We aren’t the only ones that can suffer from back pain; our furry companions are just as susceptible as we are to its effects. Since dogs can’t express their aches and pains as we can, it is important to keep an eye out for any signs of pain.
3 Common Causes of Dog Back Pain
There are many reasons a dog may be suffering from back pain. Common causes of dog back pain include old age, spinal injury, and diseases such as Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD).
1. IVDD Back Pain
Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) is a condition that over time causes damage and degradation to your dog’s spinal cord. IVDD can cause pain over time and can be set off from one wrong move that could cause rupture to a disk. While this tends to be more common in longer spine dogs such as Dachshunds and Corgis, many breeds can be affected by it especially dogs that are overweight. IVDD flareups are not uncommon and a dog may experience them multiple times.
The most common cause of dog back pain is IVDD although bulging disks and spinal trauma can cause spinal pain as well. If you are not sure what is causing this pain it is always recommended to seek further information on the underlying cause from your Veterinarian.
2. Back Pain in Senior Dogs
While dogs of any age can have spinal pain, a very common cause is Arthritis which is more common to develop, as a dog grows older. This is an inflammation of joints that can cause a lot of pain and discomfort and affects the way your dogs will move as it causes stiffness in their joints.
While it is not always preventable, keeping your dog’s weight down and maintaining a healthy diet can help manage pain. Arthritis can be caused by both trauma and a genetic precondition/defect.
3. Back Injuries in Dogs
Physical injury is a common cause of a sore back. Whether a dog’s injury is due to a traumatic event or something as simple as landing badly or moving the wrong way, a dog’s back pain can be debilitating. Making their daily activities difficult. If ignored or left untreated back injuries can lead to ongoing back problems as your dog ages. Pay attention to changes in your dog’s behavior such as a sudden unwillingness to play or reluctance to stand. These may be signs that your dog’s back is aching.
Signs and Symptoms of Back Pain in Dogs
It is not always easy to recognize when your dog is suffering from an aching back, but there are some distinct symptoms you can look out for that mean your dog is uncomfortable. Here are the most common signs that your dog has hurt their back:
- Muscle Spasms/Shaking
- Stiffness or walking in a hunched position
- Barking or crying when their back is touched
- Increased sign of weakness or lethargy
- Lack of control or coordination
- Noticeable changes in mood or personality
- Signs of limping or dragging
- Visual trauma that can be seen, such as scratch marks, bruising.
Canine Back Pain Solutions
Alleviating your dog’s back pain is crucial to keep them comfortable. The first step towards treating your dog’s spine is determining the underlying cause.
If you are looking to help your pet with their aching back, the first thing to do is take them to the vet for a proper diagnosis. Once you know the underlying cause of their pain, you and your Vet will be able to form a plan that will work best to treat the soreness and overall cause.
This may mean your dog will need surgery depending on the root cause. After surgery, your dog may need medication and rehab therapy in certain cases and maybe put on crate rest to not further agitate their back and allow for healing.
Back Support to Relieve Dog Back Pain
Back Braces and supports are always an excellent tool to help further support your dog’s back and alleviate some pain with a form of compression. Proper back support should conform to the shape of your dog’s body. This level of customized support will provide support to the spine as well as the surrounding muscles. Depending on your dog’s injury, they may also need to limit their range of motion as they heal. A dog back support is the perfect solution to relieve a pet’s back pain and keep the spine in alignment.
Wearing a back brace is not a replacement for other necessary procedures for a dog in recovery, like crate rest but an added aid in healing.
Holistic Treatments and Physical Therapy for a Dog’s Back
Holistic treatments such as physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, and acupuncture can also be good to assist your dog in recovering from spinal surgeries or injuries. Spinal rehabilitation is a slow process and may last for months, but physical therapy can help pets to heal and lessen back pain. Popular treatment methods to reduce dog back pain include:
- Hydrotherapy – reduces pressure on a dog’s joints and allows dog to stretch and move safely
- Acupuncture – helps reduce swelling, spinal compression, and lower pain levels
- Physiotherapy – helps dogs recover mobility and rebuild strength
- Massage – to reduce pain and improve circulation
- Laser Therapy – can help to speed the healing process as well as decrease back pain
Maintaining a healthy weight will lower the amount of stress placed on the spine and joint supplements can also help assist in the recovery process. It’s important that dogs with back injuries avoid stairs, jumping, and running – crate rest is usually recommended.
Mobility Assistance for Dog’s With Spinal Conditions
Some pets may benefit from using a dog wheelchair to help them stay active during their recovery. Wheelchairs support the dog from underneath to take pressure off their rear ends.
When dealing with a spinal condition, it is always important to make sure they are supported properly along their back to not cause any further discomfort, the neoprene belly support can be used to provide support under the abdomen to keep a dog properly aligned and supported. The belly support is always recommended for dogs with back-related pain or injury while in the wheelchair.
Likewise, a lifting harness that supports the center of your dog’s body and the rear legs is a simple and effective way to get your dog outside for short walks to relieve themselves.