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Do dogs feel pain to the same degree as humans do

Customer Question

My dog is 13 years old, has arthritis and is medicated for pain. I am just wondering if animals, and dogs in particular, feel pain to the same extent as humans do. Is this a knowable fact based on canine physiology. Thank you.
K. Leone
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Tammy F. replied 11 years ago.

Yes. Dogs do feel pain, much like people do. They just cannot express their pain in words.


If your dog is suffering from arthritis, he might benefit a great deal from anti-inflammatories, acupuncture or even simply a magnetic pet bed.


You can certainly discuss your options with your vet.


Let me know if you want to discuss this further.

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Tammy Falkner's Post: My question is more theoretical than practical. My dog takes rimadyl and I observe that the medication allows him to be more mobile and, therefore, I assume that it diminishes his pain. What I am wondering is this: How do you know that dogs feel pain like humans do? Is the canine central nervous system similar to that of humans? Can your answer be verified by the physiology of canines? Thank you.
Expert:  Tammy F. replied 11 years ago.

Clinical trials are done each time a new medication comed out. Before they can be released to the public, they are tested and approved by the FDA.


With dogs in particular, the studies test the factors that might indicate pain. Some of these might be an increased heart rate, increased respiration, muscle tenseness. After the meds are given, there are marked improvements in each of these areas. This indicates that pain is diminished. You can find some of these studies and the results by doing a google search for "dog pain control studies."


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