These 5 painkillers for dogs you should know

What are the painkillers for dogs? When should I use them and what should I consider? Are there any alternatives? That and much more you will find in this article! In addition, we have for this article Advice from veterinarian Emin Jasarevic obtained. Note: This article is written for the german country. 

painkiller tablets dog
Painkillers can make your dog's life easier for a while....
Table of Contents

Painkillers should only be given if you have been thoroughly informed about them beforehand.

When are painkillers useful?

After a torn claw, sprain or sore muscle, your charge may well be in pain.

It is important to note that painkillers for humans are not necessarily suitable for your pet. They are either too highly dosed or poisonous for him. If you don't pay attention to this, you could even kill your faithful friend!

However, there are also exceptions: Some painkillers are approved for humans and dogs, but you should still be very careful with them!

Ideally, try not to let it get to the point where your pelt-nose has to suffer pain. As soon as you notice something unusual about him, this can often be the first symptom of an illness or pain.

Most quadrupeds hide their pain because in the wild, sick animals are always eaten first. So they try to give the appearance of the best health.

Which hints your protégé makes nevertheless depends on his personality.

Aggressiveness, restlessness, apathy or listlessness can be signs. Only those who know their four-legged friend well will discover discrepancies immediately.

For minor injuries, it is no problem to give your pet a painkiller. However, the choice should always fall on an easily tolerated active ingredient.

Therefore, always consult with your veterinarian before administering any medication.

Dosage important

It is essential to follow the correct dosage. It should be dosed as prescribed according to the weight of your quadruped. If you do not do this, you run the risk of damaging the organs.

In addition to the type of medication and the pain as well as the correct dosage, there is another component to consider: the time period. Even mild painkillers can cause severe side effects over a longer period of time.

For this reason, these drugs should not be administered in an inflationary manner, but always with eyes open. 

If your pet remains pain-free for a long time only through painkillers, it is essential to find the cause of the pain.

In this case, check your furry companion for ailments yourself. Find out which parts or areas of the body are in pain. Then inform your vet and ask how to proceed.

Side effects of painkillers?

1. pharmaceutical analgesics


Whether for humans or animals, drugs also have side effects. Painkillers are no exception. 

For this reason, none of the pain relievers mentioned in this article should be administered without your veterinarian's blessing! 

Specific side effects of pain-relieving medications may include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Death

For this reason, you should be very careful with medicines.

2. herbal painkillers

In addition to chemical painkillers, there are also herbal variants.

However, you should also be careful with these. There are also plants that are very toxic for your four-legged friend. 

Many herbal remedies contain, for example, nettle, rose hips, as well as extracts of anica, calendula, fenugreek or comfrey. Peppermint oil and St. John's wort oil are also frequently used. 

These oils are normally easily tolerated. Please note that the essential oils of some plants may nevertheless have an irritating effect. 

You can determine which of these natural remedies is best for your pet by talking to your veterinarian or naturopath.

Which painkiller is suitable for what?

There are different drugs for different areas of pain. Also, the production and effect is different in each case. Here you will find the most important and most common painkillers:


The active ingredients in Traumeel come from a mixture of composite plants. It is therefore a homeopathic painkiller.

This non-prescription medicine is used for pain caused by sprains and bruises. It is available in tablet, ointment or drop form and is also used for arthritis pain.

Traumeel is easily available in pharmacies, as it is derived from human medicine. Nevertheless, a consultation with the veterinarian is also worthwhile with this remedy.


This product is of herbal origin and contains active ingredients from the Arnica rhizome. 

It is mainly used to relieve pain after an operation. But it can also work wonders for psychological ailments. 


Buscopan contains the active substance butylscopolaminium bromide. It is used for abdominal pain and cramps. 

This medication does not require a prescription and is therefore freely available everywhere. However, if you do not know beforehand what the cause of your faithful companion's pain is, you should not give it to him. 

Buscopan is quite often prescribed by veterinarians for abdominal pain and cramps, but only the specialist knows how to use it. The reason is that this kind of pain can be a symptom of a harmless stomach upset.

But they can also indicate a serious poisoning. Especially with such pain should not be afraid to go to the veterinarian of confidence.


The painkiller Novalgin contains the active ingredient metamizole.

This is suitable for colic and Urinary tract diseases. Besides the analgesic effect, it is antispasmodic and reduces fever.

It requires a prescription and is therefore not freely available. The reason for this is its relatively strong effect. This is why Novalgin may only be administered by a vet.

