Everything You Need to Know About Back Pain In Dogs

Do you remember the days before technology was everywhere? When we had no choice other than sending letters through the post office?

Well, now we have email, text messages, instant messaging, and many other ways of communicating instantly without having to wait for a letter to be delivered by a postman or a phone call to be answered. But if it is not used correctly, this new technology can actually become a hindrance instead of an asset. 

There are many people who use their mobile phones as alarm clocks so that they do not oversleep, but there are others who leave their phones on all day because they want to know every single thing about what is happening around them at any given time.

This would be very helpful if they were able to get up from their bed when they wanted to go to sleep, but unfortunately, due to lack of knowledge about how to properly control our bodies, some people end up sleeping with their smartphones next to their heads.

And just like humans, dogs also need to learn how to manage their body temperature using natural methods. 

The best way to achieve this is to give your dog enough exercise! If you think about it, your dog does not look forward to going out into the cold weather or swimming in the ocean because it has to spend its energy getting back home safely.

We must understand that being safe means more than simply being alive; it means that the body should be well-functioning and ready to tackle whatever comes along.

So with that in mind, let us take a look at why dogs need to be able to live with our back pain and what causes this condition.

What Can Cause Back Pain in Dogs? 

There are many reasons why your dog may have back pain. From external injuries to a slipped disk. In this section of the article, we are going to explore the most common reasons your dog has a sore back.

  • Arthritis – Canine arthritis can cause back pain due to the fact that the joints around the spine can cause the dog pain which may, in turn, cause further back pain for your dog. 
  • Inflammatory Disorders – There are many inflammatory disorders that may cause your canine companion back pain.
  • Age – Age is a common reason for back pain in canines. This is because as dogs, and humans for that matter, get older their bones and muscles get weaker which makes them more prone to experiencing back pain. 
  • Injuries – If your dog has had an injury to their spine or the muscles along the back they may end up suffering from back pain for the rest of their life. But, this may not be the case if your veterinarian has determined that your dog’s back pain can be lessened or cured with physio or medical treatments. 
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease – The main cause of back pain in dogs is intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). This condition can occur at any age, but most often occurs between the ages of 5-10 years old. The dog will have a limp and be unable to get up from lying down or walking, due to pain in the spine. IVDD can also affect older dogs, as they become more arthritic and less flexible.

These are not the only reasons a dog might suffer from back pain, below are a list of additional reasons for this affliction. 

  1. Trauma 
  2. Inherited disorders
  3. Spinal neoplasia which is a cancerous tumor.
  4. Infectious diseases such as Lyme disease.
  5. Traumatic injury
  6. Congenital deformities

Back pain can also be caused by other conditions such as spinal cord injuries, tumors, fractures, or infections. In some cases, there may not be an underlying cause for the symptoms. If you are worried about your pet’s health, it is important that you seek veterinary care immediately.

Back pain can be treated effectively with medication, physical therapy, and surgery. It is very rare for animals to need surgery to treat their back problems.

What Symptoms Will There Be? 

Everything You Need to Know About Back Pain in Dogs

If your dog has back pain they might adopt new behaviors that they might not normally. These could include:

  • Your dog may prefer to sit more hunched so that their pain is alleviated. 
  • Your dog may have trouble moving around. This might manifest as them limping or even losing coordination.
  • Your dog may have a drastic change in behavior in their mood.
  • Your dog may lose their appetite.
  • If the back pain is a result of an injury you might notice that there are scratches or bruises in that area. 

Treatments for Canine Back Pain

There are many treatments that your veterinarian may suggest that might cure or alleviate your dog’s back pain. In this section, we are going to explore some of those treatments. 

  • Help Them Move – If your dog has chronic back pain you might want to consider getting a doggy wheelchair or back braces so that movement is easier and puts less strain on your furry friend’s spine. 
  • Scheduled Controlled Exercise – Your dog will need exercise whether they are in pain or not. Because of this, you need to find a way to exercise them that does not aggravate their back and cause them pain.

The best thing to do would be to take them on shorter walks so that they are not moving too much. This should reduce the risk of making their back pain flare up. 

