What Can I Give My Dog for Pain After Surgery?

If you’ve recently had your dog undergo surgery, you may be wondering if you can give him any pain medications. Pain after surgery can be treated with pain medications such as NSAIDs, opioids, and natural remedies.

What can I give dog for pain relief after surgery

Pain medication for dogs after surgery

Typically, after your dog has had surgery, they will be given a prescription pain medication as part of their recovery.


The most common is buprenorphine (sometimes labeled as suboxone), which is an opioid painkiller that blocks pain signals traveling along the nerves to the brain. Buprenorphine is used to treat moderate post-surgery pain.

Local anesthetic

Your dog may also be given a local anesthetic to control the worst of the pain immediately after surgery. In combination with an opioid painkiller like buprenorphine, this will provide much better pain relief.


The most common pain relievers for dogs are NSAIDs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Many of the NSAIDs available in the US require a prescription from your veterinarian. This class of drug reduces the body’s production of prostaglandins.

Prostaglandins are produced by the body in response to injury or disease—they trigger inflammation and pain as part of an immune response that helps facilitate healing by raising body temperature and blood flow to the affected area. NSAIDs work by blocking prostaglandin synthesis so that your dog won’t experience discomfort during its recovery.

There are several different NSAIDs, each with its own chemical structure, which means each one works differently in a dog’s body. Some of the most common NSAIDs for dogs include:

  • Carprofen (Rimadyl)
  • Deracoxib (Deramaxx)
  • Firocoxib (Previcox)
  • Meloxicam (Metacam)
  • Robenacoxib (Onsior)

Natural pain relief for dogs after surgery

Besides giving your dog prescription medications as directed by your veterinarian, there are several natural remedies you can give your dog to relieve or minimize the pain they are experiencing. It is important to note that these natural remedies have not been tested on pets and it is best to discuss them with your veterinarian before giving them to your dog.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids found in some fish oils help reduce inflammation and swelling. They are available in capsules or liquid form.


Arnica has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for bruising and inflammation. Arnica cream can be applied topically to the affected area twice a day. For larger areas, you can use the cream diluted with water in a spray bottle. Arnica gel or cream can also be purchased at most health food stores.

Flower essences

Many holistic veterinarians recommend flower essences for shock or emotional trauma and various homeopathy options for wounds, nerve damage, or bruising.

CBD oil

It’s no secret that CBD oil is used for pain relief in people, but it also has the same effects on dogs. It works by binding with receptors in the brain and spinal column to reduce inflammation and block pain signals from reaching the brain. Some studies have shown that CBD oil is especially effective for chronic pain conditions like arthritis or cancer, but it can be used to soothe post-surgical pain as well. You’ll want to choose an organic product that doesn’t include contaminants like pesticides or heavy metals, which can be harmful to your pet’s health.


You may also want to consider a gentle massage to help release the tension your dog is holding from his illness or injury and his surgery. Stay away from the surgery site to avoid causing further pain. The best areas are around the ears, back of the neck, and shoulders. This can be continued for 2 to 3 months after surgery.


Reiki is another holistic therapy you can try, which has many potential benefits, including both physical and mental healing. If you are unsure how to go about this, you can search for Canine Reiki practitioners in your area, but be sure to check that they are qualified.

Over the counter pain medication for dogs after surgery

Unfortunately, there is no over-the-counter medication that is approved by the FDA for dogs and cats.

The only safe option for pain relief after surgery is a prescription from your veterinarian. Over-the-counter pain medications, even in low doses, can be toxic to dogs and cause serious side effects, including death.

If you’d like an alternative to over-the-counter pain relief, many veterinarians now offer acupuncture as a way to manage your dog’s pain. Acupuncture has been used to treat dogs with inflammatory bowel disease and arthritis with great success, though it may not be appropriate depending on the severity of your dog’s condition.

How do I get my dog to stop whining after surgery?

It’s normal for your dog to whine or cry out in pain when it’s recovering from surgery. Your vet can prescribe an anti-inflammatory drug to help reduce the pain and swelling, but it may take a few days for the medication to take effect.

Put an Elizabethan collar on your dog to keep him from biting at his incision site. The collar should be loose enough that it doesn’t interfere with breathing, but snug enough to prevent chewing.

Hold your dog’s head gently and talk soothingly to him while he recovers. The sound of your voice may help him feel better during this time.

How can I help my dog in pain after surgery?

Often after surgery, the biggest trigger of pain is movement, especially if you have an excitable or active dog.

For the first few days, you should restrict your dog to one room of the house and do not let them jump on and off the furniture. Keep their water bowl close by so they do not have to go far.

Walk with them when they go outdoors for the toilet and keep their daily walks short, slow and calm. A little gentle exercise is good for the muscles and prevents stiffness in their joints.

Do not let your dog use the stairs for at 3-4 days after surgery, as the motion of climbing may agitate their wound and cause sudden, sharp jolts of pain.

How do I get my dog to lay down after surgery?

Your dog is in pain after surgery, so be sure to let it rest in a place that is familiar and comfortable for him or her. If they are in a new environment, they may feel anxious or scared, which could cause them to try to get up when they shouldn’t.

Your dog will have to be confined for at least a few days after the operation unless the veterinarian says otherwise. While he’s healing, make sure your dog is comfortable and has freshwater. He shouldn’t be overexerting himself.

What’s the best bed for my dog post-surgery?

Softer beds are more comfortable but harder to keep clean. Harder, plastic-like beds can be cleaned more easily but may not be as comfortable for dogs who have just had surgery.

Choosing the right bed for your dog is an important part of making sure she is as relaxed and comfortable as possible. Here are some tips for choosing the best bed for your dog post-surgery:

Size: If you’re buying a bed for your dog, find one that fits them well. If you’re purchasing a large pillow or mat, measure their length from nose to tail and width from shoulder to shoulder. This will help you choose something they can lay on comfortably without having to curl up too much.

Next, try laying the bed out in its intended location so you can see if it’s long enough and wide enough for your pet. If it’s not, return the product and get another that will work better for them.

Warmth: Dogs don’t sweat like humans do, so they use their beds as a way of regulating their body temperature while resting or sleeping. Make sure the blankets or pillows you choose are made from a material that will keep them from getting too hot. Also, be sure the bed is large enough that they have some space between them and the sides of the bed so they can move.

Conclusion of managing dog pain after surgery

Managing dog pain after surgery is a critical part of any recovery. You can help relieve pain and discomfort by making sure your dog doesn’t engage in activities that may cause additional injury, such as jumping from heights or running excessively. In addition to limiting activity, you can also provide your dog with a warm and cozy environment for them to relax. It’s important to stay in close contact with your veterinarian throughout the recovery process so you can make sure your dog is doing well and that their needs are being met.

This article only covers the basics of managing your dog’s pain after surgery, and there’s so much more to it than what we’ve discussed here. You should always follow your vet’s instructions, and don’t hesitate to ask if you have any concerns or questions. This is especially important if your dog is elderly or has pre-existing health conditions that might make them more vulnerable to surgical pain and complications. Be sure to call the vet’s office if you think anything is off with your dog, no matter how minor it may seem. With care and attention, your dog will be back to their old self in no time!

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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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