What Can I Give My Dog For Pain? - Honest Paws

What Can I Give My Dog For Pain?

July 09, 2018

What Can I Give My Dog For Pain

One of the worst feelings that a pet owner can experience is knowing that their beloved four-legged friend is in distress. Dogs are notorious for hiding pain, so when pet owners can see it, it typically means their pup is hurting pretty badly. Therefore, it makes sense that one of the most common questions that veterinarians are asked is "What can I give my dog for pain?" A quick Google search will come up with all sorts of "cures" for your pup's pain, let this serve as a warning-- not everything you find online is effective, let alone safe. In fact, some of it can be extremely dangerous.

In this article, we will shed light on precisely what dogs should be given for pain and why pet parents should keep their fur babies far away from medication for human consumption, despite what Google may tell you.

What Can I Give My Dog For Pain

How To Tell If a Dog is in Pain 

We touched on the fact that dogs are known for hiding pain. It's instinctual for them. This is why if your dog is showing any amount of distress, pet owners should recognize that the time to act is straight away. Often by the time that the dog begins showing signs of pain, whatever condition they are suffering from may be relatively progressed.

In order for pet parents to help heal their dogs, they first have to be able to recognize that their fur baby is in distress. Of course, once you realize that your pup is hurting, more often than not, a trip to the veterinarian is probably in order. 

Thankfully, dog owners don't have to develop mind-reading abilities. There are several tell-tale signs that your furry friend is likely in pain.


The first notable sign that Fido is in distress is a significantly decreased energy level. First, pet owners need to know what their dog's "normal" is. All dogs are different so if your four-legged companion tends to be on the lazy end of the spectrum, a little extra lethargy may not be something to worry about. However, if Fido is typically bouncing off the walls and is now glued to the couch, it is likely a sign that they are in pain or combatting some other health issue.


The next sign of pain or distress is biting, including biting themselves or biting others. A clear indication of pain is when the dog doesn't want anyone near them or touching an area that might be sensitive. If your dog generally doesn't nip at others or at themselves and suddenly begins, there is likely something more serious going on than a case of the Monday's.

What Can I Give My Dog For Pain


The most visually noticeable sign of pain and distress is swelling. Swelling and inflammation are tell-tale signs that something isn't right, whether it's disease or injury. Pet owners should make sure that they are always keeping a close eye on any changes in their pup's behavior and body.

Your Pup's Telling Tail 

Another telling sign that your furry friend might be in some kind of pain is their tail. If your dog's tail is usually upright and is now either between their legs or sagging a bit, it's typically a sign that they aren't feeling like their best selves, often due to pain or distress.

What Can I Give My Dog For Pain

Fido's Eyes 

Lastly, Fido's eyes can be very telling. Dogs that are experiencing pain will often have dilated pupils or blood shot eyes. Your pup may also have loopy-looking sick eyes (the same way that human's eyes get when we are feeling under the weather).

The Absolute NO's! 

We will go into a thorough explanation as to why, but just in case our readers don't make it through the entire article, here are the absolute NO's when answering "what can I give my dog for pain?"

The following over the counter (OTC) human medications are DEFINITE NO-NO's for dogs. Trust us, these medications will do much more harm than good and instead of easing pain will ultimately cause a lot more distress.


  • Ibuprofen – found in Advil, Motrin, and Nuprin
  • Acetaminophen – found in Tylenol and many decongestants
  • Naproxen – found in Aleve

Hopefully we've gotten your full attention. Now we can explain why and how these human medications should stay far away from Fido. 

What Can I Give My Dog For Pain? Not Tylenol, Motrin, or Aleve!

NSAIDS for Dogs

One of the commonly purchased OTC medication for pain relief is Naproxen. Naproxen is found in common medications such as Aleve and is an NSAID. NSAIDS stands for Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. NSAIDs are known to treat a wide array of ailments from joint pain caused by arthritis, to reducing fever, to decreasing swelling. However, while NSAIDs are over-the-counter medications, it doesn't make them safe. In fact, NSAIDs (including medications like Aleve) are incredibly toxic for dogs and should never be given to help with pain. Instead of fighting your pup's fever, NSAIDs will likely ultimately cause a slew of additional health issues to form.

Aspirin for Dogs 

Aspirin and baby aspirin are two human medications that typically come up first when the question of "what can I give my dog for pain" arises. It is true that your veterinarian may prescribe aspirin or baby aspirin for short-term pain relief from minor injuries or conditions. If advised by a veterinarian, dog owners should give their pup coated aspirin, as it is easier on the stomach. Additionally, aspirin and baby aspirin should always be given with food.

We want to make sure that our readers know that aspirin, even baby aspirin, should never be given long-term or for chronic pain. Aspirin poses a high risk of causing internal bleeding. Dog owners should always follow the dosage advised by their vet.

Ibuprofen for Dogs 

Ibuprofen is another NSAID that is typically harmless for human consumption (when used as directed, of course). The NSAID is used for a wide range of ailments from fever to pain and inflammation to arthritis pain. However, pet owners should never give their dog ibuprofen for pain management as it can tragically lead to death. You can see how critical it is for dog parents to recognize that just because a medication is safe for humans, it can end in devastation for their pups.

