Pets and Pain
No one likes to see their beloved pet in any kind of discomfort, but it can be difficult to know how to help your pet with chronic or intense pain. Pets are not the same as people so their pain must be handled differently, and even treating a dog’s pain can be quite different from treating a cat’s pain.
Knowing what to do in the event that your pet is suffering pain can help pet owners deal with this unfortunate but common occurrence of pet ownership.
Identifying Pet Pain
Sometimes, the biggest hurdle in addressing pet pain is knowing that it is there. Animals can be very stoic and many hide illness and injury very well. Be sure to pay attention to what is normal for your pet. Pets who are in pain may exhibit many or none of the following signs:
- Hiding or decreased social interaction
- Increased vocalization such as whining or grunting
- Limping or other change in gait
- Decreased appetite
- Change in personality
Pets may experience pain for many different reasons. An internal illness, an injury, or even a chronic disease such as arthritis may be to blame. Regardless of the cause, it is important to address pain in pets, no matter how the animal is acting.
What to Do and Not Do for Pet Pain
If you feel that your pet might be in pain, it is important to know what to do next. Sometimes a painful pet constitutes an emergency, and other times it is a more chronic pain that can wait. If your furry friend is hurting, stay calm and consider the following:
Call us – Stay calm and pick up the phone. Many times we can coach you through what the best course of action is for your pet. Be sure that you have our phone number and address in a convenient location in case of emergency. In an urgent situation, call us if at all possible to let us know that you are on your way so that we are ready for you.
Do not give medications – While it is tempting to try and doctor your pet at home, it is best not to. Many human medications are harmful to pets or may need to be administered in a different dose than for a person.
Even pet medications can be inappropriate for certain situations or can mask symptoms that can help us to more quickly diagnose your pet’s problem. Sometimes administering medication at home can limit what treatments we are able to safely provide for your pet in the hospital. Never give your pet medications at home without veterinary guidance.
Protect yourself – Handle injured or sick pets gently and transport them with care. Be careful to not disturb them more than necessary and give them their space. Any pet may bite or scratch if scared or hurting, and it may be best to muzzle them if they are breathing normally and not vomiting. You can fashion a muzzle with many household items in a pinch.
Don’t wait – Taking a wait and see approach with pet pain is rarely a good idea. We are more efficiently and effectively able to treat most problems when caught early in the course of events. When in doubt, get it checked out.
Pets and pain shouldn’t go together. We are proud to have a wide variety of treatment options for pets to address pain and all its causes. Don’t hesitate if you think your pet may be experiencing discomfort. We are happy to evaluate the situation and formulate a treatment plan with you to get your pets pain-free.