  • Adapt Your Home – Moving around with back pain can be…well…a pain. So, make your dog’s life easier by making changes within your home that will make their lives easier and reduce the pain that they experience. You could, for example, use ramps so that they can move around without jumping.

On top of that, you could make sure that there are more mats around so that there is less chance of your dog slipping and hurting their back even more. Little changes can make a big difference. 

  • Manage Their Weight – If your dog is excessively overweight it could hinder their ability to move and also adds more pressure onto the animal’s back. By making sure that your dog does not eat too much and their weight stays within a healthy range you will be making your dog’s life much easier. 
  • Supplements in Their Diet – If you want to make sure that your dog gets all the nutrition and additional supplements they need to help them get better than you may want to consider adding some supplements into your canine companion’s diet. 
  • Medicines – Your veterinarian may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication or another drug that will help your pet cope with the pain and discomfort of back pain. 
  • Hydrotherapy – This kind of therapy is great for dogs and will help your dog strengthen their muscles while moving. The water makes it less painful for them to move around and takes the pressure off their backs. 
  • Cold Laser Therapy – The use of this therapy is a fantastic tool that will help your canine companion heal themselves. This therapy increases blood flow and helps them to release more stem cells which will aid the healing process. 
  • Physical Therapy – This therapy can help to alleviate any physical pain your dog may be feeling.
  • Surgery – Surgery is usually a last-ditch effort when it comes to back pain. If no other therapy or lifestyle changes are working your vet may suggest surgery. 
  • Ultrasound Waves – If you want to relieve the pain your dog feels, ultrasound waves are a great way to do that. These waves create heat within the dog’s body which helps increase the blood flow and relieves the pain that your canine companion might be feeling. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a few frequently asked questions that we have answered for you. Enjoy!

How Do You Know if Your Dog’s Back is Hurt?

You should check your dog’s body language for signs of discomfort. Look for drooping ears, reluctance to walk, stiffness, difficulty getting up or downstairs, and general lethargy. If you see these signs, take your dog to the vet immediately.

​The best thing to do when your dog does show any of these signs is to call your veterinarian straight away. They are much better equipped than you to diagnose the problem.

How Do You Tell if Your Dog Has a Slipped Disk?

A slipped disk is one of the most common causes of back pain in dogs. The first sign of this type of injury is usually lameness.

This is because the nerve root in the affected region becomes compressed. This is why you should always keep an eye out for your pet’s walking pattern as well.

Another symptom of a slipped disk is muscle spasms. If your dog starts acting like they are “kicking” an invisible foot then this is probably a sign of a slipped disc.

Another way to tell if your dog has a slipped disk is by looking at the muscles on either side of the spine. A person with a slipped disk will often have stiff muscles on both sides of his spine.

Can a Dog Pull a Muscle in Their Back?

Yes, a dog can easily pull a muscle in their back. Like humans, they like to run around and play which can easily strain their muscles.

How Do You Tell if a Dog Has a Pinched Nerve?

This happens when the spinal cord gets pinched between two vertebrae. Unfortunately, it is easy to miss this kind of injury. Most people think that their dog has just pulled a muscle, but actually, they have an injured nerve.

So if your dog displays any of the following symptoms then make sure you get them checked out by your veterinarian: poor mobility, loss of coordination, weakness, lack of balance, and general uncoordinated movements.

 How Do You Comfort a Dog in Pain?

When comforting a hurting dog it is important to be calm yourself. Try not to upset your dog by scolding them. Instead, try using distraction techniques such as offering treats or toys.

Also, avoid touching your dog directly in case they feel uncomfortable. And finally, don’t force-feed them. It could lead to more problems.

Final Thoughts

It is very significant to look after your dog’s health. Make sure they are eating properly, exercising regularly, and avoiding stressors such as too little sleep.

Take note of how your dog is feeling all the time, so you know what to watch out for. Be prepared to act quickly if you notice anything unusual and don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian if your dog shows any signs of trouble.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and that you have a fantastic day!

Megan Turner
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