How to Help A Dog with Back Pain – Ease Your Dog’s Back Pain Symptoms

Spine trouble is a very difficult thing to deal with, in the case of both humans and even more so with dogs – our fellow Earth inhabitants. So how to help a dog with back pain? It’s quite a tough situation to manage for vets, even though backache is such a common occurrence even among canines.

But why is that? Simply because the cause of the pain never presents itself in the most obvious form. Nonetheless, it’s indicative of something that might be potentially serious, which further increases the chances of a neurologic calamity.

And when there’s no neurologic catastrophic episode looming, back pain can easily lead to some other serious mobility changes. And also paralysis.

Hence, the need to prioritize spinal pain management through a proper physical as well as neurologic examination. Meaning appropriate and thorough diagnostic testing needs to be done as soon as the first symptom is spotted!

Dog Back Pain Symptoms

Better to detect the problem early on, so you can treat it quickly without your little pooch having to suffer for too long.

So here are some of the most prevalent symptoms of back pain in dogs…

  • Muscle spasms or shaky legs.
  • Loss or lack of appetite.
  • Behavioral/mood changes.
  • Barking, crying, or other such signs associated with pain when the dog’s back is touched.
  • Dragging, limping, loss of control, lack of coordination, etc.
  • A hunched, stiff position.
  • Visible trauma signs such as bruises or scratch marks.

Once your dog exhibits this kind of behavior, it’s time to get in touch with your vet right away. A proper, thorough prognosis then is a must. And this includes neurological and physical examinations for locating the root cause of the pain. These tests also check the neurological reflexes of the dog.

A spine X-ray, MRI scan, or CT scan provides a more solid and clearer identification of the problem.

Dog Back Pain Remedies

First of all, you must consult a qualified medical professional i.e. veterinarian for the most effective, safest, and correct treatment to alleviate back pain. Because this process might include therapy and medication for reducing your dog’s pain while also keeping him/her healthy. So discuss the following remedies with the vet before you do anything…

1. Home Treatment Plan for Back Pain In Dogs

  • Regular, Restrained Exercise

Controlled physical activity is a must even if your dog is dealing with back pain because you want to make sure that mobility in his/her joints and muscles remains intact. Needless to say, restrictions should be placed and followed, so the problem (the aching back) doesn’t get aggravated.

For example, short bursts of leashed walks will keep your furry friend moving and, at the same time, the spine won’t have to suffer for it.

  • Weight Control/Management

Too much weight certainly applies more strain or pressure on the back. So keep the weight of your dog in check. And in case he/she happens to be overweight, create a suitable weight loss program with the vet.

  • Home Adjustments

Does your home have a recovery-favorable setting? So that would be smaller crates or rooms for minimizing how much the dog moves, carpets or rubber mats for anti-slip surfaces, placing ramps for assisting your pet to move up and down, and no stairs or restricting/blocking the staircase area.

  • Mobility Assistance or Back Support

The dog’s back should be adequately supported, even if this means using a dog back brace. This particular product, which consists of compression, is highly recommended (but first, confirm with your vet) for alleviating some of that back pain your furry companion may be experiencing.

This type of customized back support ensures the spine and its surrounding muscles are well-supported. Plus, it places the much-needed limitation of movement while his/her back is healing.

2. Therapy

  • Physical Therapy

A professional or specialist should create a proper exercise regimen that aims to strengthen his/her affected or weaker areas. And this includes stretching all that excessive tightness/stiffness from the muscles around the spine.

And after every session, apply heat pads or ice packs for soothing the soreness.

  • Hydrotherapy

This particular type of therapy has proved to be quite effective for dogs. It’s pretty much physical therapy but performed in water. Exercises, when done in water, exert much less pressure on the joints and muscles.

And this means being able to move to strengthen those muscles and joints with much less strain. Movement equals blood flow, which equals more production of oxygen, which equals faster healing.

  • Cold Laser Therapy

Once more, I am going to stress the point that you should first and foremost consult with your vet before going ahead with ANY of the treatment methods or remedies discussed in this article.

Back to cold laser therapy, it’s simply another technique that accelerates the natural process of healing. Cold laser therapy consists of light energy that stimulates blood circulation. Thus, the production of stem cells increases, which speeds up recovery.

  • Ultrasound Waves

Sound waves penetrate the body to form heat and this heat boosts blood flow for alleviating back pain as well as reducing inflammation.

The method is the most suitable for relieving pain in those areas of the dog’s body that are not the easiest to reach.

What About the Causes of Back Pain In Dogs?

Let’s go through them quickly…

  1. Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) – It’s a very painful spine disease also known as slipped disc.
  2. Arthritis – Spinal arthritis in dogs is actually quite common yet very difficult to diagnose. And not just limited to older dogs.
  3. Spinal Trauma – This could include fractures due to an accident or poor nutrition, soft tissue or muscle injury due to too much or wrong movement, or pulled muscles, sprains, or strains.
  4. Meningitis or Spondylosis – Meningitis in dogs is the inflammation of the layer covering the brain plus the spinal cord. As for spondylosis, this disease also gives rise to inflammation caused by some form of bacterial infection.


Oh by the way, among the common causes is also included the age factor. Older dogs have weaker bones, thus they’re more susceptible to developing back pain and problems.

Also, medication is a huge part of the healing process. BUT this aspect is something that ought to be taken care of by a vet. The doctor might prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs and/or nutritional and joint supplements based on the causes of the condition and upon a thorough examination.

But one thing is for certain, back pain troubles not just humans but dogs too! And this pain can be anywhere between mild and severe. Plus, its chances of limiting mobility (short-term or long-term) are also quite high.

So don’t overlook those symptoms and get your dog’s back properly checked at the vet as soon as possible, so he/she can move and play as much as they want.

Lisa Thompson

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