What Can You Give A Dog For Pain And Swelling? What Is Safe or Toxic?

No pet owner wants to ever see their dog hurt or in any sort of pain. When they’re injured or hurting, we want to be able to relieve the pain quickly, but it’s a matter of figuring out exactly what can be given to a dog safely to aid in that process.

So, what can you give a dog for pain and swelling?

What Causes Pain And Swelling In Dogs?

Dogs can suffer from swelling or pain from any number of causes. The most basic cause would be something like an injury or an accident.

In these cases, keeping the injured area clean and isolated is the best you can do until you can get them to a vet – which you should do as soon as possible.

In the event of pain and swelling caused by an animal bite – such as that of a dog, fox, or another animal – you should take them to the vet immediately.

Wash the bitten area with cool water, then use a cool compress like frozen peas or an ice pack to ease swelling and pain as you take them to the vet.

Old age can also lead to rickety bones and more aches and pains in general.

what can you give a dog for pain and swelling

If your dog is at an age where their age is beginning to cause them pain, you can opt for alternative treatment methods or simply find ways to manage the pain.

You can also discuss ways to ease your dog’s pain with your vet if ageing is behind the pain and swelling.

What Can You Give a Dog For Pain and Swelling?

Some dogs may also have conditions, such as an infection or disease, that results in pain or swelling. This can include osteoarthritis, the swelling of tissues or lymph nodes, or other medical issues that lead to inflammation in the body.

If you suspect your dog has a condition that is causing them pain or discomfort and it has not been diagnosed, speak to your vet and mention their symptoms.

If your dog is already on medication for an illness like this but is still experiencing pain, speak to your vet about alternative medications.

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Known simply as NSAIDs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the most common medications that dog owners start to reach for when their pups feel ill.

Especially dog formulated ones are excellent for reducing joint pain, swelling and stiffness, making them great for dogs with conditions that cause these problems.

If your dog has a condition like arthritis or has just been through surgery, opt for NSAIDs made specifically for dogs. These can include:

  • Carprofen (also called Novox and Rimadyl)
  • Deracoxib (also called Deramaxx)
  • Firocoxib (also called Previcox)
  • Meloxicam (also called Metacam)

Many dog owners make the mistake of thinking that their own NSAIDs – such as paracetamol, aspirin, or naproxen – are all acceptable drugs to give to a dog in small doses.

This is completely false. Human medications are made very differently than dog-friendly ones and can cause toxicity and poisoning in our canine companions that may lead to severe health complications or even death.

Unless a vet has specifically prescribed a human drug to your dog, you should never attempt to administer it on your own.

Other Drugs and Medications

It’s not just NSAIDs that can be used to treat pain and swelling. There are other forms of medication and even supplements that can work just as well. Here are some of them:

1. Tramadol

This painkiller functions somewhat similarly to mild opioids and is very frequently used by ageing dogs to help alleviate pain and discomfort.

There are some side effects to this drug, including dizziness, stomach pain, and vomiting, but they are usually mild.

2. Gabapentin

This drug treats the pain caused by nerve damage and is used in both dogs and humans. It has a tendency to induce drowsiness in dogs, but luckily, that sleepiness goes away in a few days of use.

3. Amantadine

This medication helps reduce pain by blocking off some neural transmitters in the body. Vets often prescribe amantadine to dogs with arthritis or disk disease, and in some cases, cancer.

4. Glucosamine

This supplement is very commonly used by dogs – and humans – to treat joint pain and inflammation.

It can help to reduce the symptoms from damage in the joints while increasing the healing rate and repair of cartilage that has been damaged.

5. Chondroitin

This supplement has been found to help reduce swelling, improve the repair process of cartilage, and even protect healthy cartilage and provide needed lubrication.


You should always check with your vet before introducing any new drugs, supplements, foods or treatments into your dog’s system. Once administered, monitor your dog’s reaction to it. don’t give your dog paracetamol or aspirin.

While the treatments and medications we have recommended are all made for dogs are usually very safe for them, with only minor side effects if any, some dogs may develop bad reactions to them. Here are symptoms to look out for:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Tarry stools
  • Loss of appetite
  • Redness of skin
  • Scabs
  • Behavioural changes

Should you notice any negative symptoms after they have consumed an NSAID, drug or supplement, stop giving them the drug and contact your vet immediately, making sure to mention the medication used and the dosage is given.

It’s also worth noting that while medications and supplements can help aid a dog’s pain relief, the importance of a good, healthy and age-appropriate diet and regular exercise cannot be forgotten.

Often, a healthy lifestyle can help a dog feel better and overcome some side effects and symptoms of medical conditions.

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