Happy New Year! I’ve been seriously remiss in writing, so one of my resolutions is to get back in the groove. Today I’m writing (yet again) about pain in pets. It continues to be the number one discussion I have with my clients. The above video (kindly provided by dvm.360.com) contains six important points about pain in our animal companions and things we can do about it. Here are the six points:
1. Behavior changes may signal pain. If your cat is no longer jumping up on the bed or is avoiding being petted, or your dog becomes aggressive, pain could be the cause.
2. The medication your vet prescribes is important. Try not to skip doses or alter the dose you are giving. I’d like to add that you can seek out non-pharmaceutical pain relief from your vet also. This includes acupuncture, laser therapy, physical therapy, underwater treadmill, etc. If your vet doesn’t offer these things, ask for a referral.
3. There are multiple ways to give your pet’s medications. Sometimes the bitter pill is hard to swallow! If you are having trouble getting the meds in, don’t just give up. Contact your vet and explain the problem. Most meds can be formulated as a chewable tablet, a flavored liquid, or even a transdermal product (applied to the skin).
4. Don’t give human pain medications to pets without consulting your vet first! Many human meds are not safe for dogs and cats. The last thing we want to do is make our achy pets feel worse by giving the wrong drugs or dosages.
5. Think about simple modifications in your home to make it easier for your pet to get around. Examples include ramps, extra throw rugs, litter box with lower sides, raised food and water bowl. Read one of my earlier blog posts about this here.
6. Diet is key. Did you know that over half of the nation’s dogs and cats are overweight? When it comes to pain, there is a direct correlation between carrying extra pounds and the toll on joints that are already inflamed. Please check out The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention for some great tools to help maintain your pet’s weight in a healthy range.
Do you have a pet you think may be experiencing pain? If so, what steps will you take to help him or her?