Aleve for Dogs 

As we previously mentioned but want to reinstate, Aleve is an absolute no-no in terms of treating pain in dogs. Aleve is an NSAID and can cause horrific side effects for your already distressed pooch. Stay far away from Aleve when considering the question, "what can I give my dog for pain?"

Potential Side Effects of NSAIDs

If your dog accidentally ingests NSAIDs (of any dose), the side effects can be severe and tragic. Even the mild side effects aren't much worse than the initial distress that you may have been trying to aid in the first place.

 Side Effects of Fido ingesting NSAIDs include:

  • Severe, painful intestinal issues
  • Vomiting (with or without blood)
  • Diarrhea (with or without blood)
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Kidney problems
  • Kidney failure
  • Bleeding of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Liver failure
  • Death

As you can see, NSAIDs should never be given to dogs as pain management.

Can I Give My Dog Tylenol 

While acetaminophen (Tylenol) is not an NSAID, it is still just as dangerous and should not be given to your dog for easing pain of any kind. If Fido ingests a toxic dosage of Tylenol, it has the likely potential of causing irreversible damage to the liver, kidneys, and tissues throughout the dog's body

Again, even though over-the-counter medications are generally regarded as safe for humans, they can be fatal for dogs.

Furthermore, cats are even more sensitive to the dangers of acetaminophen (Tylenol). In fact, tragically, even one regular strength Tylenol tablet can lead to sudden death of the cat.

Pain Meds for Dogs: The Downside 

There are certain over-the-counter medications that your vet may consider to be "okay" for dogs. However, we want to stress that these medications should be used with extreme caution. To be frank, we recommend not using them at all. However, since your vet may recommend them, we want our readers to know as much information as possible about these pain meds for dogs.

Dramamine for Dogs 

Dramamine is an antihistamine and an antiemetic drug. It is commonly used in human consumption to ease motion sickness. Your vet may recommend Dramamine if your dog suffers from symptoms of motion sickness and as a way to make traveling easier on both the dog and the dog owner.

However, Dramamine is not entirely safe. Common side effects of the drug include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Lethargy
  • Sedation
  • Urine retention (the inability to fully empty their bladder)

Additionally, Dramamine can be even more dangerous if your dog suffers from any of the following conditions:

  • Hypersensitivity or allergies to Dramamine or other antihistamines
  • Bladder neck obstruction
  • COPD
  • Gastric outflow obstruction
  • Glaucoma
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Lung disease
  • Pregnant or nursing
  • Prostate disease/enlarged prostate
  • Seizure disorders
  • Stomach/intestinal obstruction
  • Urinary obstruction

Furthermore, Dramamine can have a negative interaction with a slew of commonly prescribed medications such as:

  • CSN (central nervous system) depressants
  • Anticholinergic drugs
  • Anticoagulants (may decrease the effects)
  • Epinephrine (may increase the effects)
  • Heparin
  • Tranquilizers
  • Sedatives
  • Warfarin

This is concerning for us. Any drug that is considered "safe" shouldn't have so many "ifs, ands, or buts." It should just be safe. For this reason, we don't feel that Dramamine is a "safe" choice for Fido.

Novox for Dogs 

Novox is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is formulated for dogs. It is typically prescribed by a vet to treat arthritis and its corresponding symptoms. Because of the fact that Norox is formulated for dogs, it is obviously significantly safer than any of the over the counter NSAIDs that we have previously discussed. However, this is not to say that it comes without its fair share of side effects. These side effects include:

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Eye irritation and dryness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Jaundice (yellowing) or the eyes, mouth, skin, and/or gums
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Kidney issues
  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Stumbling
  • Paralysis
  • Seizures
  • In some cases, even death may occur

Furthermore, this medication (like so many) doesn't treat the root of the problem. Therefore, your pup is ultimately getting short-term relief but at the price of a whole list of potential side effects.

Tramadol for Dogs 

Tramadol is a medication that is used for pain relief. While it is commonly prescribed, we have a few issues with it that we want to bring to your attention.

First of all, it is highly advised that when the pain has subsided, dog owners must slowly ween their dogs off of the drug. This is because it has some pretty awful withdrawal side effects that may be just as awful as the pain that it was supposed to be helping. 

The withdrawal side effects include:

  • Respiratory issues
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Jittery feeling

The side effects of Tramadol itself vary from mild to severe and include:

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Appetite loss
  • Drowsiness
  • Tremors
  • Respiration issues
  • Convulsions
  • Rashes and skin irritations
  • A declining heart rate

Furthermore, there are certain dogs, including those pregnant or nursing, that should under no circumstances take Tramadol. For these reasons you can see why we don't love the idea of dog owners giving their pup Tramadol for pain management.

Gabapentin for Dogs 

Gabapentin is another commonly prescribed drug that vets often recommend for older dogs with suffering from neuropathic pain, chronic pain and/or seizures.

