Pain Relief Methods

Amazingly Simple and Effective Pain Relief for your Dog

Heat and cold have been used for relieving pain in both dog health care and human health care. These methods work with acute stages, with chronic conditions and with inflammatory disorders. Using heat and cold at different stages of the injuries development are one of the most effective treatments for pain control. Nothing else is as safe, as easy to use, and as free from side effects and as cost effective.

Using these methods has two different effects on the dog. The first one is temporary and the second one is more long lasting. Using cold applications will constrict the blood vessels and numb the nerve endings. This relieves the pain and brings about a lasting dilation of the vessels. Using heat will dilate the blood vessels first, and cause the nerve endings to be soothed. This further causes the tissues to be relaxed.

To use water applications, following the correct temperature is important. These temperatures are shown below:

Cold     40 to 60 degrees F (4.4 to 15.5 degrees C)
Cool     65 to 75 degrees F (18.3 to 23.8 degrees C)
Warm     90 to 100 degrees F (32.2 to 37.7 degrees C)
Hot     100 to 110 degrees F (37.7 to 43.3 degrees C)

The more extreme the temperature that is used, the less amount of time it is applied. More moderate temperatures can be used for longer periods of treatment. A short time of application would be from 15 to 60 seconds. The average duration would be two minutes. A longer treatment would be from three minutes to 10 minutes, the longest generally being 30 minutes.

In the recovery phase of an injury, there are three phases; the acute, the sub-acute and the chronic. During the first 24 hours after an injury use cold immediately. This is the acute stage and the cold will help stop hemorrhaging in the tissues while reducing swelling.

The sub-acute stage is between 24 and 72 hours and generally the injury has stabilized by then. This is when you would perform a vascular flush, which consists of alternating cold and heat applications, but always finishing with cold.

Once past 72 hours, you are in the chronic stage. At this time you would use heat to increase the blood circulation and loosen the tissues. If it is an old injury flaring up, use cold to numb the nerve endings and reduce the swelling and inflammation. This application is used in tendonitis, bursitis, and arthritis to control any inflamed tendons and joint structures.

There are various devices for use in cold therapy. There are leg wraps with Velcro containing chemical ice bags, and leg boots that can be filled with cold water. A simple and cost effective measure is a plastic baggie filled with crushed ice and cold water, wrapped up in a towel and applied to the area. Another useful technique is a towel wrung out in cold water kept in the freezer or fridge, and used when needed.

Heat is used in numerous applications in dog health care. The applications used vary from ultrasound, laser, heating lamps and water. Moist heat is far more effective than dry heat because it penetrates the body better. Heat performs so many actions from raising the body temperature, stimulating the metabolism, relieving stiffness in older dogs, to controlling pain in acute injuries. Heat helps in the recovery stages as well as in the regular maintenance and preventative regime.

Methods of heat applications that can be quite easily utilized are a hot water bottle, and hot towels covered in plastic. These are two very economical methods to use. Electric heating pads are not recommended because of the potential shock hazard from chewing or urinary incontinence. To reduce the risk of your dog overheating, no more than 20 minutes in duration of heat should be applied.

Download the Ultimate Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy Guide for DogsHeat and cold therapy is a very effective and great way to help your older dog from the pain of arthritis, or recovery from an injury. Arthritis in dogs has been helped amazingly from the use of heat and cold applications. If it has been used for centuries on humans and is now being applied on our canine friends, it has obviously proven to be a worthwhile treatment. Check out the possibilities with your own precious canine companion. You never know what astounding results you will see!

About the Author
Helga Schmitt has been passionately studying and researching dog health, physiotherapy and rehabilitation hands on for the past 20 years. Her keen interest in health and healing motivated her to become a Chartered Herbalist and also obtain a degree in Nutrition and Advanced Holistic Nutrition. She furthered with a Certificate in Homeopathy and continues to study various healing modalities to this day. She is a Certified and Registered Canine Hydrotherapist. Her research, past and current studies and experience, have her striving to educate dog owners that there are numerous ways to achieving and maintaining optimum health for your pet. For more information on helping with your dog’s pain from arthritis or cancer, check out her best selling book, “The Ultimate Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy Guide for Dogs.”

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2 Responses to Pain Relief Methods

  • Lisa says:

    My dog suffers from crippling arthritis. She can no longer bend her elbows. Which method should I use and for how long? How many times a day, a week? Your help will be greatly appreciated.


  • helga says:

    Hi Lisa
    That is sad to hear of your dog in such discomfort with her arthritis. There are a number of factors to take into consideration here. Firstly, how old is your dog? What breed is she? Is she tall or low to the ground? Is she on meds of some kind? Is she active or getting any exercise? Is her condition only when she rises from laying down or going from a standing postion to a down position? It is difficult to give any suggestions when there are so many questions. At a shot in the dark, if any dog has discomfort to that extent, they should be on some medication or taking aspirin or some type of relief from alternatives. They need treatment of some sort be it homeopathic as in Traumeel tabs or gel or something your vet would prescribe. Acupuncture works fabulous for these conditions. Hydrotherapy is one treatment that helps profoundly with arthritis in canines. Please look into some type of treatment and when taking in all of her conditions and level of health, a proper program can be suggested. I wish you all the best and let me know how she does!

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