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Barn Dog Pain: Home Remedies & Holistic Solutions

barn dog pain solutions
Written by Amanda J., DVM

Note: This article was originally published on our sister site Love & Let Go.

Ouch! What can I give my farm dog for pain?

No animal lover wants to see their pet in pain, and equestrians’ barn dogs are no exception. Maybe your companion is hurting from a sudden accident or injury, chronic pain from an old injury, age-related arthritis, cancer, or internal pain from a disease, infection, or other illness.

We’ll discuss common ways to help relieve your dog’s pain:

  • Home Pain Remedies
  • Holistic/Natural Pain Remedies
  • Over-the-Counter Medications
  • Prescription Medications

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if their dog is in pain. Once you recognize the signs, though, there is a lot you can do to help make your beloved barn dog more comfortable.

Always consult your veterinarian first if you suspect your dog is in pain.

Your veterinarian will perform a full physical examination to find the source of your pet’s pain and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Home Pain Remedies for Dogs

There are some simple things you can do at the ranch if your dog is experiencing mild pain.

Cold compresses

Similar to if you sprain your ankle and reach for a bag of frozen peas in the freezer, you can do the same for your dog. Apply an ice pack, ice bag, or frozen veggies to the area of injury.

Cover it with a soft thin towel so it’s not too cold on your dog’s skin, especially if your dog has short hair.

You also want to make sure to sit with your dog so they don’t think the frozen item you have chosen is tasty or worth chewing on. Only apply the cold compress for 10-15 minutes at a time.

Essential oils

There are some essential oils that are safe for pet use. Discuss with a holistic veterinarian to make sure you select a dog-safe type of oil and know how and where to apply it safely.

Some commonly used pain essential oils are peppermint and copaiba.

Before you apply the oils, make sure your dog finds the aroma pleasing. Always make sure to keep the oils away from the face.

essentials oils for dog pain

Chat with your vet about essential oils (Source: Pixabay)

Weight management

Keeping your dog trim and lean is something you can do at home. Extra pounds can really exacerbate pain from arthritis or other orthopedic injuries. Overweight pets are also more prone to injuries.

Regular exercise (usually easier to come by on a farm!) is important to prevent pain and injuries and to keep your dog in shape. If your dog is injured or in pain, talk to your veterinarian about what type of exercise is best.

In addition to regular exercise, diet is important for keeping your dog at their ideal weight. Portion food according to ideal body weight, and limit treats.

Holistic/Natural Pain Relief for Dogs

Many veterinarians have received extra training to offer alternative therapies in acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, laser therapy, rehabilitation, and physical therapy.


Acupuncture is a treatment where special needles are inserted at specific points on the body. This method is commonly used to treat pain, in addition to other diseases and ailments.

Laser therapy

Cold laser therapy helps stimulate healing and mitigate pain.

Therapeutic massage

Massage can be a great way to help your dog relax and to relieve tension in tight or pulled muscles. It also improves blood flow to painful areas to encourage healing.

You can find a practitioner who is trained to work with animals, or you can learn to do it on your own at home.


Make sure the massage therapist is qualified (Source: Pixabay)

Rehab and physical therapy

This type of therapy consists of special exercises and stretches to help condition, strengthen muscles, and improve movement.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relief for Dogs

While it might seem easy to open your medicine cabinet at home and pick out a pain reliever to give to your dog, this is NOT something you should do.

Most over-the-counter pain medications are harmful to your dog. Some, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen are toxic to dogs. Others, such as aspirin, are not as toxic.

It is extremely important that you talk to your veterinarian before you give ANY over the counter pain medication to your dog.

Even if it is not toxic, it could interfere with a better medication that your veterinarian might prescribe.

Joint supplements

Most horse owners are all too familiar with joint supplements. They also exist for dogs! Supplements such as glucosamine chondroitin, are something safe that you can get over the counter for your dog. It comes in different forms such as chews or tablets.

These supplements support healthy cartilage and joints.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids such as fish oils, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects to help relieve pain.

dog pain omega-3

Omega-3 oils can reduce inflammation (Source: Pixabay)

Prescription Pain Relief for Dogs

There are several different types of medication your veterinarian may choose to prescribe for your dog’s pain. Often a multi-modal approach is chosen which includes medications and alternative therapies.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (“NSAIDs”) are commonly chosen to relieve pain and inflammation especially for acute injuries or arthritis. Some examples include:

  • Carprofen (Rimadyl)
  • Meloxicam (Metacam)
  • Deracoxib (Deramaxx)
  • Firocoxib (Previcox)
  • Grapiprant (Galliprant)

It is important to note that you should only give medications at the direction, and under the supervision, of your veterinarian.

Side effects can include kidney issues, liver issues, and gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, ulcers, or lack of appetite.

Other pain medications that your veterinarian may prescribe include:

  • Gabapentin: This drug is used to treat neuropathic or nerve pain, seizures, and as a mild sedative.
  • Tramado: This is an opiod-like pain medication that has mild side effects.
  • Opioids: Opioids are reserved for more severe pain and often only used in vet hospitals. In rare occasions, opioids are sent home with the pet.

What NOT to Do for a Dog in Pain

  • Do NOT give your dog human pain medication.
  • Do NOT forget to consult your veterinarian.
  • Do NOT ignore your pet’s pain.
dog pain cone

Never ignore symptoms of potential pain (Source: Pixabay)

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I tell if my dog is in pain?

Signs that your dog is in pain include whining, abnormal vocalizations, sleeping more than normal, limping, excessive licking, decreased appetite, or a change in attitude or behavior.

Can I give my dog aspirin?

Only give your dog aspirin if your veterinarian has specifically directed you to do so.

What can I give my dog for swelling?

Your veterinarian will let you know what is safe to give your dog for swelling. In the meantime, it is usually safe to apply a cold compress to an area of swelling.

Parting Thoughts

If you think your farm dog is in pain, consult your veterinarian to decide which of the above suggestions will help alleviate your pet’s discomfort and get that tail wagging again!

P.S. If you found this article helpful, check out:

References & Further Reading
  • https://veterinarypartner.vin.com
  • https://www.tcvm.com
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About the author


Amanda J., DVM

Dr. Amanda J. is a veterinarian who practices small animal medicine and surgery. She enjoys educating pet owners through writing and does so for several blogs and websites. She grew up on a farm and has worked with animals since she was very young. She earned her doctorate of veterinary medicine from Iowa State University and continues to broaden her education with alternative therapies such as acupuncture in both small and large animals.