No one wants their precious pet to suffer. However, prescription drugs come with their own side effects. Luckily, you can choose to take a natural approach to pain relief for dogs. With that being said, before giving your dog any type of herb, be sure to get approval and specific instructions from your holistic veterinarian first.
How to Know if Your Dog Is in Pain
It may be difficult to know when your dog is experiencing pain, because of course they can’t tell you so. Here are some signs that your dog may be in pain.
- If they are behaving unusually antisocial
- If they show changes in their sleeping, eating or drinking patterns
- If they are howling, yelping and growling excessively
- If they are licking themselves constantly
- If they are having difficulty moving around
- If they are pacing or can’t seem to get comfortable
- If they are trembling or shaking
Holistic Pain Options
Traditionally used to treat a variety of maladies, comfrey contains a compound called allantoin, which has the ability to speed up the reproduction of cells. It also contains rosmarinic acid, which helps it to relieve pain in your dog’s joints and calm down inflammation. For internal use, your dog should have ½ to 1 tsp. of dried comfrey leaf (not comfrey root) for every pound of food. As a caution, do not give comfrey to dogs that are pregnant or lactating, or dogs that have a pre-existing liver condition.
A root from the ginger family, turmeric is an excellent choice in natural pain relievers for dogs. It also works to calm down inflammation and boost your dog’s immune system with natural antioxidants. Very popular in Ayurvedic medicine, its use is also catching on in the Western world. Bright yellow in color, turmeric can be made into a golden paste that can be given to your dog in his food. When purchasing turmeric, pick up some from your local health food store, as opposed to the cooking kind that you get from your local grocery.
A resin which is taken from tree bark, frankincense is also known as Boswellia. Often combined with turmeric, frankincense works effectively against arthritis pain and inflammation. Often used in Ayurvedic medicine, frankincense can be given with your dog’s food in the amount of 5 to 10 mg per every pound that your dog weighs.
Often used in a compound formula, licorice root is often used to treat arthritis. Fast-acting and effective, licorice root is used to calm down inflammation in the joints. Some herbalists believe that its main component, known as glycyrrhizin, promotes the capability of other herbs. To give your dog licorice root, you can use a tincture. Begin with 12-20 drops for every 20 pounds of your dog’s weight.
Ginger is a well-known natural digestive aid in humans. It is useful for relieving gas and nausea. However, its less-known use is for calming inflammation. It does this by stopping the production of leukotrienes, which are the cause of inflammation. It also works to promote circulation, which is particularly helpful for senior dogs who are lacking in mobility.
Yucca is a root that can be used medicinally to relieve pain and inflammation due to arthritis, in human patients. It should be no wonder that many holistic veterinarians recommend yucca to ease arthritis pain in dogs. In regards of how much yucca powder to give your dog, about ½ tsp of the root per pound of food. Dogs Naturally Magazine suggests giving your dog two days of rest from yucca each week to avoid irritating your dog’s digestive system.
You have likely heard of cayenne before. It comes straight from a hot chili pepper. Capsaicin, its main ingredient, has the ability to block pain, while simultaneously increasing circulation throughout your dog’s tissues and joints. There are ointments or creams available which contain capsaicin, that can be rubbed onto areas where your dog is experiencing pain. Used topically, it can be used to reduce inflammation.
If you wish to give cayenne to your dog internally, you can give it to your dog in a small gel capsule. With that being said, you may want to avoid giving it to your dog internally if his digestive tract is more on the sensitive side.
And there you have it! After the approval of a holistic veterinarian, you can help your pet feel much better, with a helping hand from Mother Nature.