What can I give my 60 lb dog for pain?

April 13, 2012

Broken bones, gaping and bleeding skin wounds, cut paws, bleeding ears, deep puncture wounds… these are only some of the injuries a dog owner has to face. Dealing with accident related injuries is part and parcel of being a pet parent. Dogs are naturally energetic. In spite of the precautions made by pet owners, accidents still happen to the pet.

Taking the dog to a vet would always be the best bet. However, some owners don’t usually take the pet to a vet every time one of these situations happens. Geographical location and financial constraints may be a pet owner’s reason take make do with the contents of the medicine cabinet. Dogs are hardy animals. These creatures have survived in the wild for thousands of years without the care of humans. With a well stocked medicine cabinet and a good dose of common sense, the pet can be treated at home.

Medication must be administered on the wound to prevent infection and to promote healing. An injured dog would always be weighed down with pain, thus pain medications will be needed as well. It is therefore necessary to know what pain medications can be given to the dog. Just as it is not wise to share other person’s medication, it would not be wise as well to give just any kind of human medication for wound treatment and for pain relief to the dog. Some human medications though are given to pets.

Neosporin is commonly used to treat dog wounds. This antibiotic ointment would prevent infection and provide pain relief at the same time. However, administering ointments and other topical medications would commonly necessitate Elizabethan collars to prevent the dog from licking the injury site. Aspirin and ibuprofen are proven effective in giving the dog pain relief. These anti-inflammatory medications are even prescribed by vets to reduce swelling. However, as aspirin and ibuprofen were formulated for humans there are no dosage guidelines for dogs. Thus, the administration of the medicine is commonly done on a hit and miss method. Naturally, small dosage would not yield the expected effect. A large dosage on the other hand, may not be tolerated by the dog and cause an upset stomach or worse, it can do irreparable damage to the dog’s system. Generally, a vet would recommend 5 to 10 mg of aspirin per pound of body weight. To be on the safe side, a 60 lbs dog can have a 325 mg Aspirin caplet on a 12 hour period. Aspirin and ibuprofen are both non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). Both are useful pain medications for humans. In dogs, aspirin is commonly recommended than ibuprofen given that it is less irritating on the stomach. Dogs can develop stomach ulcers after 2 to 6 weeks of ibuprofen use. Tylenol, an effective pain relief medication for humans is lethal for dogs.

Newer NSAIDs that were developed for humans are proven to be more “pet friendly”. The old NSAIDs (aspirin and ibuprofen) block both the good and the bad prostaglandins. While the bad prostaglandin that causes swelling and pain is blocked, the good prostaglandin that lines and protects the stomach and intestines is blocked as well. Rimadyl, Metacam, Mobic are some of the newer NSAIDs that are proven to be effective in alleviating the pain suffered by the dog without causing stomach and intestinal bleeding.

All these medications, while promoting fast healing and easing the pain of the dog are also noted to create gastrointestinal, liver and kidney problems. A pet owner has to weigh the potential problems against the objective of relieving the pain that devastates the pet.

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