Pain Relief For Dogs & Cats: How To Improve Your Pet’s Comfort


Pain relief for dogs & cats can quite literally be one of the most important ways you can improve your pet’s quality of life. When you have a splitting headache or a throbbing achy joint, it’s hard to enjoy life, or focus on anything other than the pain.

Your pets are no different except that they tend to suffer in silence, or be much more subtle in showing signs of pain because of their survival instincts.


When you provide pain relief for dogs & cats, there are a host of benefits that you achieve from managing their pain. The main benefits of providing effective, humane pain relief for dogs & cats are:

  • Pet Pain Management = Faster Healing: If your pets are recovering from injury or surgery and you provide pain management, it helps them heal faster. Studies show that when animals are in pain, their bodies will increase production of Cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone. When a pet has excessive cortisol streaming through her body, it slows wound healing, increases blood pressure, decreases the ability to digest food, and usually results in a longer stay at the hospital. This is why it’s so important to provide pain management for pets before, during, and after surgery.
  • Pet Pain Management = A More Comfortable Senior Pet: It’s the same for people and pets: getting old is not for the faint of heart. Degenerative joint diseases like arthritis affect your senior pets just like humans. They’ll try not to show it but many senior pets have constant discomfort from throbbing, aching, painful joints. When you work with your veterinarians to deploy a regimen of pain management for senior pets, they’ll be happier, healthier, and more comfortable in their senior years.
  • Pet Pain Management = Better Management of Chronic Health Conditions: Senior pets are not the only pets who can be suffering in pain on a daily basis. Pets with chronic conditions such as hip dysplasia are in constant discomfort. By deploying consistent pain relief for dogs or cats with chronic health conditions, you can help them enjoy a better quality of life, regardless of their age.


In the wild, predators typically look for the low-hanging fruit, i.e. an animal that is old, young, sick, injured, or moving in a labored manner. That’s why your pets instinctively hide their pain. They know that showing signs of being sick or injured makes them a target.

As a result, pet parents need to be extra vigilant to watch for subtle signs that their pets are in pain, and need some TLC in the form of pain management. Here are some of the typical signs that can indicate your pet’s in pain:

  • ADR – This is a veterinary insider’s acronym that means “Ain’t Doing Right.” If you notice this in your pet, don’t ignore it. Watch for other signs and then consult with your veterinarian.
  • Labored Breathing – If your pet’s breathing is labored, it can be a sign that she’s in pain.
  • Labored Movement – If she’s walking slowly or listlessly, she may be in pain.
  • Withdrawn Personality – If your pet was the life of the party, and then becomes withdrawn and doesn’t move around much, have her checked for possible pain.
  • Low Interest in Walks or Play – If your pet used to love to go for walks or play with a favorite toy, and then doesn’t want to engage in those activities anymore, it’s time for a trip to the vet to figure out why.
  • Low Interest in Food – Losing one’s appetite is almost always a sign that something’s wrong. Since your pet can’t tell you, work with your veterinarian to start the process of elimination to determine what’s causing your pet’s loss of appetite.


There are multiple pain management strategies that can be deployed to help your dog or cat feel better:

Option 1: Meds

There are a variety of meds that can be used for pain relief for your dogs & cats. Your pet can be treated with a injection of a pain reliever for the short-term, or be given oral medications to manage pain over time. For surgery or injury, your veterinarian may use narcotics for short-term relief right after a procedure, and anti-inflammatory drugs such as Rimadyl, Galliprant, or Onsior.

Warning to Pet Parents: One of the worst things you can do is dose your pet with human medicines. For example:

  • Aspirin can cause severe damage to a pet’s stomach lining and can interact dangerously with other more effective medications.
  • Tylenol is DEADLY to cats.

Option 2: Laser Therapy

Laser therapy for pets is fast becoming a widely used therapy for managing chronic pain for pets. It’s non-invasive, comfortable for your pet, does not require shaving their fur, and is relaxing for dogs & cats. A veterinarian or veterinary technician will wear protective glasses, and put protective glasses on your pet. Then, the therapist applies a wand emitting red laser light over the wound, or problem area. As the laser light penetrates deep into the tissue, it helps improve the circulation in the injured or troubled area, and the gentle warmth from the laser wand often makes pets sigh, and fall asleep during a laser therapy session.

Option 3: Acupuncture

Acupuncture is another proven alternative therapy that helps bring pain relief for dogs & cats. A veterinary acupuncturist will gently place acupuncture needles in energy centers and points on the body. This generates healing, relaxation (which helps in healing), and helps generate the pleasure chemicals in the body to help minimize pain.


There are many strategies for helping pets in pain. The first step is to identify that your pet’s in pain. The next step is to work with your veterinarian to determine the best pain management strategies to help provide pain relief for senior pets, pets that have been injured or undergone surgery, and pets with chronic conditions that cause pain. The results of a thoughtful pain management program are a happier, healthier, more comfortable pet with a higher quality of life, and peace of mind for pet parents.

Think you’ve got a pet who’s in pain? Contact Mile High Animal Hospital to schedule a pain management consult with our caring veterinary staff, or call us at 303.693.6484.


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Mile High Animal Hospital of Aurora


22310 E Arapahoe Rd Aurora, CO 80016

Clinic Hours

Monday-Friday: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Sunday: CLOSED