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Injury? Surgery? Arthritis? Any one of these conditions can result in a pet experiencing pain. Pain management for pets is very important. It is our job as pet-parents to keep them healthy, active, and as pain-free as possible. That job can be tough since they can’t tell us what is wrong or where it hurts. Sometimes you can anticipate the pain—a visible injury or a surgery are all examples of times you should make sure you have an appropriate pain medication and administer the medication on schedule. Other times, it will be up to you to watch for the symptoms that indicate something may be wrong.

A cat may show that it is pain in one or more ways:

  • A reluctance to jump or jumping less often, especially if combined with being less active
  • A change in sleeping habits, locations, or even sleeping position
  • Litter box habits, either using the litter box less, or not wanting to step over a high threshold
  • Changes in appetite or thirst
  • A change in grooming habits: excessive licking or biting at a spot, or conversely, if he/she stops grooming
  • A change in behavior such as being needier or a new reluctance to be pet

Dogs show signs of pain by:

  • Limping or crying out when he/she jumps
  • Having trouble getting up, especially on a slippery floor, or in going up or down stairs
  • A change in attitude- being more withdrawn or anxious
  • Some dogs who have never been aggressive may exhibit aggression when touched due to pain
  • A change in grooming such as excessive licking or biting at a spot
  • Unusual or new panting or trembling

If you suspect your pet is experiencing pain, you should call your veterinarian right away to identify what is going on and decide on the best way to treat their pain. Each situation is unique, and the treatment plan will be tailored to your pet so that your pet’s pain can be managed appropriately.

But be careful! Medications that you as a human might use for pain may be toxic or poisonous to your pet. Common drugs that are harmful or toxic to pets include:

  • Acetaminophen or Tylenol, including medications that have Acetaminophen as one of the ingredients. Acetaminophen is extremely toxic to cats.
  • Aspirin
  • NSAIDs such as Motrin, Advil, or Aleve
  • Allergy medications or decongestants
  • Sleep aid medications

The veterinarians at Blue Lake Animal Hospital are experienced in diagnosing and managing pain for a variety of pets. They combine a variety of techniques including medication, behavior therapies, nutritional supplements, photobiomodulation (laser) therapy, and physical therapy to address short-term or chronic pain.

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