If your faithful hunting companion is hurting, here’s what to do
Dogs are tough, and they’ll push through pain to keep hunting. If you know your dog is hurting, however, do not give it human painkillers, which can be dangerous. And whatever the ailment, always talk to your veterinarian rather than consult Dr. Google.
The first step is figuring out the root of the pain. Aches from aging are common in dogs older than six or seven, especially those with osteoarthritis. The cause of a limp, wince or whine can be difficult to diagnose, however, so visit the vet to check for injury, infection or disease.
Human pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and acetaminophen can be found in most of our medicine cabinets. But dogs are not people, and such drugs can give them everything from an upset stomach to ulcers or liver and kidney damage. Giving human drugs to dogs also delays the proper treatment, as they must wait three or more days until the drugs are out of their system before they can get the proper medication.
To manage your pooch’s pain, veterinarians often prescribe a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Sold under many brand names, and with different active ingredients, these drugs block the production of enzymes that cause tissue swelling; your vet will recommend the best treatment for your dog. Just remember that all drugs can have side effects, so read the label and consult your vet if you have concerns.
Unfortunately, the long-term use of pain medication can harm a dog. So another option is to give your dog nutraceutical supplements, such as glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce chronic joint problems. Hunting without a dog is itself a real pain, so take good care of your furry friends to keep them running free from aches.