We’ve had many wondrous, beautiful years with your Samoyed. Now, in what seems like the blink of an eye, our once small puppy has become a senior dog. You’ve also noticed they’ve begun slowing down and even seem to be in pain. We want to help your Sammy as much as you can, but what medication can you offer?

Your veterinarian should always approve any pain relief medicine you give a senior Samoyed. The options include:

  • Opioids
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs
  • Nutraceuticals

In this article, we’ll talk in much more depth about each means of pain relief, including which medications your vet may prescribe, what they can do for your pup’s pain, and how long to use them. And also share some other non-medication treatments you might consider for your Samoyed.

How Do I Know My Senior Samoyed Has Aches and Pains?

Unfortunately, dogs can’t tell us when something’s wrong with their health. Sure, they can bark, growl, or yelp, but they can’t vocalize in words what hurts and where.

As your Samoyed enters seniority, they’re likely to have soreness and pain along the way. Sometimes it’s very easy to pick up on what hurts because your dog limps or favors one side of their body over the other. In other instances, you have to look out for the following signs:

  • Your dog displays aggression, especially if you try to touch a certain area
  • When your Samoyed goes to lie down or get up after sitting for a while, they struggle
  • They groom one area excessively, almost in an effort to help with their own pain
  • Samoyed hunch when they once stood up straight, probably because their back or abdomen hurts
  • They breathe hard and squint

Pain Relief Medication to Give Your Samoyed

Okay, so your Sammy has unfortunately exhibited one, maybe more of the above pain signs. Thus, you’ve decided to fast-track them to the vet so they can get some care and relief. Your veterinarian listens to your description of your dog’s pain and then does a physical exam. Perhaps they ask for blood testing or an x-ray to rule out certain diseases.

Once your vet has a pretty good idea of what might cause your Samoyed’s pain, they’ll recommend a treatment. Often, this comes in the form of pain relief medication. Here’s an overview of these medications.

Opioids

You’ve surely heard of opioids, as they’re one of the most talked-about drugs right now. That’s because they’ve caused countless addictions. If your vet has prescribed your Samoyed opioids, you can rest assured that it’s only to treat the most monumental pain.

In most instances, the opioid medication your dog will receive will be tramadol. Your vet will recommend a dosage of tramadol to be used with NSAIDs for pain relief. Tramadol doesn’t work well on its own, at least in that it won’t put a significant dent in the pain. Instead, the opioid needs NSAIDs to truly get to the root of what’s hurting your dog.

Now, before you think that’s too much medication, most of the time, your vet will suggest a minimal NSAID dosage, practically as low as possible. Another risk you might worry about is the addictiveness of tramadol. Don’t get too upset, as this is one of the less addictive opioids. Still, you should only use it as recommended by your vet.

Your vet may also prescribe your Sammy a medication with oxycodone or hydrocodone in it. These highly-addictive opioids aren’t given to dogs except in rare instances. You will probably only provide these meds to your dog for a very limited period.

NSAIDs

While medications like tramadol need NSAIDs to work to their fullest potential, your vet can and may prescribe NSAIDs on their own to treat your senior Samoyed’s pain. To reiterate what we said in the intro, NSAIDs stand for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They’re among the most common medications, and surely you have some in your medicine cabinet right now.

NSAIDs include naproxen, ibuprofen, aspirin, meloxicam, ketoprofen, and carprofen. While aspirin doesn’t affect most people unless in very high dosages, that’s not always the case with dogs. If your vet does tell you to give your Samoyed NSAIDs, it’s very important to follow the dosage instructions to the letter. Otherwise, the results could be deadly.

Nutraceuticals

Although not necessarily medication, nutraceuticals or supplements can help with some conditions your senior Sammy may have. For instance, the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids may alleviate the pain caused from canine osteoarthritis. You’d need to give your dog a lot of fish oil, about 2,000 milligrams if they’re 50 pounds, for this supplement to have an effect.

