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.
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.
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. 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 pain killers do for humans. Something to consider are 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 are popular alternatives to NSAIDs, and do not require a prescription from your veterinarian. Some supplements use all-natural ingredients to combat pain and inflammation. There are certain ingredients which should be in every joint supplement such as chondroitin and glucosamine. When deciding on which supplement you want to take, be sure you know what to look for in joint supplements for dogs.
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. Another benefit of Glyde is it can be used long term throughout your dog’s or cat’s life.
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.