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Pain Medications for Dogs



Supplements, like glucosamine and chondroitin, are very popular alternative treatments. It’s not clear if they help, but some research has found that they may make swelling go down and help cartilage repair itself.

Always talk to your vet before giving your dog any medications, including supplements.

Ask for a written copy of the treatment plan, as well as instructions (and a demonstration) for how to give the medicines to your pet. Be sure to give the drug only as your vet recommends. Too much or too little can cause problems. Don't share medications between dogs. What's good for one animal may not be the right thing for another.

You may not be able to relieve all of your dog’s pain, but you should be able to make him feel better. With your vet's guidance, you may need to try different things to find out what brings the most relief.

Other Treatments

If medications alone aren’t enough, there are some other choices:

  • Acupuncture isn’t just for humans. It’s been found to be effective in the management of chronic pain conditions, like arthritis, in dogs.
  • Massage may help if your dog has a chronic pain condition like hip dysplasia. Talk to your vet and learn how to do it safely and effectively. 
  • Chiropractic care may help as well.
  • Rehabilitation can be effective. Things like an underwater treadmill may be used, or simply exercises you can do at home.

WebMD Veterinary Reference

Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on September 25, 2014
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