If you’re having joint pain, one of the places you might turn is heat and ice, and for good reason. Heat and ice can help improve circulation and reduce your pain. It works this way for dogs too! In order to make the choice between heat and ice, you need to determine what kind of pain you’re treating. If your dog’s aching joints are hot to the touch, it’s best to use ice, but otherwise, heat is a great fix for their pain. Just make sure to put a barrier between your pup’s skin and any pet-safe hot or cold packs. Do not leave your dog unsupervised with heat or cold and follow all manufacturer’s instructions for heating pads.
It’s a great idea to follow up these therapies with a quick massage. Just like people, massage can be a great way to help your pet get some relief from pain. Find a calm environment to help keep your dog relaxed. Begin at the base of the skull and gently work your way down the spine and legs -- be careful not to press straight down on bone or joints, as this may increase pain for your dog. If your dog seems in pain at any point, end the massage and return to gentle, reassuring petting.
Most dogs crave human touch, so giving your pup a gentle massage will not only feel good for your pup but will also be great bonding time for you both. Massaging your pup will also help you identify tender spots you should bring to your vet’s attention.
Seeing your dog in pain is definitely difficult. Senior dogs may encounter this in the latter stage of life and you may go through the brutally frank and sadly realistic conversations that inevitably come up between you and your vet. So many of us have been there. Thankfully, there are natural ways you can help alleviate joint pain in your pup and keep them on a healthy course and maybe even extend their lives.
Work with your vet and listen to your dog, and stay ahead of any pain your dog is experiencing. By incorporating some of these lifestyle changes, your pup may be in less pain and more active before you know it.