Dog Spine Problems: 5 Tips to Ease the Pain

Symptoms of dog spine problems often include your pooch having trouble walking, standing up, or climbing stairs. He may bark or jerk away when you try to pet him. The causes of back problems range from simply sore muscles to injured spinal disks. The later can cause extreme pain, loss of muscle control, or severe nerve damage.

The breeds most susceptible to back problems are the long, low dogs like Dachshunds or the larger dogs like Great Danes, Dobermans, and German Shepards. Dogs that are overweight are more likely to have back problems.

Helpful Tips

  1. Provide a ramp. This is a great aid to help your dog get onto or down from a favorite resting spot on a bed or couch. This ramp fits perfectly against furniture and folds up so it doesn't take up much space.
  2. Apply a heating pad. A warm compress feels very soothing while boosting circulation to the area, possibly speeding the healing process. Apply the hot pack to the sore spot for up to 15 minutes 3 times a day. Rubbing his ears at the same time will help keeping your dog still.
  3. Ask about aspirin. You vet may recommend a low dose of buffered aspirin. A safe dose for dogs is ΒΌ of a 325 milligram tablet for every ten pounds of dog, given twice a day. Do not give ibuprofen or acetaminophen, which can be dangerous for dogs.

    Pet stores sell aspirin in chewable roast beef flavored tablets, like this one.

  4. Give him a rest. Keep your dog quiet and as immobile as possible. It can take 3 to 4 weeks for inflammation to subside. Limit his activity by keeping him in a crate or on a leash so he doesn't dash off.
  5. Ease back into exercise. Begin with a short, slow walk. Gradually increase the distance and speed over several weeks.
  6. Give him a lift. A support carrier will comfortably lift and assist your canine friend. It is perfect for helping him up stairs, around the yard, in and out of vehicles, or to simply get up on his feet.
  7. Keep weight in check. Being overweight can contribute to dog spine problems. To check your dog's weight, run your hands over his ribcage. If you can count each rib, he's at a good weight. If all you feel if padding, start a weight loss plan for him.

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Drs. Foster and Smith Inc.