Elderly Pet Care, Fleas, Pet Care Basics, Vet Minute

Vet Minute: How to Help Dogs with Bad Hips, Joint Pain and Osteoarthritis

What pain relievers are safe for dogs? What can you give an old dog for pain? In this Vet Minute, Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Marty Greer, talks about pain management for dogs. She’ll discuss pain relief for older dogs and offer dog hip pain relief tips on how to help a dog with bad hips, joint pain and dog osteoarthritis.

Dog Joint and Hip Pain Relief

What Can I Give My Older Dog For Joint Pain?

What can you do to provide some pain relief for an older dog? Most of our beloved older dogs and some of our middle-aged dogs suffer from pain caused by arthritis, Lyme disease, surgery, injury and other causes. Veterinary medicine has made significant advances in the last 25 years, in the options we have for pain management. This includes pain medications, laser therapy, massage, VSMT, compresses, rest, antibiotics, and other treatments.

Pain Meds for Older Dogs

There are several categories of pain medications for dogs. For old dog pain relief, most frequently used are non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. These include Meloxicam, carprofen, and Galliprant, also known as Meloxicam, Rimadyl and Galliprant. Using veterinary drugs for this type of medication is essential. Dogs CANNOT safely take aspirin, Tylenol, ibuprofen or Aleve. Do NOT use human medications to treat your dog. Have your veterinary professional run blood work every 6 to 12 months to assure he or she has kidney and liver function that is not being altered by these important drugs.

Secondly we have other pain medications – there are other categories of pain medications we can use for our dogs, with a prescription from a veterinarian. These include gabapentin, valium, and tramadol.

Antibiotics such as Doxycycline for dogs are essential to helping our pets recover from tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease, Ehrlichia and anaplasmosis. Talk to your veterinary professional for treatment if your pet has had tick exposure or if you suspect a tick-borne disease.

Laser Joint Treatment for Dogs

Laser therapy, also known as cold laser treatment for dogs can help to speed healing and reduce pain in dogs.

Dog Massage and Canine Chiropractic

Veterinary spinal manipulation therapy correlates with chiropractic treatment in people. Use only professionals who are certified as animal caretakers, as human chiropractors in most states are NOT licensed to diagnose and treat medical conditions in animals without the oversight of a veterinary professional. In addition, there are specially trained canine massage therapists for animals.

Cold Compress for Dogs

For the first 24 hours, use cold packs to manage injuries and surgical pain. Followed with warm compresses later. Use caution to avoid temperature extremes. Let your pet “tell” you what is working for them.

After an injury or surgery, limit activity and exercise to allow healing. In other words, help your dog to rest. Your pet doesn’t have good judgment on this. They need to count on you.

Joint Supplements for Older Dogs

Dog joint supplements such as Doc Roy’s Aches Away contain glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM and fatty acids as well as other nutritional components. These can be very useful in improving joint lubrication and reducing joint inflammation in older dogs. Use high quality products and supplements with research showing these supplements truly contain the components listed on the label. Nutritional supplements are only assessed for safety by the FDA.

If you need help with dog hip pain relief or dog join pain, call us at 800.786.4751.

Written by: Marty Greer, DVM

Director of Veterinary Services

Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has 40+ years’ experience in veterinary medicine, with special interests in canine reproduction and pediatrics. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1981. She’s served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services since 2019. In 2023, Dr. Greer was named the Westminster Kennel Club Veterinarian of the Year.

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.