Complimentary post provided by Sabrina Burke at Chasing Tails
Seeing your beloved friend in pain can really tug at your heartstrings. But as with all of us, dogs are likely to experience some type of pain over the course of their lives.
There are various causes to the pain your dog experiences – whether it’s everyday aches and pains associated with aging, such as joint pain, or from an illness or injury.
In many instances, it’s essential to get your vet’s advice as to what to do, so check with them first. If you don’t want to use standard dog pain reliever medicines, you can turn to natural remedies if your vet supports this. What you can use depends on the nature and extent of your dog’s pain and the circumstances surrounding the pain.
Here are some options for natural pain remedies for dogs that you may wish to consider.
Make life easier for your pet
The first way to help your pet with pain relief is to make them as comfortable as you can. If your friend enjoys climbing up onto soft furniture to be with you, get a dog ramp for the bed or sofa.
Give your pet extra affection, as we all crave extra pampering when we aren’t feeling our best.
A common cause of chronic pain for dogs is arthritis, particularly for older dogs. Joint supplements can be very effective in helping your dog feel less pain and enjoy more mobility.
The most common kind of joint supplement for arthritis contains glucosamine. Glucosamine is a natural substance found in the body. The glucosamine in supplements is usually either extracted from shellfish or fabricated in a laboratory. Glucosamine helps lower pain by repairing the cartilage in the joints, which leads to lowered rates of inflammation and, consequently, less pain.
Chondroitin and MSM
Another popular ingredient in supplements for dogs for pain relief is chondroitin. Chondroitin is an essential component of our cartilage, preventing it from breaking down. Chondroitin can even stimulate cartilage repair processes.
Chondroitin is often combined with another substance called methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM. MSM is a naturally-occurring compound in our bodies, as well as in animals and plants. The essential element of MSM is sulfur, which can be produced in a lab as a powder for supplements.
Many people report the benefits their dogs get from eating food with turmeric. Turmeric comes as a powder, paste, or liquid. There are even chewable treats for dogs containing turmeric, as well as pet foods with turmeric.
Fish oil is simple to give to dogs. You can provide fish oil supplements, of course, or whole fish. Anchovies or sardines are good sources of oily fish for your friend. Some prescription dog foods have high amounts of fish oil.
Cannabis-derived oils and supplements are becoming greatly popular. Many people have reported all kinds of benefits for their pets.
CBD oil comes from the flowers, leaves, and stalks of the hemp plant. But before you think marijuana, CBD contains almost no THC, which is the active ingredient in marijuana. You’re not giving your dog something that will make your friend ‘high.’
Most of the CBD results for pets come from anecdotal reports of owners, as there hasn’t been enough research yet. But given the high amounts of testimonials, you may want to try this for your pet.
There are several alternative therapies that you could try, instead of or in addition to supplements:
Aromatherapy. As with humans, essential oils can help relieve stress.
Massage. Dogs can enjoy massage therapy to improve blood flow, lower their stress levels and relax their muscles, resulting in less pain.
Hot or cold packs. Try a hot gel pack or an ice pack for your dog. Check with your vet to see which one would be applicable for your friend’s pain.
Before trying any of the above therapies, check with your vet or with a holistic vet. Make sure the person delivering the treatment is a licensed practitioner.
Some natural herbs can help dogs with pain. A few examples – in addition to turmeric, mentioned earlier – are cinnamon, hawthorn, and Boswellia serrata (resin from the tree of this name.)
A note of caution
One thing to remember is to never give your dog friend painkillers or any other substances that are meant to treat pain in humans. If your vet or holistic vet has prescribed supplements for your pet, only give the recommended dosage.
When in doubt, or before giving your dog any new substances or foods, check with your vet.
One of the things we have learned from our spay/neuter clinics is that there are many good people out there who love their dogs and simply don’t know how and can’t afford to give them the care that they really need. The low-income and homeless communities really don’t have any resources for their animals, and unwanted litters and serious health conditions are hurting the pets in those communities. This is one of the ways our spay/neuter clinics have grown to include a Community Outreach Program. While its a small program, it helps those who don’t even have the means to come to a clinic or who need services that aren’t necessarily provided by the human organizations that help them.
SAVE-A-BULL RESCUE’S COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROGRAM
Save-a-Bull’s Community Outreach Program aids bullies and their owners who are in need through providing resources and assistance for vetting, food, winter dog clothing and basics such as leashes and collars. The main goal of this program is to keep dogs with their people; to empower the people to get what they need so that they can take care of and keep their pets. We do not want to take their dogs away from them and we do not report to local animal authorities unless the situation is truly needing it.