Basically, you should not leave your pet unattended after administering this painkiller. Although it is generally tolerated, side effects can always occur.


Although these drugs are non-steroidal painkillers, they are only available on prescription. 

These are used for arthritis and inflammatory pain. 

Here, extremely meticulous attention must be paid to the dosage. For this reason, a veterinarian should be consulted for the administration of these painkillers. 

The painkillers in these drug groups are popularly prescribed, but they can be very harmful to the stomach if used incorrectly.

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These painkillers you should not administer on your own initiative!

In addition to the pain medications mentioned above, there are also medications that you should never administer without the express permission of your veterinarian. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Paracetamol
  • Diclofenac
  • Acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) 
These active ingredients can be a real benefit for us humans, but small doses can be toxic for your dog!
The salicylate contained in aspirin can cause gastrointestinal bleeding in your dog. This also applies to diclofenac, which, like ibuprofen, puts a strain on the stomach and kidneys. Like paracetamol, it also affects your dog's liver. 
Half an ibuprofen 400 tablet can be very toxic for a dog weighing approx. 20 kg. This also applies to other medications. Severe organ damage and even fatal poisoning are the result. 

Ibuprofen poisoning becomes visible through apathy, vomiting, increased urge to urinate and unsteady movements. Bleeding and increased thirst are also symptoms. 

Poisoning by paracetamol manifests itself in yellowish skin and mucous membrane discoloration. These are very clear symptoms of liver damage.

What to do if my dog has taken toxic medication?

It can happen that your furry friend ingests toxic medication by mistake. 

But what should you do in such a case?

As soon as you are aware that your furry friend has eaten medicine or shows the symptoms mentioned above, the red alert applies! You should then contact your vet immediately and make your way to the vet. 

Timely detoxification can be achieved through targeted vomiting or medicinal charcoal and Glauber's salts. Your pet urgently needs infusions to compensate for the loss of nutrients and fluids.

IMPORTANT: Always lock away anything poisonous for the dog! 

To prevent your pet from experiencing this additional pain and illness in the first place, you need to know what is harmful to them. But that alone is not enough. Play it safe and keep all medication out of reach. 

Puppies in particular can sometimes look in a drawer when hunting for a small snack. Furthermore, you should never leave boxes of medication lying around. 

This applies not only to pharmaceutical, but also to herbal or homeopathic remedies.

Acupuncture against pain

Dog diagnosis and prevention

Some veterinarians or alternative practitioners swear by acupuncture for chronic pain.

The procedure comes from Chinese medicine. Like humans, fine needles are applied to the so-called meridians on your pet's body.

Pain management usually lasts about four weeks, with two visits per week. One session lasts about 30 minutes.

Duration of therapy and number of visits may vary depending on the condition of your charge. As long as the acupuncture is done correctly, he is usually pain free.

If you are considering acupuncture, make sure that the veterinarian or alternative practitioner practicing it has a reputable certificate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, if you know the cause of your dog's pain and have the right pain reliever available. However, you should still consult your veterinarian if you are unsure.

Over-the-counter pain relievers for your dog include Traumeel, Arnica D6 globules, Buscopan. Prescription painkillers are Novalgin or Metacam. You should always administer these after consulting with your veterinarian.

You must never give your dog pain pills for humans. They are either toxic to dogs or too high in dosage. In both cases, the side effects can be fatal.

Dogs often hide the fact that they are in pain out of instinct. Watch for unusual behavior. Small deviations from normal could already be an indication of pain.

Give your dog pain pills only for minor bruises, small cuts, or other more innocuous causes. Contact your veterinarian if your dog is seriously ill, injured or the cause of the pain is unclear.

Veterinarian’s Recommendation

Be a support to your dog as he fights the pain.

In order for your pet to become pain-free again, you should help him to the best of your ability. Chronic pain can often become the cause of illness itself. This has now even been scientifically proven.

Today, veterinarians have a number of good painkillers at their disposal that can make life easier for your four-legged friend. Your task is to make sure that he really takes these medications. 

If he feels secure, then he trusts that you always want only the best for him. Therefore, always remain calm and without stress when it comes to this topic. This will have a positive effect on your protégé.

Certain pains can also be relieved with the help of heat or cold packs. Your veterinarian can tell you what other options there might be in your case.

Picture of Geprüft vom Tierarzt Emin Jasarevic
Veterinarian Emin Jasarevic

I am a veterinarian and writer on animal health topics. Animals are my passion, and it is my personal goal to create medically accurate articles and videos to educate pet owners as much as possible.

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