What You Should Know about Pain Meds for Dogs

September 19, 2023

September is Pet Pain Awareness Month and the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) created this month to focus on sharing education and information with pet owners about their pet’s health and well-being. Oftentimes, people may not realize if and when their pets may be in pain. This month, Parnell Living Science, the makers of Glyde Mobility Chews, is proud to help educate others in this effort to better understand the signs of pain and what you can do about it. 

Our furry companions, like humans, can experience discomfort and pain from various sources, and knowing how to manage their pain effectively is essential for their well-being. In this post, we'll explore the different types of pain medications available for dogs, their uses, potential side effects, and crucial considerations to ensure your canine friend receives the best care possible. Whether you're a seasoned pet owner or a newcomer to the world of canine companionship, this post will provide valuable insights to help you make informed decisions about your dog's pain management.

IVAPM used September as Animal Pain Awareness Month to coincide with the human version of Pain Awareness Month. This month reminds us that our pets suffer from pain just like people do. Pain comes in many forms: surgical pain, arthritis and cancer-related pain, just to name a few.  Acute pain is obvious and distressing. Chronic pain in both animals and humans can be subtle, and masked as “getting old” or “slowing down.” It is a good reminder to say that aging is not a disease, but pain is. 

Pain Medications are Scary

All of this is to say that pets really are just like people. They have pain associated with different ailments, just as humans do. Also like people, one of the more common sources of discomfort is joint pain associated with arthritis in dogs. Usually, you can tell if your pet is in this type of pain. They lose the pep in their step, may avoid things they once did like jumping up on the couch or bed, and do more sleeping than playing.  Hopefully, you turn to your veterinarian to determine the best way to combat pain. For some, however, their signs can be subtle. It's hard to tell if you know your pet is in pain. This month is meant to focus on your dog, and see if there are trying to tell you something. 

Here are the most common pain medications to help your fur-baby in pain:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

A few years ago, the only NSAID available for dogs with arthritis was aspirin. Now NSAIDs are medications prescribed by your veterinarian and there is a variety for both dogs and cats. These drugs work to block pain for your pet and inhibit the production of certain enzymes which lead to tissue inflammation. Unfortunately, this may also block the enzyme’s other functions. Because of this, it may not be the best strategy to combat pain for ailments stretching over time like arthritis in dogs. There are many hidden dangers for your dog if taken over a long period of time.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approves all NSAIDs and they undergo stringent rules and regulations just as most prescription painkillers do for humans. Something to consider is the side effects associated with taking NSAIDs. Because of the risks associated, different brands of NSAIDs are approved for different durations of use in dogs and cats. If your pet is in pain, discuss with your veterinarian the best pain medications to use and how long they should be used for.


Joint supplements have gained popularity as an alternative or complementary approach to managing pain and improving joint health in dogs, particularly for conditions like osteoarthritis. While non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are effective at alleviating pain and inflammation, they may not be suitable for all dogs due to potential side effects or contraindications. Here's why joint supplements have become a go-to choice for many pet owners:

  1. Natural Ingredients: Joint supplements typically contain natural ingredients like glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and high-quality New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel. These compounds are naturally found in the body and play a crucial role in maintaining healthy cartilage and joint function. By providing these substances in supplement form, pet owners aim to support and protect their dog's joints and mobility in a natural way.
  2. Reduced Risk of Side Effects: Unlike NSAIDs, which can have side effects like gastrointestinal upset, liver or kidney issues, and even worsen certain conditions, joint supplements are generally considered a better alternative for long-term use. 
  3. Long-Term Management: Joint supplements are often used for long-term management of chronic conditions like osteoarthritis. While NSAIDs may be prescribed for short-term relief, joint supplements are seen as a sustainable option to promote joint health over the dog's lifetime. This can be especially beneficial for older dogs or those with chronic joint problems.
  4. Complementary Approach: Many pet owners choose to combine joint supplements with other pain management strategies, such as weight management, physical therapy, and low-impact exercise. This holistic approach can provide comprehensive support for the dog's joint health and overall well-being.
  5. Available without a prescription: Most joint supplements for dogs are available over the counter, allowing pet owners to access them without a prescription. This ease of access makes them a convenient choice for those looking to proactively support their dog's joint health.

Glyde™ Mobility Chews is a supplement with a powerful combination of glucosamine and chondroitin and adds Green Lipped Mussel (GLM), one of nature’s best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. These ingredients help swelling go down to alleviate the pain while also increasing cartilage production and preventing it from breaking down further to support normal joint health and function. 

It's important to note that joint supplements are not a one-size-fits-all solution, and their effectiveness can vary from dog to dog. Additionally, it may take several weeks to months before noticeable improvements are seen. Before starting any joint supplement regimen, it's crucial to consult with a veterinarian. They can recommend the right product, dosage, and monitor your dog's progress to ensure they are receiving the most suitable care for their joint health. Ultimately, joint supplements offer a natural and generally well-tolerated option for pet owners looking to enhance their dog's comfort and mobility.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers for People

Sometimes people think giving their dogs or cats ibuprofen or aspirin is not harmful, simply because it is not harmful to humans. This is where we differ from our pets. Our fur-babies are much smaller than us. As humans, over-the-counter medications may be good for us, but not necessarily for our pets. The use can cause occasional ulcers, liver and kidney damage for dogs. Acetaminophen could be fatal to cats and should never be given to them. Overall, the safest option is to never give your pets medications intended for people.

The best idea is to always talk to your veterinarian before giving your dog medications. Be sure to ask for a treatment plan on what they recommend so you understand the journey, even after you leave the veterinary clinic. Remember, you may not be able to remove all the pain from your dog or cat.

Are you interested in the results of pet parents who write to us and tell us how Glyde has changed their pets' lives for the better? Read some of our Glyde Success Stories.



Could your dog be at risk for arthritis?