7 Ways to Comfort a Dog in Pain
Having a dog can bring you many benefits. One of which is the comfort; both physical and mental, that the presence of a loyal companion can provide. But how can we comfort our furry friends when they find themselves in pain?
Below we will discuss how to identify when your dog is in pain and the ways you can comfort them in their time of need.
Identifying Pain in Your Dog
A dog may experience pain for many reasons including chronic illness or the side effects of aging.
Some signs that your dog may be in pain include:
- Change in breathing patterns
- Shallow breaths or labored breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Increased heart rate
- Inability to walk
- Sensitive to touch and normal handling
- Snapping or growling
Being familiar with your dog’s normal behavior is important when identifying that your pet may be in pain. If your dog displays any of the behaviors above or any new unexplainable behaviors, it is best to err on the side of caution and make an appointment with your dog’s veterinarian.
The vet will be able to provide a proper diagnosis and the best course of treatment for your four-legged pal.
Make Them Comfy
When we are in physical pain, a warm and cozy bed is always a reliable way to get some good rest and relaxation. Well, the same goes for your pet!
Providing your dog with a soft bed or fluffy blankets to lay on can be particularly helpful if your dog has recently suffered from an injury or is recovering from surgery. An orthopedic bed is helpful for dogs in chronic pain or senior dogs who may have difficulty with mobility. If you’re a “no dog on the bed” person, this may be the time to make an exception.
Give Them a Massage
When we think of ways to relax and relieve aches and pains, many of us think of massage.
Nothing is better than having someone use lotion and oil to work out those bothersome kinks and knots under soft lighting. Well, our pets may not appreciate gentle lighting and lotioning up their fur can be messy, but the act of massage can provide the same benefits it provides to us.
Your dog may not want you to touch or rub a tender area of their body, but providing light to firm pets in other parts of their body can bring them much needed relaxation. Stroking your dog from the top of their head down to their tail sends signals from their brain to the rest of the body to relax. Your dog’s ears are loaded with nerve endings and, when you rub them, it releases endorphins to make your pup feel oh so good.
Start at the base of the ear and apply gentle pressure down to the tip. Your dog may even lean into your hand to increase the pressure. Take this as a good sign that your massage skills are much appreciated and your pampered pup is enjoying themselves.
Give Them Exercise
It is important to exercise your dog to stimulate their mind and keep their body healthy.
If your dog is up for it, take them for a slow walk or a swim in calm waters. Swimming in particular is wonderful for dogs who may suffer from pain due to arthritis, as the water does not apply pressure to their joints. If your dog starts to act more fatigued than usual during exercise or displays pain or agitation, take it as a sign that the exercise should be tapered down.
If your buddy makes it through their workout routine, don’t be afraid to follow it up with a massage and a nap on the bed for a little extra comfort.
Sometimes all your dog needs is a healthy distraction from their discomfort.
Providing them with engaging toys is a great way to both keep them distracted and have fun. Some dogs enjoy chew toys and synthetic bones like Nylabones so they can vigorously chew and blow off some stress, while other pups like plush toys to cuddle and snuggle up.
Whatever your pooch prefers will provide some much needed comfort.
Feed a Proper Diet
A balanced diet is important for any dog, especially aging dogs, overweight dogs, diabetic dogs, or other dogs with chronic illnesses, ailments, or dietary restrictions. Making sure your dog has proper nutrients in their diet will not only keep intestinal distress at bay but will also make sure your dog stays at a healthy weight.
An overweight dog may start to experience aches and pains associated with carrying too much weight around. Giving your dog a proper diet will both help them to lose extra pounds or keep them at a healthy weight for their size and breed.
If your dog is suffering from pain due to a medical procedure or injury, your vet may provide you with pain management medication to be administered to your dog.
Make sure to inquire about any side effects associated with the medication so you can ensure it’s working properly. Your vet may also recommend giving your dog Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, abbreviated NSAIDs, for your pet’s pain. These drugs interfere with the body’s production of inflammatory molecules that can trigger pain in the body. While NSAIDs are beneficial for mild or moderate discomfort, they should not be used as a long term solution.
Give Them Your Time
The one thing your dog loves more than any warm bed or squeak toy is you!
Sometimes all your dog needs is your calming presence to remind them that they will be okay. Dogs take cues from us in how they should behave. If we are stressed, they will become stressed. If we are calm and soothing, they will take that as a cue to relax and allow us to make them feel better.
A quick belly rub or a kiss on the head may be all your dog needs to know that they are in good hands. Sometimes, all you need is love!