Dogs suffer from most of the health problems like humans, including leg pain. However, the only difference is that they cannot express their pain. This is why you have to keep a look out for signs indicating leg pain in your dog. The typical signs are a reluctance to play and climb stairs, unusual moodiness, limping and physical discomfort, licking the sore leg till there’s hair loss at the spot and crying out or snapping at you while touching the spot because of the pain.
The first thing you naturally do is stop any physical strain or exercise and take him to the veterinarian. Your doctor will most probably prescribe pain medication like a low dose of aspirin or some other anti-inflammatory drug. While this is indeed helpful, there are some home remedies you can also try for canine leg pain relief. However, as always, consult and inform your doctor before trying these at-home treatments.
1. Adequate rest
Rest is most important as restricting his physical activities helps heal his leg while providing pain relief. This means you have to stop coaxing him to jump on couches and beds if he’s stopped doing it. It’s a temporary phase and he’s not jumping because of the pain in his legs. He needs time to heal, at least a week or two, which is why you should stop all exercise including running.
2. Careful and restricted movement
Besides restricting your dog’s physical movement, you also have to carefully handle your dog. So if you pick him up, carefully put him down on all fours to prevent him from landing on the wrong leg. It’s better to leave him in a crate or an orthopaedic mat if you have to go to work or sleeping. However, do not make him sleep with you on the bed as there’s the chance of him jumping off the bed and injuring himself.
3. Salt bath
Giving your dog a mineral salt bath using Epsom or other mineral salts help relax and soothe his pulled leg muscles. The effects are better if you rub some eucalyptus oil on his leg after the bath as it’s a natural remedy for pain relief, and to soothe aching muscles.
Massage is also helpful at providing canine leg pain relief, preferably if it’s done after his warm mineral salt bath. Massage is a non-invasive procedure that helps restore your dog’s flexibility relaxes the body and removes the pain in the tensed muscles by reducing tension and stress. Massage using a massage gel like cinnamon or peppermint essential oil in a carrier oil. There are alternatively also many massage gels that warm the joint and helps provide canine leg pain relief.
5. Applying heat or cold pad
Try applying some heat through a heating pad, or cold with a bag of frozen vegetables to the aching spot as it helps reduce the inflammation. There should be some pain relief within 24 hours if not, it’s better to show your vet.
6. Herbs can help
You have to choose the herb to use for pain relief based on what you plan to achieve through them. If you want to treat the inflammation, then St.John’s Wort that’s available as a tincture or Cayenne cream can be applied to the sore joint. Yucca also helps by producing hormones similar to artificial steroids while garlic, parsley and bromelain help reduce inflammation through the body if your dog has chronic arthritis.
You can consult a veterinary acupuncturist if your dog doesn’t respond to the other therapies that you have tried. It helps by increasing circulation to the affected areas, provides pain relief and improves your dog’s musculoskeletal problems. You can also read up, and try acupressure at home if your dog doesn’t respond to other home treatment options. Acupressure is where the acupuncture points are held instead of pierced with needles, and is helpful for emergency first aid, prevent injuries and rehabilitation.
There are various supplements you can give your dog for improved health and to treat the sore leg. For example, omega fatty acids like salmon oil help treat any inflammation involved while Vitamin C helps work as an anti-inflammatory and collagen protector. As the ideal dosage of vitamin C is still not determined, the best way to find out the right dose is by repeating the dosage until it triggers loose bowels in your dog. This is when you have to start reducing it. Even natural bone and joint supplements help maintain healthy and strong bone and joints while apple cider vein gear helps with its anti-inflammatory properties.
9. Fish oil
Fish oil is a useful home remedy for canine leg pain. Even if your dog eats commercial dog food fortified with fish oil you have to give him a supplement as dog foods don’t contain sufficient omega-3.
10. Glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid supplement
These supplements are usually combined into a single supplement which is very helpful at providing relief from joint pain in dogs. It’s available as pills, powders and liquid which you can give your dog as per your dog’s preferences and your convenience.
11. Soft spots
Your dog’s feet and joints take a pounding on hard, concrete floors. There’s also the risk of their slipping and sliding while attempting to run on them. This is why it’s better to have a memory foam bed or at least large area rugs with thick pads under it for your dog to rest on in one or two spots at home.
12. Limit carbohydrates
It’s better if you can reduce the amount of carbs like millet, wheat, rice, corn, soy or even potatoes in your dog’s diet. This is because carbs are naturally pro-inflammatory. So start giving your dog a protein-rich diet cooked at home, or dog food containing more of chicken or beef. It’s also a nutritionally better diet option for your dog.
13. No human medication
Don’t make the biggest mistake of giving your dog some of your pain medications. Dogs are dogs, and humans are humans so they respond differently to medicine. While the medication may help give you pain relief, it can have fatal consequences in your dog. These 13 canine leg pain home remedies are helpful at providing relief to any leg pain your dog has. However, do make sure you inform and consult your veterinarian before trying anything out.