What you need to know about painkillers for dogs

September is Pet Pain Awareness Month and 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 wellness. People often don’t realize if and when their pets may be suffering. This month, Parnell Living Science, maker 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 a variety of sources, and knowing how to effectively manage their pain is essential to their well-being. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of pain relievers available for dogs, their uses, potential side effects, and crucial considerations to ensure your canine friend receives the best care possible. Whether you are a seasoned pet owner or new to the world of dog companionship, this article will provide you with valuable information to help you make informed decisions regarding 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. Pain comes in many forms: surgical pain, arthritic pain, and cancer pain, to name a few. The acute pain is obvious and distressing. Chronic pain, in both animals and humans, can be subtle and masked by “aging” or “slowing down.” It’s a good reminder that aging is not a disease, but pain is.

Painkillers are scary

All of this is to say that pets really are just like humans. They suffer from pain associated with different illnesses, just like humans. As with humans, one of the most common sources of discomfort is joint pain associated with arthritis in dogs. Usually you can tell if your pet is suffering from this type of pain. They lose the pep in their gait, may avoid things they once did, like jumping on the couch or bed, and sleep more than play. I hope you will turn to your veterinarian to determine the best way to combat the pain. For some, however, their signs may be subtle. It’s difficult to know if you know your pet is suffering. This month is meant to focus on your dog and see if he is trying to tell you something.

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

Non-steroidal 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 are a variety of them for dogs and cats. These medications block pain in your pet and inhibit the production of certain enzymes that lead to tissue inflammation. Unfortunately, this can also block the enzyme’s other functions. For this reason, it may not be the best strategy for combating pain related to conditions that extend over time, such as arthritis in dogs. There is a lot of hidden dangers for your dog if taken over a long period of time.

THE The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approves all NSAIDs and they are subject to strict 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 associated risks, different brands of NSAIDs are approved for different durations of use in dogs and cats. If your pet is in pain, talk to your veterinarian about the best painkillers to use and how long to use them.


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. Although nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are effective in relieving 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 usually contain natural ingredients like glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and high quality New Zealand green-lipped mussel. These compounds are found naturally 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 problems, 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. Although NSAIDs may be prescribed for short-term relief, joint supplements are considered a long-lasting option for promoting joint health throughout the dog’s life. 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 exercises. 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 it a practical choice for those looking to proactively support their dog’s joint health.

Glyde™ Mobility Chew is a supplement with a powerful combination of glucosamine and chondroitin and adds Green-lipped mussel (GLM), one of the best natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These ingredients help reduce swelling to relieve pain while increasing cartilage production and preventing it from breaking down further to support normal joint health and function.

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

Over-the-counter pain relievers for people

Sometimes people think that giving ibuprofen or aspirin to their dogs or cats 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. Use may cause occasional ulcers, liver and kidney damage in dogs. Acetaminophen could be fatal to cats and should never be given to them. Overall, the safest option is to never give your pet medications intended for humans.

The best idea is to always talk to your veterinarian before giving your dog any medication. 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 that you may not be able to eliminate all of your dog or cat’s pain.

Are you interested in the results of pet parents who write to us and tell us how Glyde changed their animals’ lives for the better? Read some of our Glyde success stories.

Could your dog be at risk for arthritis?


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