While Gabapentin is prescribed for a wide array of ailments and has been known to treat said conditions rather effectively, it also has its fair share of side effects that dog owners should be aware of.

The side effects of Gabapentin include:

  • Lethargy or sedation
  • Loss of coordination (Wobbliness)
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Bulging eyes

For these reasons, among others, we always advise our readers to proceed with caution when it comes to treating their fur babies with conventional medications.

What Can I Give My Dog For Pain

Natural Pain Relief for Dogs 

Luckily, we are living in a time where natural pain relief is proving to be equally effective for our beloved four-legged companions. These natural remedies are also showing time and time again that while they are effective, they can also be safe (a bar that the aforementioned methods clearly don't meet).

CBD for Dogs 

If you haven't already heard about the wonders of CBD, you're in for quite a treat. CBD has been making leaps and bounds in the world of holistic healing for humans. It was only a better of time before experts began to consider it's potential for healing ailments in our furry friends. 

We are happy to report that CBD pet products, such as CBD oil and CBD dog treats, are now making great strides in helping ease and manage pain in our four-legged companions. In fact, CBD oil and products are making such substantial progress in the world of holistic veterinary health and wellness that the seemingly magical herb has been quickly replacing what was one the "only" medication available for certain ailments.

We love CBD for dogs because of the fact that it is all natural and has virtually zero side effects. Pet owners have seen a tremendous improvement in their dog's chronic pain such as arthritis pain as well as acute pain.

Next, we'll discuss some of our favorite CBD options. As with most things in life, great things come with consistency. For this reason, we highly recommend the Honest Paws subscription. On each product page, you have the option to subscribe and save money! This also helps take the trouble of remembering to repurchase the product out of the equation. By subscribing you can ensure that your fur baby will have the CBD of their choice delivered in whatever convenient increment you choose.

Honest Paws Relief CBD Dog Treats 

We love these turmeric and peanut butter flavored CBD dog treats. These CBD dog treats have proven to help with chronic pain that your pup may be enduring as well as acute, post-surgical pain.

Furthermore, the treats also help with anxiety issues, nervous licking, stresses associated with flying and traveling, as well as a better night's sleep (for both your pup and you). Dogs seem to love the taste and some dog owners even report positive changes after the first dose.

Laura from California writes, “This product has helped my dogs anxiety and calmed him down quite a bit.” We feel that CBD's ability to ease any accumulated anxiety on top of diminishing pain is icing on the CBD cake.

Honest Paws Relief CBD Oil for Dogs 

Additionally, we highly recommend CBD oil for dogs. The dropper feature allows pet owners to have more control over the amount of CBD that they are giving to their pups. This is great for those who are just getting started with CBD. While the virtually no side effects, we always recommend starting off slowly when introducing a new product into Fido's life. 

While most dogs don't seem to have any qualms over the taste, if you have a picky eater on your hands you can add the recommended dosage to your dog's food or to their favorite treat. Again, CBD oil works best with consistency so you may want to consider saving money and subscribing to a monthly delivery.

Honest Paws CBD Dog Chews for Joint Pain 

Finally, older dogs with arthritic joint pain will see a world of difference by integrating Honest Paws CBD chews into their lives. The chews are chicken flavored which are sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.

What Can I Give My Dog For Pain: Other Holistic Options

At the end of the day, Honest Paws wants your fur baby to be healthy and happy without the potentially fatal consequences of conventional medication. Along with CBD products, there are several other natural, holistic ways to make sure that your dog stays pain-free in a safe, effective way.


Feverfew is an all natural, holistic remedy that treats inflammation. It is a common remedy for humans who suffer from arthritis and migraines and has shown to be equally effective and safe in treating symptoms of pain in our dogs and cats.


Comfrey is an herbal, natural supplement that has proved to ease pain associated with joint injury. Additionally, comfrey also speeds up cell reproduction, making it an effective healing source.


You may have heard of turmeric for human consumption. In some parts of the United States, you can even go to a coffee shop and order a turmeric latte. Now studies show that the anti-inflammatory effect of turmeric for dogs is comparable to that of cortisone, but luckily without the potential adverse reactions.

  • Additional herbal supplements that pet owners may want to explore include:
  • Skullcap
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Licorice
  • Ginger
  • Cayenne
  • Yucca
  • Boswellia
  • Devil’s Claw
  • Horsetail

These supplements, in particular, reduce inflammation are great for pain associated with arthritis:

  • Arnica Montana (Leopards Bane)
  • Rhus Toxicodendron (Poison Ivy)
  • Ruta Graveolens (Rue)
  • Calcarea Carbonica (middle layer of the oyster shell)
  • Symphytum Officinale (Comfrey, Boneset)

As you can see, whatever pain your precious pup is going through can likely be solved with a natural alternative. Every day studies are continuing to prove how remarkable all-natural supplements can be. They are not only effective but safe. Isn’t that ultimately what we all want for our fur babies and for ourselves?

Give CBD oil for dogs and CBD dog treats a try. We sincerely believe in the power of this herb and are confident that it can make a world of difference in your dog’s life. Moreover, we hope that your furry companion feels better soon!









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