Some painkillers for dogs have been evaluated and approved by FDA, so in most cases they are safe for your dog provided you follow the vet’s instruction. The most commonly used prescription drugs you can find are Rimadyl, Deramaxx, Fentanyl and Tramadol.
Rimadyl, Imadyl or Imafen are Carprofen based non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs used by veterinarians as a supportive treatment for the relief of arthritic symptoms in geriatric dogs. It can be used both short term, for joint pain or post-operative inflammation, or for day-to-day relief from the pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, and other forms of joint deterioration.
Tramadol for animals is one of the most reliable and useful painkillers for dogs available to veterinarians for treating animals in pain. In animals, tramadol is removed from the body via liver and kidney excretion. Animals suffering from diseases in these systems should be monitored by a veterinarian, as it may be necessary to adjust the dose. Tramadol is normally used to control moderate to severe post-surgical pain, or as pain relief after injury as well as chronic pain in dogs suffering from cancer. Unlike Rimadyl, Tramadol is basically a narcotic-like pain reliever and not classified as NSAID drug.
Fentanyl is considered as one of the strongest painkillers for dogs. United States authorities classify fentanyl as a potent narcotic analgesic. To date, there are more than 12 different analogues of fentanyl have been produced clandestinely and identified in the U.S. drug traffic. Fentanyl for dogs is normally used in the form of skin patches which will release medication on a regular basis. Since it is classified as a strong narcotic analgesic, Fentanyl is recommended only for intensive unbearable pain, for example prior to surgery to control postoperative pain, and can be purchased through prescription only. In dogs, the Fentanyl effect can last up to 4 days but you should give 6 to 12 hours for the drugs to work effectively after the patch being applied. Please note that these patches are highly toxic and shouldn’t be ingested by the dog.
According to the manufacturer, Deramaxx is a breakthrough medication to help control chronic osteoarthritis (OA) pain in dogs and proven safe enough to use every day. Osteoarthritis is said to be the most common cause of chronic pain in dogs, and affects the dog’s joints. Deramaxx is classified as a non-narcotic, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). The active ingredient is deracoxib. Deramaxx is in the same pharmaceutical class as ibuprofen and aspirin.
Painkillers for Dogs – Please Read the Side Effects!
OTC Painkillers for Dogs
There are many over-the-counter painkillers for dogs available out there, however you need to understand the reasons behind the dog’s pain prior to purchasing them. Pain in dogs can be due to arthritis or osteoarthritis – a degenerative joint disease; dog injuries such as pulled muscles, fractured bones or even broken leg, tail or hip, cancers and other possibilities we probably never heard of before. Dog limping for example may have more than one of the culprits above.
Some studies indicate that glucosamine helps rebuild cartilage – something traditional NSAID pain relievers are unable to do. Glucosamine for dogs can help reduce your dog’s pain because the supplements work by restoring and regenerating the dog’s damaged joints. They also have anti-inflammatory properties which can soothe the symptoms of arthritis or hip dysplasia. Since glucosamine products are classified as health supplements they are not regulated by FDA. The products available over the counter may have different quality so you need to take extra efforts to select the right one, and since dogs may react differently to each product sometimes it takes some trial and error paths to find the best painkillers for dogs.