Other supplements like injectable polysulfated glycosaminoglycan or Adequan as well as hyaluronic acid and even glucosamine could have a positive effect as well.

If your Samoyed isn’t so into taking supplements but you still want to go the nutraceuticals route, look into changing their brand of dog food. Some brands include supplements like omega-3s and glucosamine right in the food. You can get this food by a prescription or even over the counter.  

Other Treatments You Might Consider

Massage Therapy

Just like we humans have the option of massage therapy for our pain, so too do dogs. This area of holistic care is known as canine massage therapy. According to Canine Journal, with massage therapy, your Samoyed might have:

  • Fewer muscle spasms, lessened weakness, and reduced pain and tension
  • Less pain from hip dysplasia and arthritis
  • A healthier immune system
  • Better flexibility
  • More blood oxygenation

Whether canine massage therapy will help for your Samoyed depends on their level of pain. It’s something worth talking to your vet about in the very least.  

Acupuncture

Another service both humans and pets can receive is acupuncture. PetMD notes how canine acupuncture can dispose of toxins and metabolic waste in the body as well as boost oxygenation and blood flow. Your dog will also have more relaxed muscles.

Since acupuncture is a completely holistic treatment, you don’t have to worry about it interfering with a pain medication regimen. There are also few side effects, maybe soreness and redness around the injection site. This typically goes away relatively fast.

There are several forms of acupuncture. These include:

  • Laser acupuncture: Instead of the vet relying on needles, they use a device that generates a laser. This has the same effect on pain.
  • Electrostimulation: Also known as Estim, with this treatment, the vet puts two needles into the body and then creates electricity from one needle to the other. This can reduce nerve damage pain and muscle spasms.
  • Moxibustion: During moxibustion, the veterinarian augments the needles with a Chinese herbal compound. They heat this compound up to lessen pain from sore muscles and stiff joints.
  • Aquapuncture: The substances in the aquapuncture needles affect tissue. Vets will use medical liquids like polysulfated glyocsaminoglycans, chondoprotectants, diluted vitamin B12, and homeopathics.
  • Acupressure: Another needleless alternative, acupressure creates great pressure to treat pain.

You might consider canine acupuncture if your Sammy has cancer, trauma pain, degenerative joint disease, arthritis, or metabolic diseases like diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, Addison’s disease, Cushing’s disease, pancreatitis, liver failure, or kidney failure.

Surgery

If all else fails and your senior dog is still in pain, you may opt to discuss the idea of surgery with your vet. The less invasive the surgery, the better. Your dog’s age must also be taken into consideration at this point. Depending on the type of surgery discussed and how rigorous it might be, in some instances, it’s better to just use other treatments to make your Samoyed as comfortable as possible for their remaining years with you. Check another article for a spay surgery.

Related Questions

Q: Which conditions can your older dog develop?

A: When your Samoyed reaches their golden years, they’re more susceptible to a slew of diseases and conditions. These include:

  • Bodily weakness
  • Bone or joint disease
  • Diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • Urinary tract or kidney disease
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer

Q: Can older dogs become senile?

A: With age, there’s a risk of senility. Typically, one’s mental health goes first as a person ages. Can your Samoyed become senile as well? According to the American Veterinary Medical Association or AVMA, canines can possibly have senility, or at least some form of cognitive dysfunction. They cite studies that declared that in older dogs, their brains could become altered in much the same way an Alzheimer’s patient would. If you notice such behavior in your dog, schedule an appointment with your vet.  

Q: My dog has acted strange lately. Why is that?

A: Recently, your Samoyed has exhibited a slew of unnatural behaviors. They sleep at odd hours, wander around the house with no destination in mind, and keep doing the same thing over and over again. They also seem anxious, extra aggressive, and irritable. Your Sammy doesn’t listen or come when you call them, and at times, they seem downright disoriented or confused.

As dogs age, some of their behaviors can change. This isn’t necessarily senility, nor is it indicative of a disease. If any of your dog’s new behaviors are disruptive or dangerous, then your vet can help.