The people this program benefits are often clients of our spay/neuter clinics who need help with follow up care or with more complex medical issues that were discovered during the routine spay or neuter. Rather than turn these people away because the issue is outside of the scope of the clinic, we find a way to make sure they get the care, medication and attention they need to see their dogs through these issues.
Another way the Community Outreach Program helps beyond our clinics is out on the street. Save-a-Bull Vetting Manager Ian is a nurse/outreach case manager who works for an organization that provides assistance and street level outreach for folks that are long term homeless with addiction and/or mental health. Street level means that he goes directly to their camps and into the woods to find the people in need. Often times these people have dogs and the human organization doesn’t provide any assistance for those dogs, so Save-a-Bull can help make sure they have the basic supplies – food, bedding, warm coats, vaccinations and medication and vet care if needed.
China and her owner lived on the streets together for 12 years. She had been with him since she was eight weeks old and when it was discovered she had untreatable cancer, her owner was devastated. When the time came to let China go, the homeless owner’s only option was to drop her off at a shelter to be euthanized. He refused, it was important to him to be with her in her time of passing. Our Community Outreach Program made this final farewell a possibility. By providing a vet appointment at a clinic he was able to hold China while she left this world and grew her wings.
Because Ian is out and about all day he runs into people with dogs who need help on a regular basis. The stigma of a pit bull living on the street might be too much for some people, but Ian says “I run towards the pit bulls instead of away from them when doing outreach.” (Learn more about Ian’s work here.)
While our program is small, and there is no formal application process to get help, we do our best to keep our ears and eyes open and offer help where needed. Our volunteers actively hand out clinic flyers to the owners of dogs in need of spay or neuter and alert our vetting team of homeless people that may need assistance. Your donations on Give to the Max Day will help support the resources this program and our clinics have to offer our community, thank you.
Supporting spay and neuter and community assistance programs will promote responsible dog ownership and breed advocacy which is an important part of the work we’re trying to do every day.
The past couple weeks have been hard ones for two dogs in rescue – and for their foster families.
Spiral, a 14 week old puppy recently underwent surgery to amputate a deformed front leg, and Ravioli, who’s been in rescue for over a year, fell ill to an ongoing neurological issue/injury. Both dogs are getting all the care they need thanks to Save-a-Bull’s ability to pay for surgery, MRI’s, exams, medications and more.
The foster’s for these dogs have already gone above and beyond to get them to appointments, keep up complicated schedules of medication, and attend to their recovery in their homes. In addition to that, they’ve both set up personal fundraisers on Facebook to try and raise money to recoup some of the expenses the rescue is paying out for their treatments.
Lorelei Noire, Save-a-Bull Foster Manager, and her husband Ian, SAB Vetting Manager and board member, are caring for Spiral. When Spiral arrived in rescue we knew her leg would need to be amputated, but she also needed some TLC to gain weight and get healthy before hand. Ian and Lorelei took care of Spiral and got her ready for the big day. Now post-surgery they are helping her recover and adjust to her new life as a tripod. You can read her story and donate to her fundraiser here:
Nan Hildebrandt, Save-a-Bull Marketing Manager and board member, and her husband Todd, SAB Brewery Tour Manager, have been fostering Ravioli for more than a year. A young dog with crazy high energy, Ravioli has been a non-stop challenge to keep up with until he suddenly presented with all-over body pain and loss of energy. Nan and Todd have taken Ravioli to multiple late-night emergency vet visits looking for answers and are working day and night to keep him comfortable while he stays on four weeks of strict kennel rest. Read more about Ravioli’s condition and donate to his care here:
Save-a-Bull is fortunate to be stable enough to cover the medical costs of illness and surgeries, both planned and surprised. But as the money for care goes out, it has to come back in so we’re ready for the next dog who needs us. We are so very grateful for foster families like these that go above and beyond the physical care of our dogs, but also help us address the financial needs as well.
If you want to help, please consider a donation to either Spiral or Ravioli’s medical expense fund, or with an overall donation to Save-a-Bull Rescue. Every dollar counts and no amount is too small!
Everything we do for these dogs is possible because of the support of our community. Together we’re able to make a difference in these lives and in countless others to come! Thank you for your support and for sharing our passion.
Are you compassionate and caring and interested in being a part of our foster network? We promise not all cases are this hard! We’re looking for loving families to care for puppies and dogs who are waiting to find their forever homes. We’ll provide everything you need and you’ll be paid in puppy kisses and gratitude. Click here to find out more then fill out a foster application to get the process started.