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Signs a dog is in Pain

Hey guys, this is Nikki, lead veterinary technician with Posh Dog Knee Braces, and today let’s talk about pain in our dogs.  I hear so often owners say they don’t feel their dog is in pain, or that they don’t know what to look for.  Today I would like to cover things to look for, and how to see those subtle hints your dog is giving you.

First, does your dog show any signs of panting, licking a certain area or paw/leg, pacing, trouble laying down or standing, chewing an area, legs shaking/body shaking, trouble standing from a laying position, holding a leg up, low whimpering/whining, growling or biting out of character, flinching when touched in an area?  If you can answer yes to any of these symptoms, there is a good chance your dog is experiencing pain.  Dogs are extremely stoic, which means it is against their nature to show pain outwardly like we would.  A child is easy, they will hold the sore area, cry, and tell us what happened or that it hurts them.  With our dogs, it can be a bit of a challenge to identify if they are in pain, and when to give the appropriate pain relief.

One of the most painful injuries to a dog is a CCL injury.  This is significant pain, and your dog needs proper pain relief to get them through the first few weeks.  There will be a lot of swelling present, and they may be cranky and sore during this time.  The first 2-3 weeks it is important to keep them on some form of anti-inflammatory.  I hear a lot of people learn about nsaids, and immediately take their dog off of them within the first 1-2 weeks of an injury, stating their dog doesn’t look in pain any longer.  I understand not wanting nsaids, however, I guarantee your dog is still in pain within the first 3 weeks of this injury.  There are other alternatives to nsaids, which I go over in another blog, but that does not mean to withdraw all pain relief.

If suddenly taken off of pain relief, dogs (like people), will experience something called withdrawal.  This means that their body is shocked with sudden pain, that has not been effectively treated, and it will be very difficult to get them feeling better without a strong pain med like a narcotic, something to calm and partially sedate them until pain management is achieved.  So, please do not suddenly remove pain relief without having something else to start.  If stopping an nsaid, you need to wait at least 24 hours before starting something like willow bark, to make sure the tummy does not get upset, and sometimes waiting for severe pain to stop before doing so might be best.

I always suggest resting 2-3 weeks, even if we are fast and you receive the brace in the first couple weeks of the acute injury, still wait a bit to begin walks.  Give your pup time to get through the painful parts, then we can start bracing and PT.  They will get better, and feel better, but it is our job as their owner to keep them comfortable.  It will make all of our jobs much easier as we begin recovery.

Please let me know if you have any questions, poshdogkneebrace.com, or email me at poshintake1@gmail.com


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