual
- Becoming more aggressive
- Having a poor appetite
- Difficulty urinating or defecating
Carefully observe your dog’s behaviour to see if you notice any of these signs. And if you’re at all concerned, it’s always best to take them to the vet for a check-up.
How to Relieve Your Dog’s Back Pain
Dog pain relief comes in various forms, from dog pain medication to dog pain supplements and more. The best course of action will depend on the underlying cause of your dog’s pain, as well as their overall health and age.
That said, here are a few general tips for relieving your dog’s back pain:
#1. Keep them at a healthy weight:
As we mentioned, obesity is a common cause of back pain in dogs. So, if your dog is carrying a few extra pounds, help them slim down by switching to dog food for weight loss and increasing their exercise.
A healthy diet and regular exercise will also help to keep your dog’s joints and muscles strong, which can help to prevent back pain.
#2. Give them dog pain medication:
If your dog is in pain, dog pain medication can help to relieve their discomfort. There are a variety of options available, from over-the-counter medications to prescription drugs.
Always talk to your vet before giving your dog any medication, including over-the-counter drugs. They can help you choose the best option for your dog and ensure they’re not taking anything that could interact with their other medications.
#3. Try dog pain supplements:
In addition to dog pain medication, several dog pain supplements are on the market. These can help to reduce inflammation and pain in your dog’s joints and muscles.
Again, it’s best to talk to your vet before giving your dog any supplements.
#4. Make changes to their diet:
Certain dog foods can help to reduce inflammation and pain. For example, fish oil supplements are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties.
You can also add other anti-inflammatory foods to your dog’s diet, such as turmeric, ginger, and green leafy vegetables.
Whether your dog is experiencing back pain due to injury, age, or genetics, there are several things you can do to help relieve their discomfort. Talk to your vet to find out the best course of action for your dog, and be sure to keep them at a healthy weight to prevent further pain.