Using pain meds for dogs may not seem particularly dangerous, but the fact is that many of the common pain relievers used by humans can be extremely harmful and even deadly to dogs. No matter how much discomfort your dog may be feeling, you should always resist the urge to treat his pain the same way you would your own. Dogs and humans are not the same, so why should their medication be the same?
Obviously, the reflex reaction when you see your pet in pain is to want to do something to relieve it. There is nothing wrong with feeling that way, but you need to be extremely careful about what methods you employ for pain relief. Over the counter medications like Aspirin, Advil and Tylenol are made for human use, not animals, and the much smaller bodies of dogs and cats require a very different dose of any medication, so it can be all too easy to over-medicate.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, baby aspirin and naproxen are the most commonly used pain relievers among humans, but these same drugs can cause adverse reactions including vomiting, intestinal problems, lack of appetite and liver or kidney damage in dogs. Improper use of pain meds for dogs can potentially be fatal, so you should never give your dog these NSAIDs.
Tylenol, or acetaminophen, is not an NSAID but that doesn't mean that it is any safer for your dog. In fact, Tylenol can cause severe kidney and liver damage as well as preventing proper oxygen delivery throughout the body leading to tissue damage. For this reason, Tylenol should never be administered to a dog unless under the direct supervision of a veterinarian. No matter how safe you may think it is, it is all too easy to give the wrong dose and cause serious problems.
There are several dog health problems related to agility training that can arise that may require the use of pain relief medication. With everything we know about the danger of using pain meds for dogs, the next question is how exactly you can safely relieve your dog's pain. Fortunately, there are a number of potential treatments that are far more effective than using human pain medications. Everything from dietary modification to acupuncture has been used with great positive effect to combat even the most severe chronic pain in dogs.
By far the most effective method is employing dietary changes. Dogs with chronic inflammatory conditions such as arthritis can benefit from the addition of omega-3 fatty acids and other nutritional supplements. Changing the diet to reduce caloric intake while maintaining proper protein levels can help dogs to lose excess weight and alleviate the stress put on arthritic joints.
Nutritional adjustments such as these have been particularly effective in active breeds where arthritis and other conditions that cause chronic pain can quickly become debilitating. Acupuncture, cold laser treatment and physical therapy have also all been used with much success, thus eliminating the potential dangers of using human pain meds for dogs. Several drug companies have also developed pain medications specifically for canines, so you may want to talk to your veterinarian about using one of those.
No one likes to see their furry friend in pain and there is no reason why your dog should have to suffer. If your dog is experiencing pain and needs relief, talk to your vet and together you can determine the best course of treatment. That way he'll be back up and running again with no pain to slow him down!
WebMD/Pets – Pain Meds for Dogs