5 Tips for Pain Management in Dogs & Cats
1. Weight Management
One of the major causes of pain in pets is arthritis. Arthritis is characterized by pain and inflammation in the joints that can make it difficult for pets to get around. If a dog or cat is overweight, this places even more stress on the joints and causes more discomfort. Putting your dog or cat on a diet that keeps them at a healthy weight might be the best thing for them.
Even if your pet doesn’t have arthritis, being overweight can contribute to other disease processes and pain.
2. Hot or Cold Therapy
Should you reach for a hot pack or a cold pack if your pet is in pain? Well, that depends on the nature of the pain!
In the event of an acute injury, something that happens suddenly, or for surgery recovery, use an ice pack to reduce pain and inflammation. Apply for about 20 minutes at a time and check a few times to make sure the skin looks ok and the ice pack isn’t too cold.
If you’re talking about ongoing chronic pain, a hot pack may help to increase comfort and function.
There is a growing body of evidence for the benefits of acupuncture in treating pain. There have been times a pet limps in for an acupuncture appointment and walks out after the session. It can be pretty incredible. Dr. Amy Hinze studied Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine at the Chi Institute and performs acupuncture treatments on patients at Winslow Animal Hospital.
4. Stress Management
Stress, fear, and anxiety lead to an increased sensitivity to pain. We need to do what we can to keep our dogs and cats relaxed and comfortable. Handle your pet gently, spend time with them, and maybe leave an article of your clothing with your scent on it for your pet. The smell will be comforting, and leaving an old t-shirt is a lot better than coming home to your favorite pair of shoes being torn up.
5. Physical Therapy
There are a bunch of different ways in which a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner like Linda Franzini can help to reduce your pet’s pain. Aquatic treadmill therapy, massage, cold laser therapy, joint manipulation, and other methods can help your pet recover from surgery or manage a chronic condition and improve quality of life.