Pain Remedies for Dogs

Written by rene agredano
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Pain Remedies for Dogs
Pain remedies can help dogs cope with arthritis, surgery recovery and cancer pain. (two dogs image by Bruce Amos from

Pain remedies for dogs can successfully relieve aches and pains from arthritis, surgery and accidents, but they can also cause unpleasant side effects. Many dogs will pant, whine, cry, moan, pace, refuse to eat and act strangely when taking pain relievers. When they refuse to eat, constipation can also occur. If your dog shows signs of lethargy, confusion and depression while on pain medication, call your vet to discuss reducing the dosage.

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Fentanyl Transdermal Patch

A Fentanyl patch delivers a continuous dose of pain medication to dogs after surgery. Fentanyl is a prescription narcotic, similar to opium and morphine.

Fentanyl patches are placed on the skin. After application, a Fentanyl patch can take 12 hours to reach full effect, but it will deliver pain relief for up to four days.

Side effects include vomiting, nausea and constipation. The most serious potential side effect is respiratory depression (not breathing properly). Other effects can include unusual weakness or drowsiness. Heat will increase the side effects. This patch can be fatal if swallowed.


Also known by its brand name, Neurontin, Gabapentin is a prescription anti-seizure drug traditionally used in humans that also has beneficial aspects for animals. Veterinarians use it in animals before surgery to minimise post-operative pain.

Side effects are rare but can include sedation, diarrhoea and a condition known as ataxia, a neurological condition that causes muscles to stop working together.

Do not abruptly stop giving Gabapentin, since it must be tapered off to avoid severe rebound pain.

The human form of Gabapentin contains Xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.


The brand name of Tramadol is Ultram. This is a non-addictive, non-sedating prescription pain reliever that can be used in conjunction with other medications, including Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory medications (NSAIDS). Tramadol is considered safe for dogs with kidney and liver issues.

Side effects can include upset stomach, panting, pupil constriction, decreased heart rate, constipation, sedation and bizarre behaviour.

Do not use Tramadol with SAMe, a liver and joint support nutraceutical since not enough studies have been done to prove this combination is safe; L-Deprenyl; Psychoactive drugs and antidepressants; Monoamine oxidase inhibitors; or on dogs wearing a tick control collar with Amitraz as the active ingredient.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as Deramaxx, Rimadyl and Metacam are non-narcotic prescription drugs used to treat arthritis, metastatic cancer pain and post-surgery pain. While most dogs do fine with these drugs, some can experience side effects that, if not treated immediately, can quickly escalate into a life-threatening emergency.

NSAID side effects include decreased (or increased) appetite, vomiting and a change in bowel movements, such as diarrhoea, or black, tarry or bloody stools.

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