Pain Killers for Dogs

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Pain can be caused by many different problems that require different management protocols. A commonly used medication is Rimadyl, which is often used with other medications. Tramadol is used for a large number of conditions due to its interaction with the body and adjustable dosing.

When a dog is hospitalised for a major problem or procedure, he will often be given hydromorphone or a Fentanyl patch. These two medications are powerful and have many indications that affect their use.


Pain in dogs can be caused by many different factors. The cause of the pain is usually the indicator of the type of pain management that should be used. Occasionally, the pain protocol your veterinarian prescribes is inadequate for the pain your dog is experiencing. If this is the case, you may need to return to your vet for a more comprehensive plan. For some conditions or surgeries, a multileveled pain management approach may be necessary.


Rimadyl is a commonly prescribed medication for dogs. It is classified as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and works to alleviate pain and reduce swelling. This pain killer can be used for small aches and pains, as a follow-up to orthopaedic surgeries or as a chronic medication to control the discomfort of arthritis. Rimadyl can have an irritating effect on the gastrointestinal tract, so if vomiting or diarrhoea is noted, it should be discontinued. Rimadyl can also be hard on the liver, so dogs with liver issues should be monitored closely during treatment.


Tramadol is an analgesic that is often prescribed for chronic conditions like arthritis or cancer. It is also commonly prescribed following surgery in conjunction with other medications like Rimadyl, as they act differently. Tramadol has few side effects but can cause marked drowsiness. Tramadol can be administered to effect, meaning it can be given in varying quantities depending on the dogs pain level that day.


Fentanyl is a powerful pain reliever that is a considered a controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). It is most commonly used in the form of a duragesic patch that slowly releases the pain killer through the skin over a 72-hour period. Fentanyl can interact with other drugs, so it is usually the only pain medication given. The patch is typically used after intensive surgeries like a cruciate repair or a splenectomy. The patch should be monitored regularly as it does not work if it loses contact with the skin.


Hydromorphone is a morphine derivative that is used in cases of extreme pain, like broken bones or intensive abdominal surgery. The medication is given intramuscularly or intravenously. This medication is also controlled by the DEA and is only given under the supervision of a veterinarian. When hydromorphone is administered to a dog wearing a Fentanyl patch, the drugs can cancel each other out resulting in no pain relief for the dog.