Pain is uncomfortable, but in many ways it helps us survive. Chronic pain, however, is hardly beneficial, so those that experience it often seek appropriate treatment immediately. Managing pain in humans is relatively easy when compared to managing pain in animals. For one, animals cannot tell us when they’re in pain. Also, we don’t know much about how pain affects them. It’s also believed that animals tend to hide pain as a part of their survival instinct, and they do this so they don’t appear weak. However, we do know that animals that are cared for properly enjoy longer, happier lives. Here are a few things that’ll help you manage pain in pets:
1. Recognizing Pain in Pets
It’s not always easy to recognize pain in pets, but we can often interpret changes in their behaviors as a sign that they’re in pain. Some of the most common and obvious signs include changes in sleeping, eating, and drinking habits. A pet that’s in pain, for example, tends to sleep more because it’s body is trying to heal itself. Pain also impairs mobility, and some animals become aggressive when in pain; this is especially true for pets that have undergone emotional trauma. Dogs often whimper or whine while in pain. Cats and other pets have also been known to constantly lick an affected area, and Persian cats specifically are prone to polycystic kidney disease.
2. Which Conditions Cause Chronic Pain
Age is one of the most important factors that contributes to chronic pain. As dogs grow old, they become prone to diseases like cancer, osteoarthritis, and intervertebral disk disease. Also, hereditary and/or congenital factors can cause pain, even in young dogs. For example, bulldogs, basset hounds, Labradors, and German shepherds are prone to intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). Similarly, cancer is common in large dog breeds.
3. Giving Human Medication to Pets
Never give pets painkillers that are intended for humans as these could be toxic for your pet, causing severe gastrointestinal ulceration or even kidney/liver failure. If you really think this is a good idea, first bring the medication to your pet’s vet and check with him/her for advice.
4. How to Treat Chronic Pain
Vets suggest opioids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, local anesthetics, and ketamine as medications (depending on the severity of the pain and the condition afflicting the pet). They also recommend lifestyle changes, like providing your pet with comfortable bedding and ensuring it gets regular exercise. Physiotherapy is also advised. An unconventional approach to chronic pain management is the use of alternative medicines like CBD oil for pets.
It’s now known that, like humans, dogs have an endocannabinoid system, one that contains neurotransmitters and receptors for managing pain perception, affecting mood and well-being, and altering sleep patterns. As humans can benefit from phytocannabinoids that are obtained from hemp, dogs and cats too can use hemp-based CBD to manage stress, pain, and sleeplessness. But unlike humans, THC is toxic for pets! When buying CBD for pets, remember to only buy high-quality CBD that’s 100% derived from organic, pesticide-free hemp.